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  1. #1
    Junior Member Megarah's Avatar
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    Default Help on a lesson for 6 to 12 year old girls and boys

    Hello everybody,

    Since I have to fil in for my teacher on friday, I had the oportunity to have a very first gig ( about an hour to fill in) ...but I'm a bit worried about how to work everything out.
    It's a group of boys (!) and girls (age between 6 and 12 years). And I have to give some background about dancing and its origin, but ...since there are boys, the wanted me to work with my sword ..The were going to make a sword in cardboard so they all could join in..
    Anybody any suggestions ? I really could use some help..

    Thank you very much,

    Meg

  2. #2
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    Hi Meg

    Are you performing for them, teaching them, or both?

    I recently did a 50 min workshop for a primary school for both girls and boys towards the lower end of the range you will be working with. I taught some very young kids too and they all just joined in - but with the 6-8 group the boys really baulked at doing dance as they are VERY sensitive at that age about not being seen to do "girly" things (and vice versa for girls). I suggest you make it clear right at the very start that both boys and girls dance like this in the Middle East!

    I started by giving a very short background of the dance. Kids have short attention spans so I made this a bit more interactive (they loved repeating back the Arabic for dance and telling me what they knew about Egypt etc). We then moved onto learning some basics steps, so obviously we had a simple warm up/warm down. Younger children can get a bit bored by warming up/down so I made it seem like a game. We also talked briefly about how dance was good exercise and why exercise was important.

    When covering the basic moves I found that, where adults like things broken down clearly and then time to practice, the children learned better by copying me and didn't like to spend too long on each move, preferring just to give everything a go. Lots of praise helped, as did metaphors (swaying like a tree in the wind, making your arms snaky etc) and they liked level changes - doing a move high then low. To encourage the boys I also did some saidi moves - they seemed happier with the hopping and jumping steps. I steered clear of movements that could be deemed too "sexy".

    Music-wise I used the album that Nancy Ajram did specially for kids (Shakhbat Shakabeet), though this would be a bit young for older kids, plus some fun shaabi music like Hakim. Make sure the lyrics are not rude etc though as you may have some kids who can speak or understand Arabic!

    At the end, they then followed me in some simple dances and after they warmed down I did a very short fun drum solo for them - they don't have the longest attention spans at that age and will fiddle and lose interest if you do too much of the same thing for too long.

    I've taught older children in the past too, girls only though - I suspect that the boys will be even harder to convince at that age... There is quite a big difference between the older and younger children so you may find it better to split them into two groups if you can. By 12 the girls (and no doubt boys) can already be quite body-shy and sensitive so you will need to be very encouraging. They generally prefer to have things broken down a bit more and can assimilate combinations and choreography so you could always have them learn a simple dance. Music like "Kiss Kiss" (Simarik) by Tarkan and Shakira goes down well with this age group.

    Hmm, this seems to have turned into rather a long post, but hopefully it will be helpful! Good luck!

  3. #3
    Junior Member Megarah's Avatar
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    Hello helena,

    I would be performing a small piece and teaching them some basic movements. Saidly enough I can't break down the group, so I will have to make the best of it for all of the kids together.

    thank you so much for the great ideas, I will defenitly use them !

    Just a small question : where did you find Nancy Ajrams CD "Shakhbat Shakabeet", since I'm not able to find it here in Belgium on I tunes...?

    I'm just hoping everything will go ok with the "sword" option, think I will keep that for the end of the lesson

    Thanks for take so much effort, I will keep you informed !

    Meg

  4. #4
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    Hi Meg, I got the Nancy Ajram CD from my friend and teacher who is Moroccan and picks up a lot of Arabic CDs when she is visiting her family. So not much help there, sorry! Perhaps try the fun shaabi instead like Hakim and Saad?

    Let me know how it goes!

  5. #5
    Junior Member Megarah's Avatar
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    I have a lot of Hakim and other Nancy Ajram songs, so I hope that would be ok...
    thanks again !

    Meg

  6. #6
    Junior Member Megarah's Avatar
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    Default tough crowd ! ;-)

    Hello,

    Have made it through the full lesson... Wow, they were about 35 kids on a friday afternoon, last thing to do before the themeweek was over, and about 12 boys...

    I guess i needn't say it wasn't very easy to keep their attention going..and, since they al made a sword ( my teacher adverticed I did sworddancing) needless to say that they were fiddling with it all the time !

    I guess I would have prefered 2 groups , young and a bit older for an half hour insted of the entire group for 1 hour..

    Oh well, It worked out ok , thank you so much for the great tips, and I did get a hand on Nancys music and that worked great !

    Meg

  7. #7
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    Wow, I wouldn't want to deal with that many kids on a Friday!! Glad to hear it went ok!

    I got asked back by the primary school I did the workshop for before so have just come back from teaching a group of 7-8 years olds and have another session tomorrow! Mind you, I suspect the main reason they invited me back is because the other teachers wanted a go too

  8. #8
    Junior Member Megarah's Avatar
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    Great to hear you've got another workshop They must have loved it very much ...and the teachers too !!

    Must say that the two teachers who were accompagnying the kids on friday where the most interested too...

    Good luck for tomorrow !

    Meg

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