Friday, January 15, 2016

Honor your partner... Honor your corner...

This week and next week we are in the heart of our dance unit, which is Square Dance!  Its 2016 – why are we square dancing??  Well, there are MANY answers to that question, and I would like to share a few of my reasons with you! 

1 – Its part of our American History – and has been around, in one form or another for centuries.  But the Western American Square Dancing didn’t gain its worldwide fame until the 20th century.  Also, 19 US states have designated it as their official state dance, including Illinois!

2 – Cooperation and Socialization – It’s all about working with your partner and the rest of the dancers in your square.  This reason alone is enough of a benefit for me to teach square dance in P.E.  Throughout our lives we have human interaction and have to learn how to work with other people.  Dance is a great, fun way for people to practice this life skill.

3 – Following directions – As many teachers will tell you, we spend our days giving directions and (hopefully) getting the kids to follow those directions.  Square Dance is the perfect setting to practice this! We learn each move and then have to apply them into a song when the “caller” tells us what to do.  Again, not only do I have to know what to do, but I have to be able to do this with another person at the same time!

4 – It is easy and fun!  The steps are not complicated and you are always told what to do.  Each year when I start this part of the dance unit, kids do not seem too excited, but once they get the hang of it they cannot wait until the next song to apply those moves with their fellow dancers!

5 – And finally…exercise and movement – It is not strenuous exercise, but you get a lot of movement in practicing each step and then doing the dances. Also, it is great for your brain because most of the steps require you to do cross-lateral movements, using both sides of your brain.  As research has shown us, our memory, learning, and coordination can benefit greatly from these kinds of movements.

video
4th Grade Square Dance

video
5th Grade Virginia Reel

References:
Smart, Eva. Square dancing and its benefits. Retrieved from http://www.mortonwhirlaways.com/Square_dancing_and_its_benefits.pdf
Square dance. (2016). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Square_dance&oldid=697752811

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