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make your day dance

Cultural dances for kids from many cultures

January 6th, 2009 · No Comments · Tags: ·····

Cultural diversity? My classes provide a good visual definition:

Students who were born or whose parents were born in Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia.  More who moved from Louisiana, Georgia, Texas, California. Some born here in Washington State.

Students who speak English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Cham, Tagalog, Amharic, Somalian, Cambodian, Mien, Toishanese, Laotian, Cantonese, Mandarin, Swahili, and Ilokano at home.  Some speak three languages.

Students named Naeem, Shavayla, Nevin, Karima, Hebert, Newin, Guadalupe, Jada, Rahel, Jayven, Juana, Velvet, Rosethah, Amanuel, Naundi, Josue, Sorrel, Elijah, Ifrah, Rahma, Jaykeem, Debron, Hishaam, Latifa, Aldrin, Zayla, Janyce, Merron, Mandy, Cindy, Jerry, Asha, Giao, Ayub….

They love dances from around the world. They love the patterns and their own ability to dance together for the duration of the dance. They love it when it’s their culture. They love the challenge of remembering the sequence and creating their own variations. They like the steps and patterns, which serve as building blocks when it’s time to choreograph. They like returning to dances they already know. They love the momentum they experience during predictable moves and turns.

I find dances from around the world a tremendous resource. They illustrate dance concepts such as speed, relationships, and directions. They entice the most reticent newcomers to join in. They offer a great warm-up. They’re a good conclusion. They provide food for thought and for understanding cultures, cooperation, relationships — whatever your chosen topic! They exemplify the reasons that people dance — to tell a story, to fight oppression, to play cooperatively, to bring people together, to celebrate, to perform!

By the end of the year, with what we’ve learned, we can dance straight through class and around the world at the same time.

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