Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The LISTEN dance

The idea with the listen dance is of course to work on our listening skills... but also to rflect that there are many ways to listen.

The children were paired up - one to draw and one to dance... and then they would switch roles.

The dancing child needed to listening to the music (we played Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite) - and then move their body accordingly... what was the music telling them... and how could they tell this to someone else using their body?

The drawing child needed to listen to the body language... what were the movements telling them? They drew with black pencils on a large sheet of paper their interpretation of the movements... the pencil moving as the body - interpreting jumps, twirls, arm movements etc onto the paper.

When everyone had danced and everyone had drawn we gathered together to listen to the stories on the paper. What did the drawings say... and were they saying the same things as the bodies?

Some were in agreement, but not all.

This was not an easy task... but it was one the children enjoyed. It would be interesting if we could do it more often to see what would develop as the children became more confident in expressing what they hear with their bodies... and also more confident in expressing their interpretations on paper.

It was also interesting to observe... could the children focus on just their dancing partner and follow just their movements on the paper... with so much excitement it take agreat deal of effort and self regulation to just follow your partner...


  1. Try the Theme Song from Guardians of the Galaxy - Come and Get Your Love. The movements, expression, drawings were about 'giggling bodies, mommies, lovin'"

  2. I like this idea to help students use more then one way to listen. I plan on trying this with my 4 year old preschoolers. I agree, it would be interesting to see how the student's reflections would change with multiple experiences.

  3. I loved the idea and tried it. I struggled a little though. May be the group was not fully warmed up enough, or may be describing the task to 4 year olds is hard since half of them need to listen to the music and they don't really listen to much, they just started moving around and few of them got into jumping from a little chair one after the other... or may be that is what the music was telling them :) The other kids drew a picture of their partner not a picture of what the dance / moves were telling them. This was also a nice way of connecting albite not my original intent. Ideas for warming up and introducing the activity would be welcome! Also - it would have been great it only the dancing partners got to hear the music but we don't have that many iPods or phones, so everyone got to listen to it. This must have made it a bit distracting...

    1. I agree, it was one of the more trickier sessions that we had with young children... especially the first time... the whole idea of HOW to draw movements on the paper was a strange concept at first... some backed away thinking they had to draw images of people dancing, and were quite relieved when I mentioned that spinning could be drawn by making spirals... I had to use en example to help them... then they made their own lines etc for the rest of the movement...

      We also had it so that all children heard the music... so yes, it would be very interesting to see if there would be a difference between how the children drew if they could hear or not hear... were they influenced by the music more than their partners dance movements?
      it could be interesting for them to draw the movements to three short music sequences... and then listen to the music afterwards and see if they could guess which music belonged to which series of drawings on the paper!!

      thanks for the feeback Emilia