THURSDAY LEVEL I/II: SEPTEMBER PARENT UPDATE

TUNES WARMUP

This class is happening in conjunction with the music & art class (see the update for that class in the previous blog post), so over the course of 2 hours children learn a song, a tune, and an accompanying dance. 

The children that aren't in the music class first work on controlling their feet to the tunes we are learning to play, demonstrated beautifully here: 

Traditional Rhythm:  "The Connemara Basic Step"  and "Snoopy Shuffle" 

(NOTE: This is simply the name assigned to it when people started teaching.  These steps would not have had names, as they were being passed via absorption in dance/music communities) 

CONNEMARA BASIC: 

Mechanics: Hop (4) heel down (+1) heel down (+2) heel down (+3) 

Elements: Hop (quarter note), Shuffle (2 eighth notes, +1)

SNOOPY SHUFFLE:

Mechanics: step (4) heel down (+1) step (2) heel down (+3)

Elements: Step, meaning the foot goes down with weight (quarter note), shuffle (2 eighth notes, +1)

SOCIAL DANCING 

Because the students are learning the song and the tune, it's a logical progression to then teach the dance that goes along with it!  This turned nicely into a social dance with band situation, where students can choose to play the tune or dance, or jump back and forth between both!  

Dances we have covered so far: 

 

THURSDAY MUSIC/ART: SEPTEMBER PARENT UPDATE

CLASS FORMAT: 

For the past month we have followed the following format (15 min each): 

  1. Whistle warmup & songs 
  2. Instrument choice/practice  
  3. Art
  4. Session (all playing together, some dancing)

Note: Next month I am going to adjust this format to allow for more depth in art, for those that want to, and move the "session" to the beginning of the dance class that follows.

ART: 

kells.jpg

We have been doing a number of activities on the Book of Kells: 

Drawing Celtic Knot Animals, l

Learning how to make our lines look "woven"

Coloring pages from the Book

Making animals using ribbons to weave the lines..  

Now that I understand the group's attention span, interest, etc. I want to focus on the detail and time that went into the book, and start a long term, large scale project that we can add to during each class for the rest of the semester.

SONGS/TUNES

We learn the tunes by first singing, then expressing the rhythm, then working on playing them on an instrument, and then (in the second class) learning a dance that goes with the tune.  

Hot Cross Buns, and Mary Had a Little Lamb

Rattlin' Bog

Britches Full of Stitches (the second tune in the set here, played by Sliabh Luchra musicians Jackie Daly and Seamus Creagh) 

The Hair Fell Off Of My Coconut (A Hundred Pipers) 

WHISTLE SKILLS: 

  • Police Siren (using one finger to create a different note, and making the whistle sound like a siren) - to learn to control the fingers
  • Blowing in rhythm of the tune - to learn to control the breath, and express the rhythm of the tune
  • Up and down parts of the scale, or the whole scale - (Older children) to learn to identify the notes in relation to the key
  • Basic tunes: Mary Had a Little Lamb, Hot Cross Buns, Britches Full of Stitches, Rattlin' Bog- Older children NOTE: Some younger children are learning these fingering patterns but are not yet able to cover the holes properly. They are well on their way!

OPTIONAL INSTRUMENTS: 

When we have choice time, children may work on whistle (or other instruments they play) OR they may explore on the following: 

  • Accordion- working on playing melody notes, and/or basses, and using the bellows to go in and out 
  • Bodhrán - working on the proper stick hold, and striking down and up

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#spoileralert #thehairfelloffofmycoconut

A post shared by Shannon Dunne Dance (@shannondunnedance) on

WEDNESDAY LEVEL II: SEPTEMBER PARENT UPDATE

TUNE: Sally Gardens

To learn the tune we have:

  • Beat warmup using the tune every week 
  • Played Name that Tune: "Sally Gardens or NOT Sally Gardens" 
  • Clapped the rhythm of the melody
  • Lilted the tune along with Shannon

PERCUSSIVE SKILL: Controlling the timing of steps (To be in time to the music)

This class is mostly made up of children who have not yet learned to dance to the beat and children are capable of finding the beat, but want to be creative and so disregard the beat in the process. 

Games/exercises: 

  • Counting 8s: The class counts to 8, while one dancer dances in time with their counting (and other variations of this game) 
  • Partner Beat Freeze Dance: 1 dancer leads, and does a pattern on the beat.  When the music stops, the dancers need to be in the same shape. 

Traditional Rhythm:  "The Connemara Basic Step"  and "Snoopy Shuffle" 

(NOTE: This is simply the name assigned to it when people started teaching.  These steps would not have had names, as they were being passed via absorption in dance/music communities) 

CONNEMARA BASIC: 

Mechanics: Hop (4) heel down (+1) heel down (+2) heel down (+3) 

Elements: Hop (quarter note), Shuffle (2 eighth notes, +1)

SNOOPY SHUFFLE:

Mechanics: step (4) heel down (+1) step (2) heel down (+3)

Elements: Step, meaning the foot goes down with weight (quarter note), shuffle (2 eighth notes, +1)

Students have also been working on mixing up the elements or steps to make 8 bar steps.   This works on tradition AND personal style. 

Padraig o'hOibicin is a sean-nos dancer whose style of dancing uses beats and shuffles.   Look at his dancing below.

Personal Style: Improv Structures Used by Sean-nos Dancers

Again, these would not have been "set" structure, but are simply the ways in which sean-nos dancers communicate with each other! 

"Smiling improv": Dancing until someone else shows up and tells you to leave by smiling at you.  Dance off.   Use the Connemara basic step to get on stage, and then improv.  

"Eyeballs": dancing until you are finished, then looking at someone in the eyes to pass the dance to them.  Both dancers dance the Connemara basic until the next dancer gets going, then the first dancer drops out. 

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TUESDAY LEVEL III: September Parent Update

TUNE: The Sally Gardens

 

PERCUSSIVE SKILL: Keeping the downbeat

  • Where is the downbeat in our basic? (on the 3)
  • ...shuffle hop back? (on the 1 and the 3)
  • ...shuffles? (shuffles use eighth notes, with the quarter note feet alternating feet)  
  • ...runs?   (runs use quarter notes, same foot on the quarter note beats)

TRADITIONAL STEPS: Devane Timing (Shuffles back, basics, runs, shuffles) 

Hello, World!

PERSONAL STYLE:A Capella Improv

We have been improvising with only timing steps but without music to give us some grounding in our improvs that DO have music!

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TUESDAY LEVEL I: September Parent Update

TUNE: The Sally Gardens

(2nd tune in the set here) 

PERCUSSIVE DANCE SKILLS: Beat Identification

Exercises included: 

  • Marching to the beat
  • Making a choice with how to march to the beat (R, L , R, R, R... for example) 
  • Using different parts of your feet to march to the beat

Across the floor movements: : 

  • Galloping 
  • Skipping (forwards and backwards) 
  • Shuffles (hitting the heel before you take a step) 

TRADITIONAL SONGS and DANCES: 

The Rattlin' Bog/Heel Toe Polka

Song: 

Dance: (Starts at about 2:35)

"The Hair Fell of of My Coconut"

Tune: 100 Pipers

Dance: Peeler and the Goat

Slide and 1 2 3 (4 times)

Right arm turn, left arm turn

Twirl the lady, twirl the gent (repeat 2x) 

Ladies move on!

PERSONAL STYLE/IPMROV/AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT

1 person takes a turn improvising to the music.  Everyone else is in the audience.  When someone in the audience sees an exciting move or something that really goes with the music they give a quick WHOOP!

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MONDAY LEVEL II: SEPTEMBER PARENT UPDATE

Tune: The Sally Gardens

It's the second tune in the set, here:

Percussive Dance Skill:   Timing of beats (with the music) 

Are your feet hitting the ground and making sound in time? 

Exercises included things like: 

  • Counting to 8, and hitting 1 beat for each number
  • Marching exercises, marching then changing to steps/stamps, then different parts of the feet
  • Dancing in a "round" (Like Row Row Row Your Boat) : marching, adding shuffles, adding hops

Here's a video of Paraic o'hOibicin whose personal style is based in beats and shuffles:

 

Traditional Rhythm:  "The Connemara Basic Step"  

(NOTE: This is simply the name assigned to it when people started teaching.  These steps would not have had names, as they were being passed via absorption in dance/music communities) 

Mechanics: Hop (4) heel down (+1) heel down (+2) heel down (+3) 

Elements: Hop (quarter note), Shuffle (2 eighth notes, +1)

Student who have this step have been working on mixing up the elements to make other rhythms, while staying in the basic groove of the Connemara Step.   This works on tradition AND personal style. 

 

Personal Style: Improv Structures Used by Sean-nos Dancers

Again, these would not have been "set" structure, but are simply the ways in which sean-nos dancers communicate with each other! 

"Smiling improv": Dancing until someone else shows up and tells you to leave by smiling at you.  Dance off.   Use the Connemara basic step to get on stage, and then improv.  

"Eyeballs": dancing until you are finished, then looking at someone in the eyes to pass the dance to them.  Both dancers dance until the next dancer gets going, then the first dancer drops out. 

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