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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
Mood and Tempo
No two pieces of music are exactly the same, and the mood and tempo of a song are an important part of dancing! MOOD is another word for emotion or feeling. Happy, sad, angry, and scared can all be musical moods. TEMPO is the speed of the music, and a song can be fast or slow.
Let’s explore how mood and tempo change our movements. To do this, we will play a game called EMOJI FREEZE DANCE! During this exercise, we will listen to different songs and dance in a way that matches the music. For example, if the tempo of the song is fast, participants should move quickly. If the mood of the song is happy, participants should dance joyfully. Each time you stop the music, try asking the participants to identify the mood and tempo before moving on to the next piece of music.
You can use THIS playlist, or you can create your own. Try a few, or try them all! The game continues for as long as the participants would like.
Need a challenge? Play a lightning-fast round of EMOJI FREEZE DANCE, only moving to each song for about 10 seconds. You can also try playing with songs that don’t have any words by using THIS classical music playlist.
Need to simplify? If you’re playing with a younger student, allow them to free-dance to the music without worrying about identifying mood. Try marching, hopping, or clapping to the beat to help identify tempo.
Lyrics can also influence the way we move while dancing! LYRICS are the words in a song, and they help us understand the mood and tempo of the music.
For our next activity, we will play a fun game called LITERAL LYRICS to help us practice connecting our movements to words. LITERAL is another word for exact meaning, so our dance moves will demonstrate the most common definition of the lyrics. Check out this example video!
Now it’s your turn to create a LITERAL LYRICS routine! Here are the instructions:
- Read the lyrics from the beginning of “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story HERE.
- Next, come up with a movement for each word that is written in ALL CAPS. Remember, these dance moves should represent the exact meaning of the words!
- Try performing your whole LITERAL LYRICS routine for someone else in your home. You can either sing or speak the song on your own, or you can perform to the music by playing in on Spotify, YouTube, or even an Alexa!
Need a challenge? Choose your own song to use when you play LITERAL LYRICS. You can also play a charades-style guessing game with someone else in your home by performing the movements without speaking, singing, or playing the music.
Need to simplify? If you are playing with a younger student, try using a song with easy lyrics such as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” You can even use a song that already has its own motions such as “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” to practice connecting movement to lyrics.
Musical Theatre Dance
Musical Theatre Dance tells the story of a song by connecting movements to the mood, tempo, and lyrics of music. For example, in the Arden’s production of A Year with Frog and Toad in 2016/17, the actors playing the birds opened the show with a song-and-dance number. Their movements told the story of the song and even showed the audience that their characters were birds. Let’s watch!
Now it’s your turn to try Musical Theatre Dance! We’ll be using the end of the song “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” from The Lion King. You can watch the videos below to learn the choreography, and then perform with the music. CHOREOGRAPHY is another word for the order of the steps in a dance routine.
Learn the Choreography
Perform with Music
Need a challenge? Choose a song, and make up your own choreography, remembering to connect your movements to the mood, tempo, and lyrics of the music. When you’re finished, perform for someone else in your home.
Need to simplify? If you are dancing with a younger student, have them mirror you, rather than learning choreography from the video. Choose a song they already know and love, and perform simple dance moves that they can repeat back to you.
Thank you for playing today!
We would love to see your LITERAL LYRICS routine or how you participated in any of the movement activities! Tag us using @ArdenTheatreCo on Facebook or Instagram if you would like to share.
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