Chorography seems like the domain of expert dancer but as the African saying goes, “If you can talk you can sing and if you can walk you can dance!” In the same vein, if you can dance, you can choreograph your own dance. And, better yet, a group of people can make up their own dance together and dance it on the spot!
To do a group dance, here is how it is done. Have 3-6 people get in a circle. The first one makes up any movement s/he wants. It could be, for example, to jump up and down or wave the arms or shake the booty. Everyone immediately copies that movement. Let’s say, they chose to wave their arms above their head shaking them back and forth and everyone does the same thing with their arms.
Then the next person does another movement. Again, there is no right and wrong here, any movement will do. The group then does the first movement followed by the second.
For example, arms above head shaking back and forth followed by hips swaying side to side.
Then, the third person adds a third movement and the group puts all three together in the same order: arms above head shaking back and forth followed by hips swaying side to side four times, followed by foot stomping four times.
Continue this activity until everyone has a turn to add to the dance.
IT IS IMPORTANT THAT EVERYONE PRACTICE THE WHOLE SET FROM BEGINNING TO END EACH TIME A NEW MOVEMENT IS INTRODUCED.
If this is done, it is easier for everyone to remember the series. The child who may have difficulty with remembering can easily copy what the others are doing.
Dancing naturally elicits sounds, so feel free to add “do-wahs” or musical tunes to the dance. For example, the shaking of the arms can be accompanied by the sound “Boop boop be doop”. The hip sway can have the sounds “La la de da”. Foot stomping can be “One-two-three four”. You get the idea.
The beauty of this game is that everyone can do it. Even a child with special needs has a movement and you can help the child who is unsure of what’s going on by suggesting a movement you know they know such as clap your hands and encourage them to copy the other movements even if you need to stand behind the person and help move them at first until they get the idea. Imitating others movements is an important step in learning and doing it in dance is a delightful way to learn this lesson!
To learn more about Barbara’s never ending games, check out her latest best selling book Early Intervention Games at any bookstore or to read more about her 9 other books go to www.gameslady.com and read the descriptions.
Barbara Sher M.A.,O.T.R, an occupational therapist and author of nine books on childrens games. Titles include EARLY INTERVENTION GAMES SPIRIT GAMES and EXTRAORDINARY PLAY WITH ORDINARY THINGS. Send request for workshops to firstname.lastname@example.org or www.gameslady.com
This post originally appeared on our November/December 2011 Magazine