Unit VI Louisiana's Musical Landscape
Lesson 4 Moving to Music
[Easter Rock] was real spiritual to me. . . .[Now] you got more younger people that's participating and before they Rock, . . . I let them know that it's nothing to play with. . . . You don't dance, you don't play. If you sincere about it then you Rock. . . [I teach the children] the same way that I saw how to do it, . . . And I let them know, you know, just like I said, that they don't play. If I think they dancing, or got a little dance in it, I stop [them]. . . . It is just a little hop from one side to the other. But you got to get the step, you know, you got to stay in the move with it, . . . They love to dance, and I just let them know that they aren't dancing, that they going to have to get it the way we was brought up to do it, or they don't Rock. . . . They can't add to it, if they just get down with it, I stop and let them know.
--Hattie Addison, Winnsboro Easter Rock Ensemble, Franklin Parish
You ain't supposed to cross your legs. . . . They say you're dancing when you cross your legs.
--Ellen Addison, Winnsboro Easter Rock Ensemble, Franklin Parish
Dance, English Language Arts, Kinesiology, Music, Social Studies, Theatre Arts
Purpose of Lesson
This lesson helps students understand how they themselves use movement and dance and the many ways that people move and dance in different contexts. Close observation and imitation of folk movement and dance will hone decoding skills and kinesthetic abilities. They also learn about the importance of folk movement and dance to cultural groups and that they must understand the folk group to be able to understand the folk dance.
Lesson Objectives/Louisiana Content Standards, Benchmarks, and Foundation Skills
1. Students explore the ways in which they move and dance, expand their repertoire of movement, and improve kinesthetic skills.
2. Students examine folk dance as a genre of folklore and its importance to cultural groups.
3. Students improve critical observation and notetaking skills by recording impressions while watching folk movement and dance.
4. Students examine folk dance and folk movement.
5. Students interpret and perform folk dance and folk movements.
3-5 class periods
Locate music that your students can move to in traditional ways, such as music for the Cajun two-step or waltz, square dancing, zydeco two-step or waltz, second-line dancing, old-time country two-step or waltz, or other regional traditional dances. Locate some of the Unit VI Resources. Print out and duplicate the worksheets and rubrics that you will be using. Students will need access to a computer with video viewing capabilities for some activities. High-speed Internet connections will work best. If your students will be doing fieldwork, you may need digital cameras, audio recorders, or video recorders in addition to notepads and pencils as well as appropriate fieldwork forms. Print out and duplicate any worksheets or rubrics that you will be using. See Unit II.
Background Information for the Teacher
Music and movement come naturally to children. Babies babble and wiggle, toddlers croon in nonsense syllables and dance freely, three-year-olds know an impressive array of songs and are in constant motion. Seven-year-olds blare parodies of advertising jingles and are full of hand gestures. Adolescents seem in a perpetual state of awareness of their strong musical likes and dislikes and of the latest rhythmic motions and dances. Adults may overlook the importance of dance in their lives, but they often enjoy dance as part of their fitness or social lives, from aerobics to square dancing, second-line parading to dancing at wedding parties, and moving to sacred music.
As you can tell from the quotes at the beginning of this lesson, folk movement and dance communicate information that cultural insiders understand better than cultural outsiders. Folk movement and dance have rhythmic movements that are learned within folk groups in a traditional manner, by observation and imitation, usually to music traditional to the group. For this lesson, the cultural insiders--those who belong to the folk group and perform it--determine whether their folk movement is dance. Although many folk groups in Louisiana move to music as part of their cultural expression, not all of them call this movement "dance." In some sacred contexts folk groups would consider dance sacrilegious.
Much of the folk music in Louisiana is social dance music. The Cajun two-step and waltz, square dancing, zydeco two-step and waltz, second-line dancing, and old-time country two-step and waltz are some examples of folk or traditional dance that are closely connected to the dominant folk cultures in Louisiana's three folk regions. See Louisiana Three Major Subregions Map. Pow wow dances are important to Native American organizations throughout the state. Dance traditions are practiced by Czechs, Filipinos, Greeks, Laotians, Hungarians, and others. For photos of some of these traditions, refer to the Louisiana Folklife Photo Gallery and select "Music and Dance | Dance and Movement."
Kinds of movement that are not considered dance include the stylized walk during jazz funeral dirges, where mourners slowly and rhythmically walk with the casket to the cemetery to the sounds of gospel music, and Easter Rock, unique to North Louisiana African-American Baptist churches. Easter Rock occurs during a church gathering on the Saturday before Easter as members begin to walk and rock in a circle, using rhythmic rocking steps that reverberate through the old wooden floor, while the congregation sings and claps. Other examples include children's games such as "Miss Mary Mack," the swaying and clapping movements of gospel choirs and congregations, sports fans' movements such as "the wave," and African-American students' step shows.
Elementary school students can explore their own dance moves, hand-clapping games, and jump rope rhymes of the schoolyard. They can also observe younger children's playground movements and play with action figures. Older students can research community or regional dance traditions or movements that students use at sporting events, such as an African-American step show, stomping in bleachers, band movements during halftime, and cheerleaders' actions. They can observe students' physical behavior in hallways and should watch folk dance online at Louisiana Voices Folk Dance Video Clips. They can also observe live performances of different kinds of rhythmic movement and dance in public and private settings, and describe the event as well as the movements.
Some important questions that will help students consider folk movement and dance in their own lives and how to study such movement are outlined on the Moving to Music Self-Discovery worksheet.
After students have completed the worksheet, these additional questions, which appear on the Performance and Video Notetaking Worksheet, can be used to stimulate thought and discovery, and to guide students' deeper understanding of folk dance and movement as they watch the Louisiana Voices Folk Dance Video Clips.
a) What kind of community is participating? Describe the participants.
Again, when addressing these questions, it is important to keep the concepts of folk, popular, and elite in mind. For example, students might be watching a dance on MTV but performing the dance with their own folk variations at a party. Alternatively, a style of dance or a dance "move" might arise in a folk group and subsequently become popularized in mass media. Remember that cultural boundaries are fuzzy; it is important to realize that folk dances do not necessarily have to be old; traditions change over time. Young people constantly create new movement styles and dances, and adults create variations within their movement and dance traditions.
The school music specialist, dance specialist, and a physical education teacher might want to collaborate with you on this lesson. If your school has a dance or theater specialist, ask them to work with your class. Local folk dancers and musicians who play for traditional dances can also be helpful so try to identify some who can come to class. Read Background Information for the Teacher and think about what folk and traditional dances you have learned and observed throughout your life. Did you grow up around people who participated in folk dance? When you ask students to consider the concepts of folk movement and dance in their own lives, they might need a reminder about classroom-appropriate gestures, movements, and language. Review Unit IV Lesson 3 and its discussion of community and Unit III Lesson 1 about children's games. It is essential for students to focus on movements learned within a folk group rather than on elite dance such as ballet or popular dance such as choreographed MTV videos. Older students will be able to observe and analyze more examples of folk dances. Younger students may be more open to demonstrating movement. Review the lesson worksheets and assessment tools to help you determine what activities will work best with your students and preview the online video clips. Remember that some families do not approve of dancing and may prefer alternative assignments such as school history and culture. See Unit III Lesson 2 or a lesson from Unit V.
4th and 8th Grade Activities
1. In this unit, students will have many
opportunities to learn folk movements and dances from video clips, guest
dancers, parents, and other students. To optimize their chances
for learning to perform as many of these as possible, use Jigsaw groups.
In this technique, students work in groups to learn a dance or movement,
then members regroup to teach what they have learned to the new group
members. This process should continue throughout the entire lesson as
students are exposed to new movements and dances. If the Moving to Music
Self-Assessment sheets are distributed at the beginning of the
lesson, students can record movements and dances they learn as the lesson
progresses. Follow the following steps to maximize this approach.
2. Ask students to complete the questionnaire Moving to Music Self-Discovery, which begins with five minutes of brainstorming, then asks a series of questions. With younger students, start as a class by sharing some of your own examples and reading the questions aloud, giving students time to answer. You may discuss their answers briefly and then return to more analysis after the Step 4.
3. Have students watch the Louisiana Voices Folk Dance Video Clips without sound. This can be done in groups or as a class. You might choose fewer examples for younger students to view. Distribute copies of the Response Journal for Movement and Dance so students can check the elements they observe on the worksheet.
4. After watching the video clips without sound, ask students to watch again with sound and to draw new conclusions about how music influences movement: How is movement influenced by rhythm, tempo, number of participants, lyrics or language? They should use their Response Journals for Movement and Dance to react to the prompts about the movements. During discussion, they should defend their conclusions.
5. Review the Response Journals in class. As a class or in groups, have students share their responses and conclusions. Discuss reactions to viewing the video without and then with sound. Discuss how folk dance can relay clues about a folk group: region, ethnicity, age, religion, gender, and so on. How do they relate their own experiences with folk dances to those they've observed on video? What would a cultural outsider learn from students' dance traditions? Do students think that learning more about another folk group's folk dance traditions can make people understand and even be more tolerant of different cultural groups? Allow general discussion of findings and encourage students to validate each other's opinions.
6. Return to the worksheet Moving to Music Self-Discovery and pair or group students to teach each other how to do a sequence of their own movements that they identified. Next they should share these movements with the whole class. (Remember to consider alternative roles for students who are uncomfortable participating. One student could be the time keeper and others could notate the movements, for example.) Each sequence should have three to five movement elements, such as swaying, stepping, clapping, jumping, or hand motions, and have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Students can create their own sequence, use something they already know, or duplicate something they've seen in Louisiana Voices Folk Dance Video Clips.
7. The Is It Folk Dance? worksheet has important information for helping students understand that some folk groups may not consider some movements as dance. Review the information on the sheet and ask students to add the movements performed in Step 6 above to their lists, then add other examples. You might read them the quotes from the beginning of the lesson and discuss how cultural insiders' views could differ from cultural outsiders' views.
8. Students could write a poem describing how music influences folk dance in one of the video examples. They might lay the poem out on paper in a manner that mirrors the movement.
9. Have students produce a "string performance": a presentation of all the different movements they have shared or created. They might want to choose a student director or choreographer or assign other roles. Each student can do a separate movement, or the whole group can perform each movement. Suggestions: Use a simple rhythm instrument to guide the performance. Incorporate the poetry into the performance. Encourage students to surprise you with their performances and to be creative with the choreography. Students might perform for other classes or families and invite their audience to join them and add their own movements. If you or students have identified any traditional dancers in your community, invite them to demonstrate as part of this performance.
10. If you know of traditional dancers, invite them to class to demonstrate and answer students' questions. Students can use the Questions for Dancers worksheet. See Unit II Fieldwork Basics for the Written Release Form needed for interviewing. After students have completed interviews, ask the Guest Dancer to teach several students or the whole class a dance. See Unit II Lesson 3 for guidance.
11. Review the Moving to Music Self-Assessment with students and ask them to use it to complete their self-assessments. Allow students more time to practice movements and dances if needed and to add information to worksheets. Then use the Moving to Music Rubric for scoring and grading student performances for each element.
4th Grade Explorations and Extensions
1. Interview family members or school personnel about folk or traditional dance in your community or their memories of dance. You may use the Questions for Dancers worksheet and refer to Unit II if you undertake a community folk dance fieldwork project.
2. Explore the different dance traditions in Louisiana by going to Louisiana Folklife Photo Gallery and select "Music and Dance | Dance and Movement." Much of the folk music in Louisiana is dance music. The Cajun two-step and waltz, square dancing, zydeco two-step and waltz, second-line dancing, and old-time country two-step and waltz are some examples of folk or traditional dance that are closely connected to the dominant folk cultures in Louisiana's three folk regions. See Louisiana Folk Regions: Three Major Subregions. Dance traditions are also practiced by Native Americans, Czechs, Filipinos, Greeks, Hungarians, and others.
3. Pow wow dances are important to Native American organizations throughout the state. Read about Native American dances on the website Your Guide to Understanding and Enjoying Pow Wows (No audio or video) Text describes dance styles. Write a paragraph about something you learned about Native American dances that surprises you.
4. Ask teachers of younger students if you may observe students for 10 or 15 minutes during recess. Take a notebook and write down verbs to describe their movements, for example, sliding, waving arms, hopping on one foot. Your field notes could also include information on how much space children use, differences between girls' and boys' movements, any folk movements such as hand clapping games, and questions you would like to ask. Write a paragraph or a poem about your observation or add children's movements to the class "string presentation."
8th Grade Explorations and Extensions
1.Use copies of Folk Movement and Dance
Web Scavenger Hunt to expand the activity using website videos to
study Louisiana folk dance and dance traditions outside Louisiana. The Music Resources Center / Dance includes several
video excerpts. Scroll down to the video titles:
2. Interview a traditional dancer in your
community. Use the worksheet Questions for
Dancers, as well as other fieldwork forms in Unit II. Later, you can reenact
the interview for the class. Work in pairs so that one person is the
interviewer and the other person is the interviewee. Or launch a community
folk movement and dance fieldwork project. Identify local dances where you
can take photographs and observe dancers and document the dance
hall. 3. After viewing a video clip of folk
movement or dance, come up with a list of questions about this cultural
group that wasn't covered in the clip. Use a KWL worksheet to
start your thinking. List ways that you could research this information.
You may work individually or in teams. 4. Use the Independent Research
Worksheet to research the history of a regional Louisiana folk
dance from North Louisiana, South Louisiana, or New Orleans. When and how
do you think it developed? Write down your hypothesis. Research the dance
on the Internet, in the library, and by interviewing dancers and musicians
who play for dances. Try to learn the dance yourself. Compare your
findings with your hypothesis. Write an essay or create a timeline. When
you present your research to classmates, play appropriate music, show
pictures of dancers, demonstrate a dance move specific to this dance, or
share a story from a dancer. 5. Conduct a fieldwork study of movement
by observing younger students play on the school playground or playing
with action figures. Developing a movement observation sheet will make
notetaking easier. Make sure you get teachers' permission to observe
students. Note how the children use space, gender differences, music,
language, and rhythm. Based on your observations, choreograph a movement
piece to present to classmates or create a comparison chart or oral
presentation. 6. Teach a dance or movement that you know to a friend or classmate or learn a movement or dance from someone.
2. Interview a traditional dancer in your community. Use the worksheet Questions for Dancers, as well as other fieldwork forms in Unit II. Later, you can reenact the interview for the class. Work in pairs so that one person is the interviewer and the other person is the interviewee. Or launch a community folk movement and dance fieldwork project. Identify local dances where you can take photographs and observe dancers and document the dance hall.
3. After viewing a video clip of folk movement or dance, come up with a list of questions about this cultural group that wasn't covered in the clip. Use a KWL worksheet to start your thinking. List ways that you could research this information. You may work individually or in teams.
4. Use the Independent Research Worksheet to research the history of a regional Louisiana folk dance from North Louisiana, South Louisiana, or New Orleans. When and how do you think it developed? Write down your hypothesis. Research the dance on the Internet, in the library, and by interviewing dancers and musicians who play for dances. Try to learn the dance yourself. Compare your findings with your hypothesis. Write an essay or create a timeline. When you present your research to classmates, play appropriate music, show pictures of dancers, demonstrate a dance move specific to this dance, or share a story from a dancer.
5. Conduct a fieldwork study of movement by observing younger students play on the school playground or playing with action figures. Developing a movement observation sheet will make notetaking easier. Make sure you get teachers' permission to observe students. Note how the children use space, gender differences, music, language, and rhythm. Based on your observations, choreograph a movement piece to present to classmates or create a comparison chart or oral presentation.
6. Teach a dance or movement that you know to a friend or classmate or learn a movement or dance from someone.