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Name of Activity:
Stepping to Your Own Rhythm (March 2009)
Purpose of Activity:Using only their body parts to create “music,” students will perform stepping rhythmic combinations.
Suggested Grade Level:5-8
Beginning dance formation:The class needs to be organized in pairs with the student on the right being #1 and the student on the left being #2.
Description of Idea
The combinations should be taught as four (4) counts. In the student pairs, #1 will perform the combination first and #2 will repeat the combination trying to match the rhythm and sound.
For the last four (4) counts, partners will walk and change places. The partners can begin the dance again on the opposite sides, doing the reverse part.
The combinations can be performed in a variety of ways. Each 4-count can be done by #1 and then repeated by #2. After all counts are performed by each partner, the entire combination can be done together. The combinations can be also used as an “add on” challenge. Both partners can do the first two combinations separately and then do the two combinations together. Both partners can then add the third combination and then repeat all 12 counts together. This can continue until all combinations have been added.
Instructors can use their imaginations to make the stepping combinations truly a rhythmic and memory challenge.
Challenge each pair of students to be able to repeat the rhythmic patterns with no mistakes. Older students can be asked to create their rhythmic patterns. They may even want to form groups and create floor patterns while making the basic rhythm of the combinations.
Anticipatory Set: Stepping is a type of percussive dance that has its origins in the culture of historically black fraternities and sororities. The whole body becomes an instrument as music is created by hand claps, stomps and other actions. In many communities other groups have organized competitive step groups. Numerous sites on the internet give information on the history and techniques of stepping. A few sites are listed below: