This month in our Preschool Dance Classes, Dance Exploration is taking our dancers on an exploration of the Rainy Season popular in April and May. You know the expression “April Showers bring May Flowers,” that’s our theme this month.

Did you know, that flowers help it rain? According to the University of Chicago paleontologist Kevin Boyce the world would be a little more drab without flowers. It would also be a lot drier and hotter. He explains that the leaves of flowering plants have a much higher vein density than any other plants, past or present. According to Boyce, that matters because in order to take in carbon dioxide, the flowers have to be able to lose the water. And the more veins the flowers have, the more water they’re capable of losing. That water comes out through the leaves, evaporates, and eventually returns as rain.

So maybe the saying should be May Flowers bring April Rain…either way, April and May are a fun time in Dance Exploration preschool classes as we explore rain, thunderstorms, rainbows and flowers!

 

These first two weeks of April, we’ve started by creating a Rainy Day in Dance class. Dance Exploration follows our own ‘Dance to Learn!’® Curriculum which is made up of a class flow designed to teach the whole child. Each Preschool class follows the same class flow to ensure a progressive learning style so that all children can learn regardless of development or ability.

When creating our “Rainy Day” in dance class, we Explored the Concept by completing Cloud Pliés by holding our cloud hats (arms above our heads in 5th position). We were so full of rain that the rain fell down to our toes as we did a big port de bras stretch. Next we made rain drops with our toes by practicing our piqués. As the rain grew stronger the wind started blowing and we added a twirl. Next, we made thunder by practicing our echappés (feet jumping out and then back together) and made lightning with the lightning arabesque. We finished our rainstorm with a rainbow (tendu passé).

For Developing Skills part of class, we break down individual dance moves to  

practice for mastery – you know, practice makes perfect! This allows the teacher to watch the dancers as they perfect moves we’ve been practicing while also helping with new moves. In our Rainy Day class, we learned some new rain storm dance moves. First we practiced our Thunder Jumps (echappés) jumping our feet out and together across the floor. Next we reviewed our lightning leaps from the week before (a high battement to the front while stepping over a jump rope and landing in a beautiful arabesque). We added a new step called the raindrop piqué. We tapped our toes on the raindrop pieces and stepped to the next drop.

For our Story Dance Pathway™ we combine all of our dance moves that we learned during Developing Skills into an obstacle course. The props help us remember which moves come next. This basic linking of steps together is the foundation of choreography. We also can teach sequencing such as how a rainstorm develops. For example, this week we had a complete rainstorm: starting with Wind Chassés we flew through the sky blowing clouds into formation. Next we completed our Cloud pliés. Next the rain came and we tapped our toes on the raindrops. We then made thunder and lightning by practicing our echappés and lightning leaps. We finished the Story Dance Pathway™ with a Rainbow Pose.

Dance Exploration Preschool Classes include the Dance at Home with Me™ Program where parents are given an activity to complete at home each week to help with learning outside of the classroom. This week we invite you to Make a Rainy Day at home.

What you will need:

White, Blue and Yellow Construction Paper

Scissors

Large white or blue circular shaped table cloth

Directions:

Cut cloud shapes out of the white construction paper.

Cut Raindrop shapes out of the blue construction paper.

Cut Lightning shapes out of the yellow construction paper.

Put all the clouds, lightning and raindrops in the circular table cloth. Play a rainy day song (we like April Showers from Disney’s Bambi)

Everyone should hold on to the parachute. Take the table cloth up and down and round and round like a parachute. As the music in the song gets more intense, throw your shapes out of the cloud like there’s a real rainstorm happening. Go under the clouds (take the parachute up and sit under. Chassé like the wind. Hold on and balance with one leg behind you (arabesque) like lightning or make thunder and jump your feet out and in (echappé).

How many different ways can you make a rainy day? Share your adventures on our Facebook Page! 

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