A New Way to Teach Ballet in Autumn
As a dance teacher I have found that preschoolers get very excited about the holidays and even more excited about dance when they can dance to songs about those holidays. Winter time, summer time, even spring time are rather simple holidays. Because of Christmas there is a plethora of snow related songs. Springtime is all about flowers and sunshine and summer, well summer is summer…there are hundreds of songs about the sun and beach.
I didn’t want to use songs about witches or ghosts so I searched and searched and this is what I have come up with.
If you’re looking for just one simple action song to warm up and stretch to
- Five Little Leaves by Rachel Buchman is a good one, she also has some other fall related songs on her “Sing a Song of Season’s” CD.
-Or the children can stretch creatively to classical music and “pick up nuts off the ground” like a squirrel, by touching their toes, pointing and flexing their toes, and reaching down to their toes to “bury the nuts”.
-Using different port de bras they make it rain, and then the sun comes out and they bring their arms to 5th and it spreads across the sky and they move their arms to 2nd.
- Vivaldi’s The Four Season’s Autumn Variation is the obvious. Baby Einstein has a version I’ve used.
- Prokofiev’s Cinderella, Op. 97: No. 3. Autumn Fairy.
- Adam Zeros’ Approach of Autumn is also a pretty song to play.
The classical songs may also work through plies, tendus, and degages depending how long the class is.
-I would do a sequence where they bend down in the leaves (plies in 1st and 2nd)
Then see if they can jump out of them yet (releves either 4 or 8)
And then, “Yes, you can jump out now” (about four “plie and jump up” in 1st and four in 2nd)
-Then it’s time to clear the leaves away (tendus)
-And toss them into the bag (degage or spring pointes)
I do the slower movements across the floor first. These can all be turned into creative movements. The first thing I always have them do across the floor is “princess walks” regardless of the time of year. You could have them walk through leaves in the forest… Usually I just play
- Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty Waltz which they love
- Tchaikovsky has an October Song of Autumn from his Season’s as well
Then they can be birds(bourrees with arms in 5th) and (horses)passe walks. Sometimes grande battements moving across the floor(kicking more leaves).
- The Green Leaves by Bobby Susser has cute lyrics about leaves changing, and it’s got a nice rhythm for slow grande battements. I like to use songs with words when the kids are going across the floor, but if the kids start singing along I tell them to stop and know it’s time to get new music.
- Scarecrow by Geof Johnson is a really upbeat song which you could use for skipping or ballet runs(they could be scarecrows, scaring the crows). This song is really upbeat, so they will probably get really excited.
If you’re looking to do a dance
9. Grey Squirrel on the CD called “Where is Thumbkin?” is a cute autumn song.
The very last thing I do in my preschool classes is the “train” where they all hang onto the waist of the person in front of them and make a train. A good song for that is
10. She’ll be Comin Around the Mountain there is a version of that on the “Where is Thumbkin?” CD.
So these are some more creative ways to bring fun and creativity to your dance classes or around your house. Have fun!