TUESDAY LEVEL I: MID SESSION PARENT UPDATE

TUNE: Miss McLeod's Reel

WARMUP/PERCUSSIVE DANCE SKILLS:

Dancing to the beat

This marks the beginning of our class each week!  We listen to the music, and find the beat in the following ways: 

  • 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

This month we added dancing as a soloist, where each child takes a turn dancing to the beat by themselves with the other children using "Hup!" or "Whoo!' to show that they like what the dancer is doing.  This is how it is when you dance sean-nos in Ireland! 

Dee Dum Patterns

As a set-up for our timing step, we learn to speak a lilting language for our feet.  Shannon refers to this as "DEE DUM".    The two building blocks are DUM (step on the beat, where the foot gets weight) or DEE (striking the heel and picking it up again, almost as if you are kicking leaves) 

Each week, we work with Dee Dum, trying to build facility and ease in the timing step.  Here are some of the ways we played with this: 

We also worked "across the floor" using our DEE DUMS to move us!    Lining up, I gave the first person a pattern.   Once they did my pattern, they got to give the next person a pattern to do!   Here, Rose gave a pattern to Shannon to perform, and she is watching to make sure that Shannon is doing it correctly!

We also worked "across the floor" using our DEE DUMS to move us!    Lining up, I gave the first person a pattern.   Once they did my pattern, they got to give the next person a pattern to do!   Here, Rose gave a pattern to Shannon to perform, and she is watching to make sure that Shannon is doing it correctly!

TRADITIONAL SONGS and DANCES: 

This month, we continued working with our songs and dances!  These build understanding of the music and develops the children's ear for the music!

Our dance/song list: (You can find the links for songs/dances in the September blog post)

  • Rattlin Bog/ Heel Toe Polka
  • The Hair Fell of of My Coconut/Peeler and the Goat
  • Put Your Little Foot/Shoe the Donkey
  • Johnny Will You Marry Me

We added the song,  The Little Pack of Tailors, and will learn that dance next!   We've been singing right now with the Dublin/Liffey verse, but this is a great song for talking about the cities in Ireland!

PERSONAL STYLE/IPMROV/AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT

We added a few improv games as well!

Sometimes the big girls come and join us at the end too!  Here we are playing the Statue Game, where one child dances and the rest are statues.  Then the child makes the same shape as someone and that person gets to be the dancer.  This builds musical understanding, body awareness, and helps the children feel part of a bigger community!

Sometimes the big girls come and join us at the end too!  Here we are playing the Statue Game, where one child dances and the rest are statues.  Then the child makes the same shape as someone and that person gets to be the dancer.  This builds musical understanding, body awareness, and helps the children feel part of a bigger community!

 

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MONDAY LEVEL II: MID SESSION PARENT UPDATE

Tune: Miss McLeod's Reel

This is another traditional reel of Scottish origin, used often for sean-nos dancing.   It's a double reel, meaning it has 2 melodies: the A part and the B part.  The structure of the tune is AABB

You can find it here: 

Percussive Dance Skill:   Clarity of Shuffles

We are continuing to work on our shuffle timing, which is a great thing for experienced dancers as well as new dancers!  

We have been including "across the floor" time as part of our warmup, working on executing our steps in time with each other.   We do "dee dum" patterns, including the Connemara basic (forward and back), and the "Snoopy Shuffle" 

We have been including "across the floor" time as part of our warmup, working on executing our steps in time with each other.   We do "dee dum" patterns, including the Connemara basic (forward and back), and the "Snoopy Shuffle" 

And we use our "Dee Dum" spoken language to help work on the articulation of the heel and the step: 

Percussive Skill & Personal Style: Identifying and Creating Using 8 bar phrases

Most Irish tunes are segmented into 8 bar melodies.  

In Level II we work on keeping track of the beat AND keeping track of the 8 bar phrases.

We work mainly in the style of dancer Roisin Ni Mhainin whose personal style is based in 8 bar steps. 

We created 8 bar steps in Roisin's style, using both movement and rhythm as the character for each step.  We performed them for each other, with and without music.   Sometimes the group would watch, other times the group would join in if they could see what the pattern was.  The goal is to make the rhythm and pattern second nature, and allow the children to use theme and variation to create their own style while still being traditional in their rhythm. 

We created 8 bar steps in Roisin's style, using both movement and rhythm as the character for each step.  We performed them for each other, with and without music.   Sometimes the group would watch, other times the group would join in if they could see what the pattern was.  The goal is to make the rhythm and pattern second nature, and allow the children to use theme and variation to create their own style while still being traditional in their rhythm. 

The first week, I took the steps they had created and wrote it out in "down beat" notation while they clapped along.  

The first week, I took the steps they had created and wrote it out in "down beat" notation while they clapped along.  

The next week, I had the children make up steps and clap and speak them...

The next week, I had the children make up steps and clap and speak them...

...then notate them on their own.    This helped me to identify which/how children understand beat and down beat, and if they understand what it means to be 8 bars is length.   It also helped certain children find another way to relate to the rhythm/music. 

...then notate them on their own.    This helped me to identify which/how children understand beat and down beat, and if they understand what it means to be 8 bars is length.  
It also helped certain children find another way to relate to the rhythm/music. 

SOCIAL DANCING: Reinforcing 8 bars & Personal Style

This month we worked on the 2nd figure of the Connemara Set, (which uses the Connemara Basic footwork, and has a new movement every 8 bars).  

But the second figure also has an element of personal style, in the Do-Si-Do move, which allowed kids to branch out and see if they could do their own steps and still end on time. 

It's handy that we have these squares on the floor!  It gives us a great guideline for where in the "set" the dancers need to be, and also allows us to practice certain moves in pairs, rather than needing to wait for all 8 dancers to take a turn!   Here, Willa and Eva are showing the kids where they need to land every 2 bars of music.  This means the children will need to listen and dance, but they also get to work with another person in  doing that. 

It's handy that we have these squares on the floor!  It gives us a great guideline for where in the "set" the dancers need to be, and also allows us to practice certain moves in pairs, rather than needing to wait for all 8 dancers to take a turn!  

Here, Willa and Eva are showing the kids where they need to land every 2 bars of music.  This means the children will need to listen and dance, but they also get to work with another person in  doing that. 

Here the dancers are practicing the Do-Si-Do in the 2nd figure of the dance, where each gent takes a turn do-si-do ing around the lady across from him.  During this move, dancers are encouraged to take the 8 bars to show off, and show their personal style! 

Here the dancers are practicing the Do-Si-Do in the 2nd figure of the dance, where each gent takes a turn do-si-do ing around the lady across from him.  During this move, dancers are encouraged to take the 8 bars to show off, and show their personal style! 

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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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