NJMEA Dances for Grades 3-5

Great Traditional Dances Grades 3-5– Room 303
New Jersey MEA Conference • Atlantic City, NJ
Thursday, February 20, 2020 • 8:00 – 9:00 am

Traffic Jam learned from John Krumm
This is a terrific “ice-breaker” dance for all ages, whether in the classroom or a community dance.
Music: AB tune (like “Heel & Toe Polka”) or do the dance twice through to a usual AABB tune.
This is a terrific “scatter mixer” for any age; particularly for older students who do not have much dance experience.
Level One
Formation: dancers scattered across floor
Music: ABAB tune (or AABB, but dance sequence will go twice through an AABB tune)A: (All just walking single in random directions) clap clap clap, stamp stamp stamp, Step, step, step, step,
Walk in different direction, clap clap clap, stamp stamp stamp, Step, step, step, step,
(Clapping is clapping own hands together.  Stamping is with one foot.)B: 8 sashays (alone) sideways in one direction. Then 8 sashays back in the other direction.
Level Two
Formation: couples scattered across floor
A: Partners face each other and clap (both hands) each other’s hands:
clap clap clap, stamp stamp stamp. Then, taking partner’s handy hand, walk four steps in one direction. Repeat, walking in opposite direction
B: Partners take two hands with each other, and sashay 8 beats in one direction, and 8 beats in the opposite direction.
Level Three
Formation: couples scattered across floorA: A: Partners face each other and clap (both hands) each other’s hands: clap clap clap, stamp stamp stamp. Then, taking partner’s handy hand, walk four steps in one direction. Repeat, walking in opposite direction.
B: Partners take two hands with each other, and sashay 8 beats in one direction, then LEAVE PARTNER AND QUICKLY FIND A NEW PARTNER and sashay in another direction with new partner.
Repeat, starting with this new partner.

Dance Teaching  Tips: Mittens; front of your mitten on the front of your neighbor’s mitten, thumb lightly on back; take hands drop hands take hands drop hands; posture; teach the forward separately  from the back in the forward and back; :shake and take” for teaching promenade; while promenading: inside person is the moon/peanut butter/gent,  outside is the star/jelly/lady; four steps of making a circle from a  promenade: “Hang on to partner stop walking, hang on to partner face the center, drop hands, take hands.”; many ways of keeping the circle big and round on circle left and right; dosido (gents start on inside, ladies start going outside) flowing into two hand turn flowing into promenade; when music starts clapping the first of each 8 beats; doing the dance with your hands; “thick” calling, then “thin” calling then no calling; saying the call right before the ‘clap’ or before the first beat of  the phrase and figure.

La Bastringue
traditional French Canadian
in NEDM’s Chimes of Dunkirk collection
music: La Bastringue or any other reel, preferably French Canadian.
Formation: Circle of partners.
A1 (16) All forward and back with a hoot in the middle.
Forward and back again with a shout (8)
A2 (16) Circle to the left (8)
Circle to the right (8)
B1 (16) Dosido and two hand turn (new or same) partner (16)
B2 (16) Promenade (new or same) partner (16)
TEACHING TIP: Teach the dosido/two hand turn into the promenade as one figure so that the figures flow one into the next.

The grand right & left exercises: First all promenade to determine inside/outside gent/lady or moon/star roles.  Then all face partner.  Ladies crouch while men weave around circle, starting on the inside. Then Men crouch and assist ladies as they weave around: right hand for outside, left hand assist for inside.  Then all stand and face center and do a stationary grand right and left just with the arms, counting up to seven.  Repeat that, but this time stepping in place (two steps per arm reach).  Then face partner and ‘repeat after me’ some of the rules: ‘I will not turn around, I will not go back…’ etc.  Tell them that it always takes seven times to get it right,  and make sure, when it doesn’t go right, that they all go back to where they started from (rather than trying to fix it in the middle of the grand right and left figure).

Lucky Seven In NEDM’s Chimes of Dunkirk
Music: any jig or reel. We like using “The Coming Dawn” from NEDM’s “Other Side of the Tracks” CD
Formation: Circle of partners
A1 (16) Circle to left
Circle to right
A2 (16) All forward and back
All face partner and get ready
B1 (16) Grand right and left, passing six people and stopping at seventh.
B2 (16) Promenade this new person around circle, gents on the inside, lades on outside
All join hands in one big ring, ready to circle left.
(Level two: On 2nd half of A2 music, replace the “Face partner and get ready” with: dosido partner.)

Choosing Partners We think it is a real gift to children to teach them  how to choose their own partners.  I like to frame this in ‘Kings’ and ‘Queens’ language to help the children get over their self consciousness over  choosing partners.
I start with a story about how Kings and Queens realized that it might be more fun to dance with more than just their own spouses, and so they needed to devise a polite and efficient way to choose other partners.  “And the method they came up with was so good we still do it today.”
I have them all practice the words: ‘May I please  have this dance?’ ‘Yes thank you.’ and then practice answering me, and then practice  asking me.  Then I demonstrate what it looks like to ask a partner to dance, by asking one of the ‘Queens’.  Then, I have that Queen sit down, and I ask her again, showing the 10 steps: The approach. Eye contact. The question. The answer. King puts out his hand. Queen stands and takes King’s hand. They hang on to each other’s hand and walk to the top of the hall.  If there are  two Queens then there is a Queen on one side and a Queen on the other side.  If there are two Kings (you know the rest). If it is a King and a Queen, the King stands on the King’s side, the Queen on the Queen’s side and they face each other, nose, toes and bellybutton, taking two hands. Then they drop their hands, and, voila, there they are.

Kings and Queens by Peter Amidon
In NEDM’s “Alabama Gal” and “Sashay the Donut” collections
Music:  Kings and Queens (as recorded in Alabama Gal and Sashay the Donut) or On the Danforth (as recorded on Other Side of the Tracks).
Formation: Longways set, 7-10 couples.
A1 (16)All forward and back.
Right hand turn with partner (palm to palm).
A2 (16)Left hand turn with partner (palm to palm).
Gypsy partner (walk CW around partner while facing each other and maintaining eye contact).
B1 (16)Top couple sashay down center and back to top.
B2 (16)Top couple face down, holding partner’s handy hand, and walk down the center to bottom.  Other dancers bow to active couple as they pass by.  All move up one step and take hands along line to prepare for the next time through the dance.
TEACHING TIPS: I often put the music on while teaching this to create the mood. I tell the children to take their “royal posture” and dub each student a King or a Queen. I don’t say it, but my concept of being a King and a Queen is being the very best person you can be. Children love being honored as they walk down the middle to the bows of their classmates.

Larry’s Mixer
in NEDM’s “Listen to the Mockingbird
Formation: Circle of couples, gents facing out ladies facing in.
Music: We like using “Cheris” from our Other Side of the Tracks CD but you can use any jig or reel
A1 (16) Do-si-do partner.  (8)
Allemande left the dancer on your partner’s right (Look at your partner, move your eyes to the left; that person!) (8)
A2 (16) ‘See saw’ partner (left shoulder dosido clockwise around) (8)
Allemande right the dancer on your partner’s left (Look at your partner, move your eyes to the right; that person!).  (8)
B1 (16) Right elbow turn partner.  (8)
Promenade partner
B2 (16) Continue promenading partner..  (8)
Gents move up to the next lady and promenade this new partner.  (8)
TEACHING TIPS: Start by promenading in a circle; freeze the promenade and Peanut Butters (gents, those on the left) stand on the inside facing out and the Jellies (ladies, those on the right) stand on the outside facing in.  Have everyone point their two arms towards partners belly button, then widen arms until each is pointing to the dancer on either side of partner; Left hand pointing towards Left Hand Person, and Right hand pointing to Right hand person.
Demonstrate how you the figures gracefully to the phrases of the music; each figure starts with each musical phrase.
Teach it at first without the progression (which means a very long promenade).