New and Original Dances for Upper Elementary – Atlantic City National AOSA Conference 2016

Atlantic City National AOSA Conference 2016  – Saturday, Nov 5

New and Original Dances for Upper Elementary

10:30 – 11:45 am * and * 3:15 – 4:30 pm

Traffic Jam learned from John Krumm
This is on the Amidon’s AOSA online handout.
NOTES: This is a great dance for breaking the ice with older elementary age children and for a community dance with children and adults.

The Toaster – adapted by Sue Hulsether
FORMATION: Lonways set.  Can be a long longways set.
MUSIC: Any jig or reel
Figure One: Sashay
Top couple sashays (holding both hands, using sliding step)  down the set;
all others step one step towards the music (up the set)
Next couple sashays down, all others step up
Repeat until all couples have sashayed down, and original top couple is back to place, at which point all but the top d
Figure Two: The Toaster:
Top couple makes a one-handed arch and dances down one side of the set, with the arch going over the heads of the dancers on that side. When they reach the bottom of the set, they switch hands, and dance up the set, with the arch going over the heads of the dancers in the other line.  The dancers crouch down and up as the arch goes over their head  (the “toaster” move).
Figure Three:  The Zipper
Top couple sashays down the set one more time and stays there.
After they pass, all other couples swing their partner.
NOTE: I encourage each set of dancers to do this dance at their own pace, rather than having me call the figures and attempting to keep all sets dancing all figures at the same time as each other.

Nancy & Arthur in the Amidons’ AOSA online notes.
“Back to back” is the same as a Dosido.  This Youtube video starts with two “back to back” figures. “Fall back” simply means walk backwards about three steps.  “Weaving Poussette” is taking two hands with partner, and the couples #1 and #2 change places with each other starting with the #1 gent pushing and the #2 gent pulling.  This dance is in the style of an historic English country dance.

Double Donovan Bridge Slingshot – an extraordinary dance that has dancers progressing between two longways sets, created by Mrs. Donovan’s Vermont fifth grade class in 2007.
FORMATION: Longways for 8 (or 10 or 12) couples.
MUSIC: Any jig or reel.
A1: Forward, clap ptnr’s hands on 4th beat, back to place.  Then Right hand turn
A2: Two hand turn, then Dosido
B1, B2: Double cast off: inside couples lead the cast:
4th, lead 3rd, 2nd 1st couples casting around to top, 4th make arch, 3rd, 2nd, 1rst under arch and back to place
5th lead 6th, 7th, 8th couples cast around to bottom, 5th make arch, 6th, 7th, 8th couples through arch and back to place.
At end of cast, the arching couples RUN clockwise to join the other end of the set

Exploding Star (originally “Accretian Reel” – variation of dance by Chris Page)
FORMATION: Scatter mixer
MUSIC: Any jig or reel.
A1 Balance forward (“Hello”) then turn and leave the square (“Goodbye”) and scatter promenade individually (walk around in random directions by yourself).
A2 Gypsy (8 beats) flowing into right elbow swing (8 beats) with someone.
B1 Scatter promenade as couples (you can do this just holding their handy hand).
B2 In groups of couples, circle left and right
Note: First time through the dance, just start with the scatter promenade.

Hop Up, My Ladies by Mary Alice Amidon
Formation: Circle of partners
Music: “Hop Up My Ladies” as sung by Elizabeth Mitchell on her album “Blue Clouds” (you can purchase this cut on iTunes).
If you ever go to meeting..
March single file to the left.
Don’t mind the weather cause the wind don’t blow.
Clap, clap, stamp stamp stamp on underline words.
Hop up my ladies three in a row…
Hop on the word “Hop”
Don’t mind the weather cause the wind don’t blow.
Clap, clap, stamp stamp stamp on underline words.
Can your horse’a carry double…
Partner two hand turn.
Don’t mind…(as before)
Is your horse a single footer…
Galop to center and back twice.
During the instrumental in the middle of the piece do the marching single file to left figure.
Continue following motions with words as above.

CREATING AN ORIGINAL DANCE WITH YOUR STUDENTS 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. You might have them raise hands with suggestions to help keep a bit of order and fairness. 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 discussing 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. 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.

Peanut Butter Jelly Time
FORMATION: Circle of couples; Peanut Butter on the left, Jelly on the right.
MUSIC: Any three-part jig or reel (AABBCC) (This one got away from me; only realized halfway through that we were beyond the AABB of a two part tune.)
A1: Peanut Butter walk in and face out. (4)
Jelly walk in (4)
Two hand partner turn. (8)
A2 Peanut Butter walk out (4)
Jelly walk out (4)
Stomp stomp stomp, clap clap clap X2 (in place)
Turn single (4)
B1/B2 Repeat A1/A2 switching Peanut Butter & Jelly rolls up to send half of B2 where the Stomping/Clapping is replaced by:
Kick to left and right, repeat (4)
Turn single to right, end facing partner.
C1 Grand Right & Left six changes (counting partner as #1) (16)
C2 With 7th person allemande right. (8)
Two hands with this new partner: sashay in (4) and out (4)

Seven Seas Gambol (or Gamble)
FORMATION: Circle of couples; Peanut Butter on the left, Jelly on the right.
MUSIC: Any jig or reel.  We used “Coming Dawn” from NEDM’s “Other Side of the Tracks” CD.
A1: Grand right and left six changes (counting partner as #1) (16)
A2: Taking two hands with seventh person (who is your new partner):
Promenade in (4) “Reverse promenade”: Holding on to partners’ hands, both turn towards each other and then face out, promenade out. (4)
Still facing out, promenade backwards in. (4). Holding on to partners’ hands, both turn towards each other and then face in, promenade backwards out. (4)
B1: Two hand turn with partner clockwise. (8)
Two hand turn with partner counterclockwise. (8)
B2: Set to right and left X2 (8)
Gypsy Neighbor, end up facing partner ready for opening grand right & left. (8)