Dances for Kids
- Hi, everyone!
Guillaume and I have recently been discussing the subject of good
period dances for children. We've come up with some criteria, but I
was curious to know what the other people on this list might think.
Some guidelines I thought would be appropriate:
1) Don't need partners. (Dance is scary enough without that whole
2) Easy steps. (Singles, doubles, turns, possibly kicking steps, but
probably not fancy Italian doubles/ordinari/semidoppio, etc.)
3) Short repeat pattern. Probably not more than two or three
"sections" -- an entire English Country dance, for example, is
probably too difficult for a 7-year-old to manage.
4) FUN! (This is probably the most important one. Yeah, double
branle fits all the above criteria, but it's also about as boring as
Admittedly, these are all subject to change with the age of the
children. For example, I would expect our young adults of age 12-14
to be able to do pretty much anything the adults do. They also might
be more interested in "partner" dances (maybe ...).
What else should be considered? Are there any parents out here with
some input on the subject? I don't have kids, so I don't want to make
the mistake of overestimating their abilities -- or worse,
- Hi there:
Since I've already done some work on this, I'm going to jump ahead to
some specifics. I'm still looking for ideas for guidelines, but I
thought I'd share what I've got so far.
>I would add a short curriculum to accommodate shorter attention spans -
> ... discussing the subject of good period dances for children.
perhaps a maximum of three dances. These might be very different, to
reduce confusion (i.e. avoid doing just circle dances or just 6 person
I while back, I made a list of easy dances that I thought would make a
good pool for introductory classes. My intention was to work up
handouts that I could keep on hand for "no prior experience needed"
classes or demos. I excluded trivially easy dances such as the
double/single/gay/Burgundian branles and the easiest Old Measures
because they aren't interesting (unless you bundle them together, which
is a different class).
Reviewing the guidelines discussed so far, these may not all be suitable
for first time kids (that's OK, this pool serves adults, too). A
majority require partners (as most dances do), but some do not, and
others may still appeal to children (e.g. Petit Riens or Washerwomen's
Branle). Some special steps are needed, but not many, and they are
still easy. We probably want to select for a limited set, however, so
as not to have several varieties of doubles, for instance. These dances
have short or repetitive patterns, and I think they are all fun
(although some might not work so well for kids).
This is my list of introductory dances, updated after the Caroso Dance
Casulle la Novelle (long pattern needs to be called)
Amoroso (partner dance)
Petite Vriens (skipping dance, partners not critical)
Carolingian Pavan (Belle Qui Tienne Ma Vie) (partner dance)
Branle D'Escosse (Scott's) (easy circle dance)
Branle Des Lavandieres (Washerwoman's) (amusing partner dance)
Branle Des Pois (Peas) (hopping dance, but partners)
Branle de la Montarde (kicking dance, no partners)
Lorayne Alman (partner dance, and chow chow chow for kids?)
The Queen's Alman (partner dance)
Candlestick Branle (mixer - probably not for kids)
Una Pavana from Pavana Methei (partner dance)
Due cacce from La Caccia d'Amore (partner dance games)
Jenny Pluck Pears (partner dance)
Rufty Tufty (one of the easiest ECDs)
Upon A Summer's Day (another easy ECD)
So, for children or kids of diverse ages, I'm thinking a good
introductory dance pool would be:
Branle Des Lavandieres
Branle de la Montarde
Una caccia da farsi in Routa (the pinwheel game)
Upon A Summer's Day
plus the double and/or single branle as a tangle line dance, which kids
For demos or introductory classes, pick three (but only one branle
and/or one ECD). Any other suggestions? Ideas? Comments?
Keith / Guillaume S:}>