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[HANASHIR:9596] Re: Apples and Honey (and old dances)

Linda and others,

Yes, indeed, the dance you are talking about is "Yesh Lanu Tayish" -- it was 
the very first Israeli dance I ever learned, at the JCC day camp in St. 
Louis, probably when I was about 6 or 7 years old (that would be in the early 
'80s, so don't feel like this dance dates you THAT much!!!)  I remember the 
woman who used to play the song on the accordion while we danced outside.  It 
was so fun!!!

As far as teaching this dance, I will tell you from experience that it is 
best to save it for kindergarten and older.  In the summer of 2000, I worked 
at a day camp for K-6, and all the kids were able to get it (it took a little 
longer for the K-1 kids, but they managed!)  Now, I work mainly as a 
cantorial soloist, but in addition to music, I also do Israeli dancing with 
the pre-school at our temple.  I dance with the 3-6-year-olds (in separate 
age groups, not all together), and I tried teaching this dance to the 4s, but 
unless you have about 3 other teachers to help out (one to lead each line of 
kids around to the "bridge" and one at the "bridge" to make sure the kids 
find their partners and go under, and you stand waiting at the other end for 
them to line back up and start over) I would save it for next year!  Changing 
directions at a moment's notice is pretty hard for kids this young, and this 
dance has a lot of quick changes.  There are other dances that I have been 
able to adapt to work very well with pre-K through Kindergarten (so far, I 
have adapted versions of Tzadik Katamar, Ma Navu, Niggun Atik, and Debka 
Kafrit) -- yes, they are slightly different from the originals, but I tried 
my best not to lose the essence of the original dances, while still making 
them simple enough for the little ones to grasp and feel good about their 
dancing abilities (and leave them wanting more!!!  ...and it works, they 
really love coming to dance every week!).  

When you look at the bigger picture, children learning how to dance in groups 
are learning much more than dancing -- they are learning how to focus, follow 
directions, appreciate music in new and different ways, look around them, 
move to a particular tempo or rhythm, work as a team, and even how to teach! 
(sometimes I pretend like I forgot the next step when we're reviewing a 
dance, and sure enough, one of the kids always knows it and proudly 
demonstrates for everyone!)  By the way, if you are at your wit's end with a 
group and you feel like you've lost their attention, "freeze dance" is almost 
always a sure way to get them back into the fun (play music and keep pausing 
it and teach the kids that they have to freeze when the music stops -- you 
can call kids out if they don't freeze, but with the younger ones I usually 
don't because they sometimes get upset.)  I know "freeze dance" isn't really 
Israeli dancing, but I always use Israeli music for it, so at least the kids 
hear the music  of the Israeli culture, which they are rarely exposed to 
anywhere else.  I also try to teach them some Israeli dance steps that they 
can do during freeze dance (cherkaziya is one of their favorites!) -- 
otherwise they often end up running all over the room instead of dancing...

As you can probably tell, I am pretty excited about dancing with kids 
(they're not the only ones who can have fun dancing!!!!)  If you would like 
more information about the dances I've adapted or some of the strategies I 
have learned through experience (I've only been teaching dance for about a 
year and a half), I'd be happy to talk or e-mail with you about it!  :)

Angela Gold
Cantorial Soloist (and dance teacher!)
Temple Sinai, Denver, Colorado
MoVFTYite (at) aol(dot)com

------------------------ hanashir (at) shamash(dot)org -----------------------+

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