Here my 3 favorite ways to explore ANIMALS and the WAY THEY MOVE, in my dance classes for all ages!
ANIMAL WARM-UP - JAZZ & CREATIVE MOVEMENT COLLABORATION
Together with your students, make a quick list of the first 5 animals they can think of, and write them on your white board, or tape a paper to your mirror. Brainstorm the movements that each animal does, or a characteristic of that animal, and collaborate with your students to create a fun warm-up!
Kangaroos jump, box, and have long tails! Our Kangaroo warm-up could include sways or hip isolations side to side (moving our long tails!), and then progress into kangaroo jumps in place 4X, with alternating air-punches RLRL. Then repeat!
Or, use this Animal Roll-A-Step sheet for some done-for-you animal warm-up activities! Just click the picture for your free printable download!
BALLET ANIMALS TRIVIA
For your older students, you could challenge their ballet terminology and dance history knowledge. Ask them to list as many steps as they can think of that relate directly to animals, or use this as an opportunity to introduce a new step to the class.
Here is a quick list of 5 ballet steps named after animals, pulled from this article on dance-teacher.com.
Or, you could also ask them to list any famous ballets that use animals as the characters -- here are some out-of-the-box ideas, with clips to watch, from pointemagazine.com!
ANIMAL EXPLORATION & IMPROVISATION
Our imaginations can take us on a wild ride through the jungle, out for a day on the farm, or even under the sea -- and music can be the catalyst for animal-inspired movement!
For your older students, you could play a guessing game, using the music from The Carnival of the Animals by composer Camille Saint-Saens. Play a clip from each movement, and see if they can guess which animal each section is representing, based on how the music sounds and feels. Then, ask them to create their own animal inspired movement sequence!
For preschool & early elementary age students, teach them how music can tell a story and give us cues on how to move by using the follow-along action song, Butterfly, Elephant, or Mouse? by Andrew Holdsworth.
Do you love to use animal-inspired movement too? Let me know your tried-and-true ideas, in the comments!
I have more ANIMAL themed resources for you too!
My Animal Theme Hooray for Dance Notebook has done-for-you preschool ballet, tap, and jazz combos, with song lists, detailed combos, short video clips, and visual aids for your class. Little Wild Ones has class exercises for parent-tot dance & young preschoolers; Animal Rhythms is a tap skill game for elementary age tap classes, and Animal Actions is a great game to build strength and work on motor tools for preschool & elementary age students. Musical Mud Puddles & Piggy & Friends Freeze Dance are perfect for class, a dance camp, or even a dance birthday party, and are a big hit for kids who love Peppa Pig!