Marvine’s session was my third with these kids and they are stoked when they come in. I decided to keep the scarves and instruments at home today and concentrate on some dance tunes. I started off with Sally Goes Round the Sun, a very simple circle dance with a big ‘whoop!” at the end. I knew the kids would get the whoop and hoped they would pick up the singing. Not so much, and part of what I learned today.

We did Little Sally Walker, a more involved circle song, with a progressive device that starts out with one kid in the middle, and as the song goes on, more and more kids get selected to go in the middle. It’s got a great movement chorus and they tend to pick up on that readily.

We worked on our Bear Hunt verses with the new ones added. It’s turning out well, if I can only remember them all. Good fodder for future gigs.

We finished with All Around the Kitchen, adding their dance moves to the performance. Again, it’s a great vehicle for individual dance with lots of freedom.

I headed over to Fountain Hill ES for the second session at 10:30 am. They weren’t quite ready for me (such is the state of summer schools) but they eventually gathered in the gym, again with lots of waves and hellos. These visits are especially gratifying due to the ability to return to the same kids over the course of a month.

I did the same progression of the Sally dances, Bear Hunt and All Around the Kitchen but with a much larger group of kids and a bigger space. That provided some challenges in itself (crowd control) but was a better performance piece. I felt pleased that I could do a whole session of highly active and interactive movement pieces.

What I learned: As I expected, it’s hard for this 1st grade group to sing and dance at the same time, but that’s why I try it out with them. I’m not worried that they can’t do it; I just want them to experience it for the first time. They really aren’t able to learn and sing a whole song yet, especially with all the other things I throw at them.  I have to deal with the social challenges of mixing boys and girls – holding hands in a circle (not too bad, really, at this age). I don’t think these kids have been exposed to communal dance yet, and even making a dance circle is a new concept. And culturally speaking, this seems to be quite radical, and thereby groundbreaking for these schools. There is a nice difference between the Kitchen dances (solo) and the Sally songs (circle/social) that there is a richness in the diversity. Lots going on and good information for me as a performer and teaching artist.

But, as I expected, the whole morning passed quickly and we all enjoyed ourselves, including the teachers. I hope some of these exercises pass on to them. I love what I do.