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  • So glad the Jefferson & Liberty quadrille was enjoyed by so many!!  I hope this (and our other dances) will increase your comfort level with teaching movement and encourage your students to give it a try as well.

    Great ideas about a Colonial Day! Using contra-dances as a way to build classroom community!Reinforcing counting patterns via a quadrille.

    Thanks, everyone!

  • The Quadrille would be quick, fun dance to add to the end of any colonial lesson.  The dance is made up of very basic steps, easy to learn, little touching between the partners and group, lively music, and repetition.  When I sub music at the primary grades, they sure enjoy similar dances; like Jump-in-Joe and Shoo Fly.  I think they are on the "Chimes of Dynkirk" CD too.  It would be interesting to research others dances performed during these colonial times such as in Santa Fa with the Spanish settlements, the Russian settlers on the Alutian Islands, what James Cook saw on the Hawaiian Islands, and even the dances performed at Washington's inaguaration.  I thought the time line was a great idea too.  It is a nice visual for students to have as a quick reference in their books.  (Plus it is tucks in so nicely.)

  • Great to get an overview of the world and U.S. history from this era and see where things overlap and how things progressed and developed.  I certainly see myself using this with my choirs.  I would love to have the choirs work on a war song from the Revolution.  Students would explore the era through pictures, writings and listening.  The class could discuss daily life as well as musical styles, uses, view artwork, etc.  After getting a flavor of the era and setting the scene they would learn the Quadrille.  This would provide a well-rounded understanding of the era and application of the song and I believe it would result in a deeper understanding and richer performance.  What a great way to build community within the classroom as well!

  • The strong "8"s in the music that we danced to allow for other learners to help each other.  Need to have developed this inner consept of main beat body response. 

    The quaddrill/small dance formation can be visualized in the small rooms of NE (heated by fireplaces).

    I will need to list some children plays and find their period of time for matching dances form.

    Marking floor w/shoepolish

  • Movement and dance were/are a great uniter. It gave people the vehicle (and perhaps more importantly, permission) to explore new acquaintances/relationships and establish a new societal identity. This type of music (reels and jigs - “Willow Tree” ) tends to bond people together in a way that is more relaxed and not quite so formal. Get away from those Brit Thumb’s!
    Interesting combination of British influence mixed in with some very “unconventional” movement, most definitely American.
    I wonder, what side had the stronger “Euro” influence in terms of instrumentation. The Appalachian side or the Cajun/Zydeco. Which is truly more uniquely American.

  •      I have been involved in "Dancing Bears" where we did a variety of different kinds of dances from waltzes, squares, contras, to swing, so learning about the background of these dances is rather facinating.  Also, I visited Charleston, South Carolina last month so have just learned some amazing history and saw different archecture that evolved through the different periods.  One of the 1st style house is the "Single House" which was basically a house that was one room wide had usually had 2 rooms.  After seeing these Single Houses it broadens my  understanding of how/why the dances changed/evolved " quadro dances" to accomodate the dancing area. 

    Also, I learned that Charleston was mostly populated by English Noblemen who basically lived the high live and played harl day and night.  The slaves whose first stop was Charleston, did all the work.  So to hear that Charleston had the first singing school broadens my understanding of place/time and social status.

  • A lively and fun contrast to the more stodgy (but still enjoyable) waltz. I would be interested in pointing out to students how much of an event these dances would be in colonial towns in which they might take place. In contrast to today's use of recorded music, all music then would be live performance, by known musicians from one's community. I can imagine the young being taken to these dances by their parents to socialize young men and women to each other in a way fairly more supervised than in today's teen dance venues. Tame interactions by today's standards, but humans are ever easily stimulated within the limits of what they're accustomed to.

  • One of my kiddos did an analysis of Yankee Doodle for her challenge project this year.  Elizabeth mentioned that it was a very popular song, and I love the fact that it was adopted by the colonials even though it was written originally to make fun of them.

    Yay for Contra Dance!  That felt way safer, and we were able to clap for and support each other.  Body contact was limited to hands and the steps were relatively simply and you had to manage mostly just yourself, not yourself and your partner.  Too bad it came after the waltz chronologically, because affectively I was more ready for something like this than the waltz this morning. 

    It seems that there are a variety of levels of experience amongst us, but I think that to some extent we are all out of our element.  It would not be dissimilar in the classroom.  Some kiddos might feel like they “know” what they’re doing and try to direct or correct other students.  As a dance student myself, I know that I don’t always master both the movement and the timing and the style simultaneously.  I need time to work through steps on my own body before I can fully commit to a movement.  I think that it’s one thing to assure students that it’s a safe environment and that we’re not out to prove ourselves great dancers, but that level of commitment to a safe and nurturing environment has to be carried out throughout the entire activity.  As a teacher using dance in the classroom, I would constantly observe and monitor students’ interactions and accept only positive comments.  I think that debriefing a dance activity would also be worthwhile, and allow students a chance to vent any frustrations and problem solve the things that are hanging them up.  We need to remember that the goal is not to prove your prowess as a dancer, but to have similar cultural experiences to the people we are learning about in history and to connect kinesthetically do a time period. 

  • This brings back memories of a trip I made to Colonial Williamsburg in 1983. I purchased a wooden fife, a replica of a Revolutionary War-era instrument. Along with it I bought three books of fife and drum music. I still have those books and play the songs once and a while. It is interesting to note the origins of the songs. Quite a few are of European origin. Many have military titles. When I taught band I would sometimes bring my fife along so students could compare the keyless wooden tube with the modern, keyed flute. A simple way to start a little history discussion that they could take back to their classroom/social studies teacher.

    As was mentioned in class today, British songs would be altered with "American" words. Such is the case with our "first national anthem", Chester. It also is true of our official national anthem. The Star-Spangled Banner was a British tune, used as a drinking song!

    If we share our knowledge and artifacts in the classroom, whether it be a story about how the national anthem came about or a classroom demonstration of a fife, we help personalize history for our students.

  • During the colonial and revolutionary times music played a large part in passing current history on to the popular masses. I would like to use the qudrill, "Chester," written by Billings and referred to as the "1st National Anthem," early on in the development of my lessons I teach on the history of colonialism.  When I finish the Revolutionary War period I hold a Colonial Day for my classroom where we all dress in the period costumes of the day. I have the music teacher teach the kids to dance the reel of the time period. I prep the kids with the manners and customs of presenting themselves for social occasions before we head off to the music room. The kids have loved this portion of the day for years. 

      The history of "Yankee Doodle"  has always been a favorite of mine but now I will look for Ballads which teach the history of the battle and their generals.

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