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Dance Camp Activities
Join us for a fun, 30-minute movement lesson for elementary-aged students and their parents.
Before we begin, you can get your body ready to move by trying one of our warm-up activities!
My Name Is Joe
Our bodies can move in so many different ways! Let’s get creative by using Laban’s Eight Efforts. Mr. Laban was a choreographer and dancer who studied how humans move their bodies.
To explore the Eight Efforts, ask your student to begin walking around the room. When you say “STOP,” ask them to freeze, and tell them that you will be giving them a word. After saying that word, you will say “GO!” They should then begin moving in a way that represents the word. Here is an EFFORT word list for the game:
Try a few or try them all! Continue exploring until your student is ready to move on to the next activity.
Need a challenge? Have your student choose an effort on their own and begin moving around the room. Play a guessing game and try to identify the effort based on their movements.
Need to simplify? If you’re playing with a younger student, use more simple descriptive words that are paired with their opposites. For example, use HEAVY and LIGHT, FAST and SLOW, or SHARP and SOFT.
Theatre wouldn’t be possible without collaboration, which means working together! Next, let’s play a game that explores the ways we can move with partners called MIRROR. Here are the instructions:
- Stand or sit across from another person, facing each other.
- Decide which person will be the leader.
- The leader begins moving, and the other person does their best to do all of the same movements at exactly the same time. It should feel like looking in a mirror!
- Now, the other person gets to be the leader, so that everyone has a turn. Explore what happens if you move quickly versus slowly or if you change your entire body position, such as moving from sitting to standing.
Do three or more people live in your home? Try playing PUPPET MASTER!
- Before the game begins, choose one person to be the Detective. This person should cover their eyes or turn their back to the remaining players.
- The remaining players silently choose the Puppet Master. The Puppet Master is the leader in the mirroring game, and they begin leading the players. (If you only have two players in addition to the Detective, sit across from each other. If you have three or more players in addition to the Detective, sit in a circle.)
- The Detective turns around or uncovers their eyes and then begins watching the game.
- The Detective tries to guess which player is the Puppet Master.
Need a challenge? Try to change who the leader is mid-game without speaking to one another. See if you can seamlessly start following the other person, instead of leading.
Need to simplify? If you’re playing with a younger student, have them repeat simple gestures you make back to you, rather than trying to mirror you in real-time.
For our last activity, we will be creating our very own choreography! The word “choreography” means the order of the steps in a dance or movement combination.
Did you see The Snow Queen? If you did, you might remember the epic dance battle between Gerda and the Robber Woman. Let’s watch the scene as an example!
Eunice Akinola (Gerda) and Kala Moses Baxter (Robber Woman) compete in a high-stakes dance battle during the Arden’s production of The Snow Queen.
Ms. Kala (Robber Woman) teaches Ms. Andressa and Ms. Christina (Asst. Stage Managers) the choreography. There’s no sound because it’s been sped-up to show you all of the moves!
The actors were not making up that dance in the moment. Instead, they learned the choreography during rehearsals, practiced until they had it memorized, and performed it the same way every time there was an audience for The Snow Queen.
Now, it’s your turn! Make up your own choreography using the Dance Mad Libs worksheet HERE. If you would prefer, you can also use your own imagination. Once you’re done, try performing your dance for someone else.
Need a challenge? Teach your dance to someone else, so that they can do it with you. You can also choose a piece of music and create choreography specific to the mood, tempo, and lyrics of the song.
Need to simplify? If you’re playing with a younger student, allow them to free-dance to their favorite music. Mirror their movements to show them that you are learning their dance.
Thank you for playing today!
We would love to see your original choreography or how you played any of the movement games! Tag us using @ArdenTheatreCo on Facebook or Instagram if you would like to share.
Don’t forget to celebrate the end of your lesson with a fun game of FREEZE DANCE!
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