Movements - actions made by the whole body
Locomotor - actions made by the while body that cover an area of space, (e.g. run, skip, hop, slide)
Nonlocomotor - actions that do not cover space (e.g. twist, bend, stretch, swing)
Force - the energy used whilst moving
Space - the area covered by dance movements
Direction - up, down, sideways
Level - the distance from the floor
Pathways - the pattern that the body makes through space or on the floor
Shape - the design of the body as it exists as a shape
Time - consider tempo (how fast or slow), beat (how even or uneven) and duration (how long or short) of movement
Chosen theme: India and Dawili Festival
India is an interesting, culturally focused topic to study with primary school children, especially in Dance. Pupils often find it very engaging and will often be able to link it with first-hand experiences or prior knowledge that they have acquired in other subjects, such as RE and PSHE, helping to build on their global awareness and understanding of other cultures. Within the topic of India, it is common that a focus will be brought on to the Dawili Festival. Dawili is as known as the the Festival of Lights. It lasts for five days and is celebrated mainly by Hindu's and Sikh's, who use this festival to celebrate new beginnings and of good over evil and light over dark and to honour Goddess Lakshmi (Hindu) and Guru Ji (Sikh). It is considered to be one of India's most important holidays. During Dawili, gifts are exchanged, homes are decorated, lamps are lit and fireworks and dancing are at the centre of celebrations. The traditional Indian dancing element of the celebration is what should be focused on during this topic in PE/dance sessions.Due the abstract nature of the Dawili festival this topic may be more suited to the upper-end of Key Stage Two, so would likely work best with Years 5 and 6, who are able to appreciate and understand the value behind the celebration and dance to a better extent.Useful stimuli for this topic include: an insight into the background of Dawili Dance, the story of Rama and Sita, visual cues such as statues and pictures. A useful weblink for a visual stimulus: http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/clips/zjkvr82
Stimulus 1: Background of Dawali Dance
A traditional dance is normally performed at Dawili festivals. This dance is otherwise known as a stick dance, which is a sequence of moves accompanied by sticks and drumming. The sticks and drumming are used in honour of the Gods. The story of the dance goes as followed: The dance begins with the death of the demon king Ravanna by Rama's magic golden arrow.Sita is saved and the army of monkeys march triumphantly.The monkeys celebrate with dance, incorporating Indian dance steps. Rama, Sita and the monkeys return home to the city of Ayodhya. The sky is lit with lamps to welcome them.The people celebrate with dancing (traditional Indian dance), eating, wearing flower garlands and by giving presents.
Once upon a time there was a great warrior, Prince Rama, who had a beautiful wife named Sita.There was also a terrible demon king, Ravana. He had twenty arms and ten heads, and was feared throughout the land. He wanted to make Sita his wife, and one day he kidnapped her and took her away in his chariot. Clever Sita left a trail of her jewellery for Rama to follow.Rama followed the trail of glittering jewellery until he met the monkey king, Hanuman, who became his friend and agreed to help find Sita. Messages were sent to all the monkeys in the world, and through them to all the bears, who set out to find Sita.After a very long search, Hanuman found Sita imprisoned on an island. Rama's army of monkeys and bears couldn't reach the island, so they began to build a bridge. Soon all the animals of the world, large and small, came to help. When the bridge was built, they rushed across it and fought a mighty battle.When Rama killed the evil Ravana with a magic arrow, the whole world rejoiced. Rama and Sita began their long journey back to their land, and everybody lit oil lamps to guide them on their way and welcome them back.Ever since, people light lamps at Diwali to remember that light triumphs over dark and good triumphs over evil.
These questions can be used to lead children to the theme. The questions could either be used before or after providing the children with stimuli. They could be answered as individuals or used as part of a group discussion.
What do we know about India?
What festivals can we think of that take place in India?
Why is this festival celebrated?
What happens at these festivals? What do people do to celebrate?
5. Is there any dancing? If so what kind of dancing do we see?6. Can anyone tell me any of the names of the dance moves?7. Ask the pupils to example some dance moves.
Warm up Activity:
What is a warm up?In dance a warm up is used to gradually increase the body temperature to a optimal working level, which helps to avoid injuries.Warm up activityThis warm up should be used to introduce the topic of India and the Dawali festival. It should last around 10 minutes.
Sit the children down and read the story of Rama and Sita (using Stimilus 2). Explain that this is a piece of classic Indian literature and that is a story told at the Dawili festival.
Talk about Rama and how brave she was to kill the demon king Ravana. Talk about how they used dance to show they were joyous and relieved. Use the weblink resource: http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/clips/zjkvr82 to show Indian dancing and the techniques used. Also allow them to consider how costume/dress contributes to the performance.
Allow children to try some of the moves shown in the video. Ensure that you oversee the warm up activity and that exercises are safe.
Ask the children to stand in a circle. Ask them to copy you as you pat your arms, cheeks, chest, tummy and legs, whilst going up and down on one leg at a time. Let them copy you as you shake your hands and legs and then turn around.
Dancing with the music (lasts around 20-25 minutes)PreparationSource a piece of traditional Indian music for the children to work with.Activity
Let the children listen to the piece of music you have selected for them to work with. Ask the children to imagine themselves as Rama and that they are trying to kill king Ravanna. Demonstrate the arrow shooting action and ask them to try this movement on different levels. Use freeze frames to enable children to show their movement at different levels (high, middle and low).
Play the track again, ask them to perform the same movement but move around the space at a fast pace and encourage them to explore different movements as they go to kill king Ravanna. Use freeze frames again. Praise the children who have used interesting and unusual positions and good quality moves.
Ask the children to move into small groups (3-4 people per group). Play the track again, ask the children to march in unison in time to the beat of the music as if they are returning from battle.
Staying in groups, ask the children to march in unison in time to the music for 8 beats. After 8 beats, produce freeze frames of movements for the next 8 beats. Then return to marching and repeat until the track comes to a close.
Split the class in half. Ask half to view the other half perform. Encourage children to find space and a to have a clear starting position before their performance. Swap the groups halfway through the track.
What am I looking for?
That children can use a range of levels in their movements
That they are willing to explore and combine movement ideas fluently, working on their own and as part of a group
That they are able to identify the beat in music and use it to aid their construction of a routine
That child are able to use appropriate interpretations of Indian dance movements
How this links to the National Curriculum
Perform actions and skills with more consistent control and quality
Plan, use and adapt strategies, tactics and compositional ideas for individual, pair and small group activities
Create and perform dances using a range of movement patterns , including those from different times, places and cultures.
This activity should last around 5 minutes.
Ask the children to walk over to a space and march on the spot, like they did in the skills activity. Now ask them to freeze and stretch their arms up one at a time. Whilst they do this imagine that they are coming back from battle again, ask them how they are feeling. Are they feeling happy? Are they feeling relieved?
Split the class in half. Ask half of the children to lunge to forward (ensuring that both feet are facing the same direction), thinking back to when they were shooting the golden arrow and killing the evil king. Ask the other half of the children to lay on their backs and stretch their arms and legs. They are the king that has just been killed.
Ask the children to swap roles.
Finally ask the children to stand up in a circle with their eyes closed all holding hands. This game is known as pass the squeeze. One child will squeeze another's whilst taking slow, deep breaths. The game finishes when the squeeze has been passed round the whole circle. Whilst they play the game, ask the children to think about what we might do in the next session.