(Music: "Canned Heat" by Jamiroquai)
Lead kids through a dance class-inspired warmup: rolling head and shoulders, torso/hip isolation movements (circles or side to side), rolling up and down through the spine, deep knee bends (plie), evolving into larger movements like skipping in a circle, jazz squares, jumping, etc. The kids will move to this song, whether you lead them or not!
Creative Movement: Shrinking Square Dance
(Music: "Turkey in the Straw" by Williams & Bray)
The basic concept of square dancing is to "do-si-do" or move in a circle around your partner, and before you move on to another partner, bow to each other. So I added the element of levels to our square dance, and it got pretty silly! Before each level change, I paused the music to call out the instructions for the next dance (at this time they find a new partner).
1) Start tall, walking on tiptoes as you circle a partner and then bow (notice that it's difficult to bow while on tiptoes)
2) Shuffling on knees
3) Squatting in Malasana and walking like a chicken
4) On seat, scooting (for old enough children, indicate that they should try not to use their hands to push themselves)
5) On tummies, slithering like snakes
(Music: "Pick Yourself Up" (Swing Time) by Fred Astaire
I started this segment by teaching them how to "shuffle" or slide their foot back and forth, and then practicing tapping their toe and then their heel, and a few other beginning tap moves (I'm no expert at this, but you can check Youtube for ideas if you're not sure).
Then we added foot-tapping into some of our favorite animal poses, like Crab, Downward Dog, Seal... ask them about their favorite animal poses and then see how those animals might tap dance!
(Music: "On the Road Again" by Willie Nelson)
This got somewhat complicated, but I think with older kids it would be a fun challenge.
Arrange the kids in a line, or in rows if you have a lot of students. Try these two poses, right and left, and then jump (either 90 or 180 degrees--use this as a math lesson as well!) and repeat facing the new direction.
-Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana Variation (with hands on hips instead of reaching for big toe) right/left
-Warrior 3/Airplane (hands could remain on hips or stretch out like wings) right/left
(Music: "Tropical" by African Music Machine and "Funky Nassau" by The Beginning of the End)
These simpler moves worked for such small kids, but older kids would definitely enjoy practicing their arm balances during this segment--they're really quite similar to a "freeze" in breakdancing! Speaking of that, I highly recommend watching some of Anya Porter's "Breakti" sequences or attending one of her trainings--SO much fun!
-Rolling like a ball into Shoulderstand
-Spinning like a ball (on seat with legs crossed, using hands to topple around in a circle)
-The Worm (in Cobra pose--see an adorable worm demo here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3di0DVD2pE)
-The Windmill (It's my simplified, baby version of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4eTCYWGgTk)
Sit in Upavistha Konasana/Seated Forward Fold. Slide legs together almost as though going into Paschimottanasana, but then swing legs behind you, landing on your tummy in Salabasana/Locust Pose. Continue circle in same direction bringing legs forward to start again.
After trying out all these moves, make a circle and let kids go in one at a time and show off their b-boy/b-girl style while the other kids clap and dance around them.
(Music: "Music Box Dancer" by Frank Mills for first three poses, "Dance of the Swans" from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake for the swan stretches, and then "Waltz of the Flowers" from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker for the final pose)
Okay, I'm biased! This is my favorite--after studying ballet since age 5 (see below)--I was happy to indulge. I could probably create a whole class around ballet... maybe someday! Fun Fact: "Music Box Dancer" was the song I danced to in my first recital at age 5!
-Standing Star Pose (Legs wide and toes turned out to sides, arms overhead)/Goddess Pose ("plie" or bend knees to sides, place hands on shoulders) Alternating back and forth several times between the poses with grace.
-Spinning Trees (Also known as a pirouette!) Step into Vrksasana/Tree Pose with a twirl, arms above head.
-Music Box Dancer/Natarajasana hopping on standing leg in a circle
-Swan Stretch: Tall Cobra pose, bend one knee at a time reaching your pointed toe toward the top of your head as you look up, and then both toes together. Then stand up and shake out your feathers and flap your wings.
-Flower Petals: Seated in a circle with one leg forward, toe pointed and the other knee bent (Janu Sirsasana/Head to Knee Pose Variation). Stretch arms up to the sky and then fold forward over extended leg. Practice folding and unfolding your petals as a group and be sure to change legs!
Finish up with Viparita Karani (legs up the wall), feeling grateful for toes and legs that can dance in so many different ways.