A dance party with kids on a rainy day.

The weather limits our choices again today. Or maybe it just brings dancing and music into sharp relief. Why not dance? If you’d like to join us, just right-click on the image with song titles to download the song and host your own dance party.

skip to my lou is a traditional American folk dance in which partners usually swing around and trade off for other partners. First we practiced skipping across the room using the cues “step-hop, step-hop.” Then, without the music, we skipped in a straight line towards our partner, reciting “step-hop, step-hop” until we reached our partner. When we faced each other, we froze in place. Then we linked arms and skipped, turing clockwise in a circle.

Then we added music to the mix. On the words “Skip to My Lou”, we skipped across the room towards our partners. When we reached our partners, the verses began and we linked arms and skipped in circles.

Afterwards, we engaged in the customary folk dancing practice of acknowledging our partner by bowing (for boys) or performing a curtsey (for girls).

imagining we are lining tracks For this song, we talked about how men used to sing as they lined railroad tracks, which involved lifting heavy pieces of wood and coordinating when you would drop them together. Track lining songs are an important part of our shared history here in the South.

As we listened to the song, everybody “lined tracks”. For further exploration, you can learn more about railroad ties and track-lining here.

hobbit dancing is a pretty wide-open dancing activity. We talked about hobbits and their small size and how this might inform their dancing style. We also got a little inspiration from this wild hobbit dance video. Then we just listened to the music and let our inner hobbits call the shots.

Snowden’s Jig is described in the music liner as a “Genuine Negro Jig”. For this dance, we tried to learn how to dance an Irish jig with some help from our friend the internet. A traditional Irish jig is a series of hops and steps that repeat themselves over and over again. The steps are simple, either stepping forward or taking steps backwards, but the hops can require some practice in getting the timing and coordination right. The best way to practice getting it right is to make sure that you are listening well to the music.

The beat is fast, so you’ll want to make small steps and hops at first in order to maximize your chances of getting in all the steps on the beat of the music. Here is a step-by-step:

1. Point your left foot in front of you. Step onto your left foot and bring your right foot into a closed position behind it, transferring your weight onto your right foot.

2. Bring your left toe up to your right knee as you hopSwing your left leg so that your left knee is pointing in front of you and your foot is by your right knee—this is also done while hopping.

3. Place your left foot on the ground behind you: the first of four steps backwards, left, right, left, right. Your weight should now be on your right foot, so that you can point your left foot in front of you—you’re back to the beginning!

Unfortunately, I was too busy dancing to take any photos, but I’m walking on sunshine.

Comments are closed.