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  • I will always have a special place in my heart for swing dancing!  I was at a wedding and watched my father dance for the first time ever.  He was swing dancing.  Although he never did dance with me, my grandfather did teach me a few times.  Later in college I took some swing dancing workshops....but I just haven't had the chance to practice enough to get good like the ones who have inspired me.  I think it might be the same for kids...too hard to learn in a small amount of time...You need to PRACTICE swing!  Now the animal dances are another story.  I think these are fun and simple.  Anyone can do the twist, and these dances allow for kids to get as silly or cool as they want.

  • I teach 6th grade social studies topics every other year, and the kids love the time period starting during WWII. They are also very interested in the Civil Rights movement and the 60's. I could see myself using many of the popular music and dances of these time periods to enhance learning. I like the idea of taking a school spirit day (everyone dresses in 60's garb) and using that as an opportunity to play music of the era, on years that I don't teach 6th grade topics (this year, I will be teaching 5th grade topics). This would give me the opportunity to share the music and keep things fresh in my own mind since I have to wait for such a long time to get back to the history of the the 20th Century.
  • Love the Stroll! Another great dance for the students that have more personal space issues! Also to teach R/L to the students, AND GREAT for keeping rhythm!! The students will also really enjoy doing the swing. They really like to do some of the rock and roll songs because they are fast and upbeat, and some of them are familiar with songs because their parents (or now, grandparents) have the music and listen to it.

    The animal dances are again great for the students that want more personal space, as well as allowing for some individuality to shine through, which they love to do. I can see K and primary students really getting into and being silly and having lots of fun with these dances.

    I had already planned to dance every week with my students this year, so now I am excited about all the "new" ones I have learned or had brought back into conscious recall!  Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  • American history at this time is changing by leaps and bounds.  Rock N Roll became huge.  During some of the lyric discussions my table talked about the differences in Rock N Roll music.  The hard beat of The Rolling Stones and the softer feeling from The Beatles are both in the Rock N Roll genre.  This shows how diverse music is becoming in this era.  I find it interesting that the dancing is still couple dancing, but it has moved away from the couples touching in this era.

    "Having learned the basic steps, you now forget them completely."  This line came from the you tube video "teaching" swing dance.  I find this quotation fitting because as we were learning the swing my partner and I were focusing on the steps while the rest of the group had moved on to bigger moves.  When we stopped and watched the group, it appeared that the steps we had just been working on now longer applied.  I did see those steps in the video and how professional dancers can elaborate on the moves.  

  • The Twist and Stroll would be easy to teach and I think the students would enjoy them.  The way Elizabeth rotated through the Mashed Potato, Swim, etc. during one song would give students a chance to lead through the different moves like playing Simon Says, or even just play Simon Says with the different dance moves. 

    The greatest challenge in being able to share swing dancing with my students is my own struggle to get it right.

    I would not share the Jumpin Jack Flash song with my students, but would look for other song examples to demonstrate the driving bass and electric guitar sound of that period.  The problem for me here is that I don't always know the deeper meaning of songs and often take them at face value.  Guess I'll have to research first!

  • Who doesn't love this era?!?! We've got just about everything anyone could want! Sassy twisting, fun pony bopping, potatoe mashing, and the oh so super Swing! One of the great things about this era is that it IS so individual and simple that I can easily teach my children the animal dances and possibly even the stroll.
    I'd have to say that my favorite was the stroll because my frame of mind goes to Grease and I pretend I'm Miss Sandra Dee and good ol' Danny (aka John Travolta) is showing me off to the world (all the while knowing we're way too cool to even be at the dance). :)
  • There are many times in the gym where I can see playing a song and letting the students do the animal and twist dance forms.  I would emphasise that there is no "wrong" way to do these dances.  The moves are a great way to get bodies loose and ready for more.  

    The stroll is a nice way to do a repetative line dance while one pair at a time stroll down the center line.  After mastering the traditional steps down the center, I would like to allow a little (appropriate) freedom to move down the line with their own invented steps.  

    The swing would work well with my upper elementary students.  I think doing this dance later in the school year would be more realistic when students have trust in one another and feel safe to try something new and challenging together.

  •      I find it interesting that parents were still having issues with dancing the swing, but I guess that I can see the correlation between present day feelings of dancing to past views.  How quickly the class wanted to discuss, with emotion, the way high schoolers are dancing.  There are still emotional feelings towards modern dance.  

         I have very fond memories of swing dancing.  My 93 year old grandfather will always swing dance with me whenever we visit.  I truly believe that dancing is what keeps his mind going and his body healthy.  We had a special swing dance at my wedding, which will always be a fond memory.  

         I love how free the steps are for the swing and how easy it is to get back to the main step.  There are so many different steps to throw in-between the main triple step, that it makes every partner a little bit creative and unique.  I would love to have my students up to the ability level of swing dancing, but I definitely know that I couldn't start with this one.


  • This was a lot of fun - especially the swing dancing, although I feel this would be very difficult to teach.  I actually struggled a little following some of the instruction and felt it at times a little inconsistent.  I felt the best way to learn this one was just kind of doing it.  At Eagle River we do a Rock and Roll Hall of project and although I do not focus a lot of time on this it might be nice to examine some of the different styles of dance.  This might actually be fun to have classes do in small groups, each one demonstrating their dance and then teaching the whole class.

    Lyrical analysis of the Rolling Stones was very interesting and also fits in with our Rock and Roll HOF project, this is actually a requirement some teachers include.  I think students always find it interesting to dissect meaning in lyrics especially of songs they consider "old" and find meaning very similar to that in the lyrics of music they listen to today.  

  • Stolling is very fun, easy, mellow, and cool. Kind of a mellow ice breaker since no one holds hands, and it's really just a modified walk. Fun to teach the kids ~ and to show them the video from 1958, so they can see how cool they really are today!
    Loved listening to the counterculture Stones, but I don't think I'll share them with the kids yet.
    Anyone can twist, and there are sure lots of versions of the twist song.
    The swing seemed harder to count, but lots of students enjoy learning this, and it's a fun one to take from elementary to high school and beyond. I think we can do it!

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