NYSSMA Aug 2013 Notes




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

Monday, August 12, 2013 • 9:00 – 9:15 •• 10:30 – 11:45 •• 2:15 – 3:30

Community Dance 6:30 – 7:15


Blaydon Races p. 8 in handout

in NEDM’s Chimes of Dunkirk collection

We used ‘Blaydon Races’ from NEDM’s

2010 Revision of the ‘Chimes of Dunkirk’

CD for this. You can also use any jig or

reel medley for this dance.

We did this is a mixer, but you can also do it with

younger children without changing partners.

We often call this at weddings.  We always start

teaching this, as we do with any circle mixer, by

having the dancers promenade and defining the

gents/moons/peanut butter/inside partners and the

ladies/stars/jelly/outside partners.

My Heart is Ready by Cindy Kallet

This will be in the Amidons’

Twenty-Five Anthems for Small Church & Community Choirs

book which will be published this autumn, along with

Fifty-Five Anthems for the Small Church Choir


The Sun is In My Heart p. 10 in handout – In NEDM’s

(New England Dancing Masters’) “I’m Growing Up” book/CD/DVD

This is a wonderful calming way to start a class with young children.


Five Little Bunnies p. 10 in handout – In NEDM’s

“I’m Growing Up” book/CD/DVD

One of our all-time-favorite finger plays.


Form the Corn p. 8 in handout.

In NEDM’s “I’m Growing Up” book/CD/DVD

We call this “Scatter formation”; anyone standing anywhere,

great activities to throw in at any time.  Children can just stand

up briefly from chairs or desks to do this.


Galopede p. 8 in handout – In NEDM’s “Chimes of Dunkirk” collection

We always do this to the specific tune ‘Galopede’

which is on the Chimes of Dunkirk companion CD.

We often end a community dance with this dance.

The 2nd version of ‘Galopede’ on the 2010 revision

of the ‘Chimes of Dunkirk’ CD has an extra C music

at the end for the ‘eggbeater’ figure where, after the

top couple sashays to the bottom the last time through

the dance, each successive couple sashays down the

middle, while the outside couples continue moving up

towards the top of the set.  Sometimes we practice

this final figure ahead of time, sometimes we don’t.


PICTURE BOOK I These are all on pages 12-14 on handout.

    In the Fiddle

    We All Went on Safari

    Waking UP is Hard to Do


Larry’s Mixer p. 9 in handout

in NEDM’s “Listen to the Mockingbird” collection.

We used the cut “Cheris” from NEDM’s

“Other Side of the Tracks” CD, which is the

band “Assembly”, a quartet that includes

our two sons Sam (fiddle) and Stefan (percussion).

Also try doing this to “The Coming Dawn” from

the same CD, or try “Golden Keyboard” from

NEDM’s “Any Jig or Reel” CD.  All of these are

flowing music, and I find that this dance can

have a sublime “Historic English County Dance”

feel (think Jane Austen) when done to those

cuts of elegant music.





Country Life p. 7 in handout –

in Amidon’s “Song in My Heart” book/CD

traditional, from Yorkshire England.  We have found this

to be a wonderful all-school sing song.

Brotherhood & Sisterhood p. 5 in handout

in Amidon’s “Song in My Heart” book/CD

Peter was commissioned to write this to help Lititz (PA) celebrate

“Celebrate the Differences”.


A Little Seed p. 2 in handout.

in NEDM’s “I’m Growing Up” book/CD/DVD

A sweet and mesmerizing fingerplay song.


I’m Growing Up p. 3 in handout.

in NEDM’s “I’m Growing Up” book/CD/DVD

and in the Amidons’ “Song in My Heart” book and companion CD.

Make up your own motions to this Mary Alice composed song.


Sleeping Bunnies p. 2 in handout

in NEDM’s “I’m Growing Up” book/CD/DVD

This is the most-requested singing game amongst the pre-school to

Kindergarten set.


Here We Go Riding p. 6 in handout

in NEDM’s “I’m Growing Up” book/CD/DVD

What a simple way to teach the elements of greeting each other.


Kindergarten Reel p. 7 in handout

in NEDM’s “Listen to the Mockingbird”

Here is the music.

We did not include a recording of the music in the

“Listen to the Mockingbird” CD.  You can do this dance

with any instrument imaginable: piano, guitar, recorder,

trombone, harmonica.  Once the children have the phrases

memorized they can dance it to just the music with no



PICTURE BOOK II These are all on pages 12-14 on handout.

I Miss You Every Day

Day is Done


Mother Earth


Lucky Seven p. 7 in handout

In NEDM’s Chimes of Dunkirk collection

You can use any jig or reel for this dance;

we like doing it to “Coming Dawn” from

NEDM’s “Other Side of the Tracks” CD.

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).

Level one: Wait 8 beats on 2nd

half of A2 music. 

Level two: dosido partner on

2nd half of A2 music.


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 & Queens p. 10 in handout

in NEDM’s “Sashay the Donut” collection

We used ‘On the Danforth’ from NEDM’s ‘Other Side of the

Tracks’ CD for this dance.  You might also use our other

version of ‘On the Danforth’ which is on our ‘Sashay

the Donut’ CD.

Before we teach this dance we will dub each child a King or a

Queen, and talk to them (sometimes while the music is playing

to help sustain the mood) about what it means to be a King and

Queen: They have royal posture, they never rush, they make

good decisions, they are very attractive; basically describing

the ideal King/Queen or, which, in my mind is being the

very best person they can be.  Then I “dub” each child a

king or a queen, making sure they have their royal posture before

I dub them. This is in the style of an historic English country dance

(e.g. dances done in Jane Austen’s time).





Seed in the Ground p. 4 in handout

in Amidons’ “Song in My Heart” book & CD

This Connie Kaldor song is one of our favorite children’s songs

of all time.


Seed in the Ground dance by Peter Amidon

Inspired by the Flash Mob movement

If you got the sun

*Walk sideways with hands miming sun rising.

and if you got the rain

*Walk sideways the other way with hands miming rain.

and you plant a little seed

*Crouch down.

in the old back lane

Then jump and turn halfway with

arms moving directly over head,

end pointing in opposite direction.

And you wish and you hope

hands clasped together in front,

take step to diagonal left, then diagonal right,

And you keep the weeds down

Crouch down, keeping head up.

You might find, oh

standing up, step and gesture with arm to left.

You might find

step and gesture with arm to right

a root growing down from the seed

mime with hands

in the ground

take one step forward (leaving other foot in place) ending with forward  leg bent a little and back leg straight as arms and hands sweep from front to both sides (separating) as if miming the flat surface of the ground.


Quartz Mountain Man in the Middle p. 10 in handout

Created by teachers at a workshop Mary Alice and I led

in Oklahoma.  I facilitated their ideas into a dance that has

become on of my favorites for just about any situation.  Children

grades 4 (3?) and up love this dance.

We did it also to inspire you to create new dances with

your students.  After they have developed some dance

experience and vocabulary, I get them into whatever formation

you want to use (I like using the circle mixers formation, but any

formation would do) and then just say “OK, what should we do

first?”  Every once in a while test out whatever they have come

up with with any standard AABB jig or reel.  Your job is

1) to use as many of their ideas as possible

2) to facilitate it into a satisfying dance.

You are allowed to inject your own ideas once in a

while, especially when it is adapting their ideas somehow

to create flowing, interesting choreography that is fun to dance.



Act out Gawain

Children do this quite naturally; you just

set it up and, as much as possible, get out

of the way.  After telling a folktale I give

them the homework to retell it aloud,

we might go through a speed through of

the story or do a quick group map of the

story or discuss the story (What was the

funniest/saddest/most scary/most memorable

moment?)   Once they all know the story well,

you are the narrator, and maybe also the musician

(guitar, accordion).  Pull the characters (and

human props) from the ‘audience’ of children

sitting in a bunch in front of the ‘stage’.

All the action takes place right in the middle

in front of the audience.  The ‘actors’ speak

loudly so everyone can hear.  If they forget

what happens next you can feed them a line

as the narrator: “And then Arthur asked Sir

Gromer what the riddle was.”

You can use this method to create a musical performance

with added instrumental music, songs and dancing, or

just do it once and leave it at that.


Chiney Doll/Sam
Chiney Doll is in our new book/CD “Song in My Heart”
Two-year-old Sam could not sing the song without
telling the story.  Here is Sam now.

My Heart is Ready again



Circle Waltz Mixer p. 9 in handout

In NEDM’s “Sashay the Donut” collection

Music: “In Continental Waltz” from “Sashay” CD

We used ‘In Continental’ Waltz from the ‘Sashay’ CD

for the music. This is a wonderful dance for a wedding

where you can do it the original way we learned it, doing

a short waltz instead of the two hand turn.  In the original

dance gents are the “posts” and women are the “twirlers”,

but it works perfectly fine in a non-gender community

dance with a two hand turn.  Here are some tips to

for teaching this dance:

Start by having everyone promenade.

Tell all the inside (left hand) partners they are

“posts” and all the outside (right hand) partners

they are “twirlers”.

All look at partner and say “goodbye”.

Posts stay in place and keep their feet planted

during the “twirl” figure.

Carefully teach the first “twirl” each “Post”

does with their left hand neighbor, from left to right.

Once the dancers get that twirl, the rest of the dance

can go pretty smoothly.



Circassian Circle

This is in NEDM’s “Listen to the Mockingbird” collection;

a great simple circle mixer for, say, 4th grade and up.


Bridge of Athlone

In NEDM’s “Listen to the Mockingbird”

I like using, for music, “Reel de Rimouski” on

NEDM’s “Any Jig or Reel” CD


Auretti’s Dutch Skipper

traditional English country dance from 1700.

Formation: duple proper (couples numbered,

alternatingly from the top, 1’s and 2’s.  Gents

in gents’ line, Ladies in Ladies’ line.

1st Gent, 2nd Lady are first corners.

1st Lady, 2nd Gent are second corners.

Music, I like using jigs for this.

A1: #1’s go down between 2’s, separate, return to place

#1’s do two hand turn.

A2: #2’s mirror what #1’s just did.

B1: 1st corners two hand turn,

2nd corners two hand turn

B2: All set to partner twice.

Weaving poussette:

All take partner’s two hands.

#1 gents push and #2 gents pull,

two couples (keeping same orientation)

change places.


Intersection Reel

This is the dance where four short sets

make a giant “X” or “+”.

It is in NEDM’s “Sashay the Donut”


Sicilian Vowel Dance

In NEDM’s “Sashay the Donut”

For music we used “Golden Keyboard”

from NEDM’s “Any Jig or Reel” CD.