Long Island AOSA Workshop Notes

Long Island Orff Association (LIOSA)

Peter & Mary Alice lead:

Creating a Dynamic Learning Community with Traditional Dance, Song & Storytelling

Saturday, April 25, 2015 • 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
New Academic Building, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY

We know there were a lot of people who made this possible.  We would like to thank particularly Cristen Salisbury and Patrick Dillon, who did so much to help make this a great day for us. Thanks also to all of the participants for your enthusiastic dancing and singing.

First some announcements, then the notes:

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MEET OUR BOYS & their ladies:

Stefan Singing (with the family last New Year’s Eve)

Stefan on percussion/vocals and his wife (red head) Zara Bode with their band the Sweetback Sisters

Sam singing

Sam fiddling

Sam’s wife Beth Orton 

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 Go to your own local dances; they are fun, welcoming, aerobic, and it will make you a better dance teacher:

There is a lot of community dancing in the Long Island/New York City area:

Long Island contra dancing:

New York City contra dancing:http://cdny.org/page/what-is-contra?gclid=CjwKEAjw9uypBRD5pMDYtsKxvXcSJACcb9AYvH0HW8Xx6Ehke-bRBvj47LoNtm7fp2dnAsYQLgRNgRoCNKnw_wcB

New York City English County Dancinghttp://cdny.org/page/english-calendar

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Comment ça va in the handout
In NEDM’s (New England Dancing Masters) “Sashay the Donut
For music we used “Martin O’Connor” from NEDM’s “Other Side of the Tracks“.
A great dance for older elementary age children (grades 4-6). It is the same as “La Bastringue” (NEDM’s “Chimes of Dunkirk”) with more sophisticated figures in B1.  I had you Clap on the first of each eight beat phrase while calling the dance; the basic rule being that the call should end right before the first beat of the next phrase; in otherwords, the call should end right before it is executed.

Sun is in My Heart
A Little Seed
Both of these are in in the handouts, and in NEDM’s “I’m Growing Up” book/CD/DVD.  Both are calming chants that we use as much to center ourselves as the children.

Shut the Gates in the handout.
Mary Alice learned this from Kathy Reid Naiman in a workshop for teachers who work with young children.

Tree Song in the handout
in NEDM’s “Down in the Valley“.  I introduced this with a story about Roger.  It is basically the same family: Roger, Mary, their thirteen children, their youngest daughter who then marries and lives with Roger and Mary and has Eliza.  I use this same family for the storytelling introductions to “Chiney Doll” and “When I First Came to This Land”.   You can order the music (unison/piano) for your younger children’s choir from our Amidon Online Choral Sheet Music Download Store.

Form the Corn in the handout
In NEDM’s “I’m Growing Up” book/CD/DVD. A great no-formation dance for any age, any situation.

Starburst in the handout
What a great dance this is; moving seamlessly from no partners to partners to groups of four dancers.  After finishing this dance we have the groups of four join up with another group of four to make squares; the simplest and quickest way we know how to get dancers into a square dance formation.

Old Bald Eagle Square in the handout
in NEDM’s “Sashay the Donut“. A perfect first square dance for young children.  This is Andy Davis’s adaptation taken from the singing game which goes by the same name.

Simple Square in the handout
in NEDM’s “Chimes of Dunkirk“.  Not really such a simple square, but have your students dance “Comment ça va” before teaching them “Simple Square” so they can learn that “Allemande left corner, dosido partner, Allemande left corner” figure in the bigger circle of “Comment ça va”.  Also, before you teach ‘Simple Square” teach the children “Old Bald Eagle” square (in the +Shashay the Donut), the simplest square dance we know.


When I Grow Up I Want to Be Me by Jo S. Kittinger
Music: “Princess Nancy” from “Journeywork”, an album by our sons’ band “Popcorn Behavior” (later they changed their name to “Assembly”).  You can purchase this cut on iTunes by searching for “princess nancy journeywork”

Madeline written & illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans
For music we used Arabesque No. 1 by Debussy from the CD “Romances for Saxophone” with Branford Marsalis & English Chamber Orchestra.  You can find this on iTunes by searching the album title: “Romances for Saxophone”.


Sylvie by Huddie Letbetter
I did an

      SA/piano arrangement
of this which you can purchase off the Amidons “Online Choral Store“.

Seed in the Ground in the handout
by Connie Kaldor.  Children inhale this song! In our “Song in My Heart” book & CD.  I did an

      SSAA/piano arrangement
, available in the Amidons “Online Choral Store“.

 I’m Growing Up in the handout.
by Mary Alice Amidon. In both “I’m Growing Up” book/CD/DVD and “Song in My Heart” book & CD.

I love doing this when there are men (even just you, oh Mr. Music Teachers) around who can sing the baritone part with the children.  We find that large groups of children can be inspired to sing like a children’s choir on the “two and two are four” part.  Peter remembered this song from his childhood; here is where they found the song:

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The Noble Duke of York in the handout
This is in NEDM’s “Alabama Gal” book/CD/DVD and in “Rise Sally Rise” (formerly “Jump Jim Joe” book & CD.  I added the up, down halfway up and jumping movements that the rest of the dancers do while the top couple sashays down the middle and back.  My favorite moment is when the top couple’s sashay back up the middle turns into a skipping cast off just as the other dancers land from their jump and, skipping, follow the lead couple in the cast off.
NOTE: The “Jump Jim Joe” CD has a shorter cut with some fine singing by our son Sam when he was a soprano.  We replaced that on the “Rise Sally Rise” CD with the cut we used in the workshop; it is longer and has more of a “band” feel to it, and works great when doing “The Noble Duke of York” as more of a dance than a singing game with older students.  IF YOU HAVE JUMP JIM JOE AND WOULD LIKE US TO SEND YOU THE NEWER NOBLE DUKE OF YORK MP3 SEND US AN EMAIL AND WE WILL EMAIL YOU THE MP3.

Larry’s Mixer in the handout
In NEDM’s “Listen to the Mockingbird“. For music we used “Cheris” from NEDM’s “Other Side of the Tracks“.  This is a great dance for a class of upper elementary students with some dance experience.  Have them do the dance keeping the same partners for a week or so before you introduce doing it as a mixer.

Durham Reel in the handout
The dance is in NEDM’s “Chimes of Dunkirk“, but the music we used: “Slow G”, (played again by Popcorn Behavior AKA Assembly, our sons’ band from the “Other Side of the Tracks” CD) is on the NEDM “Sashay the Donut” CD.
I use “Kings and Queens” language for this dance, with the idea that a King and a Queens implies being the very best person you can be.  Even though “Durham Reel” is more of a ceilidh (“kaylie”) dance, we did it here in the style of an historic English country dance, like the dances that Jane Austen talks about in er books.  I talk about royal posture, I teach the dance with the music on to sustain the mood.  I dub each child a King or a Queen before doing the dance.


Brotherhood/Sisterhood in the handout
by Peter Amidon.  In “Song in My Heart” book & CD


Mother Earth this is in your bibliography.

Exclamation Point by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld
For music we used “Ballygow / The Bus Stop / MacDonald’s” from the CD “Sometimes When the Moon Is High” by Nightingale: Keith Murphy, Becky Tracy and Jeremiah McLane.  Keith plays on the NEDM CD’s “Other Side of the Tracks” and “Any Jig or Reel”; Becky plays on “Any Jig or Reel”.  You can also order this from iTunes, search for the album title “Sometimes When the Moon Is Hight”.

Day Is Done this is in your bibliography.  We simply sang it.

Journey – written & illustrated by Aaron Becker
for music we used “What What What” from the album “This is How We Fly”.  You can find this in iTunes by searching for the album title: “This is How We Fly”.  It is a grey cover with blue text.

Peddler’s Dream
This is my version of a folktale that has many versions.  Here are a few more:

 Acting Out a Folktale
See the notes in your handout on Telling Stories to Children & Acting Out Folktales with Children.  We had three different volunteers suggest ways that the angel might move and combined them all for some extraordinarily beautiful angel choreography.

Creating an Original Dance
Here are in-depth notes on creating an original dance with children:

 I start with the question: “What is a dance?” A dance starts with a formation (or a shape): longways (line of partners facing each other), circle (partners in circle) or  square (four couples facing in).
There is also the Sicilian Circle formation (couple facing couple around a circle)
And also the concentric circle formation where couples are in a circle with, say, the gents facing out and  the ladies facing in.
Then there are the figures, which is, simply what the dancers do in the dance.  Some obvious figures include some you do with the whole group (let’s say we’re doing a circle mixer)       Forward and back      Circle left, Circle right,       Grand Right and Left         etc.
and figures you do just with your partner (or neighbor)      Right hand turn     Dosido
and some that are a bit of both like      Promenade.
It is OK to have an original figure or two in our original dance, but not too many.  Mostly you should have familiar, common figures that dances can learn quickly.
Once we (or I) decide on a formation, I simply say, “What first.” and do whatever the first person suggests.
As the suggestions come in I might invite discussion about which suggestion to choose (if there are more than one).  I try to use as many of the children’s  ideas as possible, and I almost always have the children try out dancing a suggested figure before discussin g it.
Your job is also to facilitate the children creating a dance that is fun to do.  You might make a small suggestion here and there, especially one that might help make a student’s suggestion more successful and flowing.
The children can help figure out how to make the dance fit the AABB of the music.  It is also an option to ignore the AABB and make up a dance that goes across the AABB pattern of the music.
Once you and your students have made up a dance, it is important to name the dance.  This is the same process as making up the dance.  I take in suggestions and facilitate the decision making.  Sometimes we combine the words in two or three different suggestion.  Sometimes we vote on two or three different name candidates.  Sometimes someone comes up with a suggestion so inspired that I declare it the official name by acclamation.
When students create their own dance, they really take ownership of it.
We did not have time to create a title for this dance with the group, so I will use the power vested in me to declare the name:

Three Bows an original dance created by participants in the Amidons April 2015 Long Island AOSA workshop.
a circle mixer.
For music use any AABB jig or reel medley.
A1: Bow to: Partner, corner, everyone (8)
All take hands and circle left. (8)
A2: Circle right (8)
Forward and back (8)
B1: Promenade partner (8)
Dosido partner (8)
B2: Swing (right elbow) Corner (8)
Promenade corner. (8)

How Could Anyone   by Libby Roderick
Your singing was SO BEAUTIFUL!  This would be a great song for children just singing the melody.

 Circle Waltz Mixer in your handout
In NEDM’s “Sashay the Donut” book & CD.
What a wonderful dance; we do this right down to 2nd grade.  For 2nd graders we sometimes replace the two hand turn, which can be disorienting, with a slooooowwww bow to partner before “Opening like a book”, taking hands in the circle, and waiting for the beginning of the next time through the tune.
Here are Youtubes of me teaching and dancing the “Circle Waltz Mixer” with children:

Keep on singing and dancing, and tell your students stories!


Peter and Mary Alice Amidon