Lesson of the Month: July 2019

Lesson of the Month: July 2019

Welcome to RDT’s series of posts for teachers who want to include movement/dance in their classrooms. Feel free to take a look at the previous posts here, under Lesson of the Month section. Our goal is to inspire teachers to use simple dance moves with their students to help them get to know each other as the school year starts. 

We hope to inspire creativity and lead you to take the lesson plans to many levels. We also want to encourage you to share your results with us! Please post comments, videos, new ideas based on the original plan, etc. You can post at the hashtag #RDTlessonplanofthemonth.

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Beginner Foot Warm-Up

By Tyler Orcutt

This exercise is a very simple one meant as a primary warm-up for the feet. It goes as follows:

Stand straight facing front in parallel position.

  • Beginning with the right side, alternate having the working leg press the foot to forced arch, causing that same leg’s knee to bend, while the standing leg remains straight.
    • Each side receives 2 counts at a time, for a total of 16 counts. It will look like this:
      • Right 2 counts, left 2 counts, right 2 counts, left 2 counts, right 2 counts, left 2 counts, right 2 counts, left 2 counts.
  • Follow the same pattern as above, but add plie. This means that both knees are now bending every time, but still only the working leg’s foot is being pressed to forced arch.
    • Each side receives 2 counts at a time, for a total of 16 counts. It will look like this:
      • Right 2 counts, left 2 counts, right 2 counts, left 2 counts, right 2 counts, left two counts, right two counts, left two counts.
  • Follow the same pattern as above, but remove the plie, and add a lift off the floor with the working leg. Now, instead of stopping at forced arch with the working leg’s foot, you will continue pressing through the forces arch all the way into a pointed foot that hovers just off of the floor. The standing leg remains straight.
    • Each side receives 2 counts at a time, for a total of 16 counts. It will look like this:
      • Right 2 counts, left 2 counts, right 2 counts, left 2 counts, right 2 counts, left two counts, right two counts, left two counts.
  • Follow the same pattern as above, but add plie. This means that both knees are now bening every time, but still only the working leg’s foot is being pressed through forced arch all the way to a pointed foot hovering just off of the floor.
    • Each side receives 2 counts at a time, for a total of 16 counts. It will look like this:
      • Right 2 counts, left 2 counts, right 2 counts, left 2 counts, right 2 counts, left two counts, right two counts, left two counts.
  • The pattern changes heres. Plie both knees, with both feet firmly on the ground. Plie a second time with two additions: A curved back forward and a small double bounce. The accent of the bounce is on the down, and the first bounce is one and the same as the first plie. The second bounce is the rebound bounce that brings you back up to standing straight.
    • Each plie receives 4 counts at a time, 2 for bending the knees, going down, and 2 for straightening the knees, coming up, for a total of 16 counts. It will look like this:
      • Plie down 2, come up 2, plie down 2 with curved back forward double bounce come up 2, plie down 2, come up 2, plie down 2 with curved back forward double bounce come up 2
        • Additional Note: When curving the back forward, do not break the curve at the neck. Make sure someone could draw the letter “C” if they were to trace you with a pencil starting at your low back and ending at the top of your head.
  • The pattern changes here. In this order, do each movement individually. Plie the knees, press the feet to forced arched, straighten the knees, lower the heels. Reverse this. Lift the heels, bend the knees, lower the heels, straighten the knees.
    • Each movement receives 2 counts, for a total of 16 counts. It will look like this:
      • Plie 2, forced arch 2, straighten knees 2, lower heels 2– Reverse –Lift heels 2, bend knees 2, lower heels 2, straighten knees 2.
  • The pattern changes here. Beginning with the right side, alternate using the working leg’s foot to force arch while both knees bend and double bounce. The accent of the bounce is on the down, and the first bounce is one and the same with as the plie. The second bounce is the rebound that brings you back up to a full releve, both feet forced arched (heels lifted) with both knees straight.
    • Each side receives 4 counts at a time, bending/double bouncing for 2, rising up for 2, for a total of 16 counts. It will look like this:
      • Plie double bounce right foot forced arched 2, rise up 2, plie double bounce left foot forced arched 2, rise up 2, plie double bounce right foot forced arched 2, rise up 2, plie double bounce left foot forced arched 2, rise up 2
  • The pattern changes and finishes here. One slow grand plie. One slow releve.
    • The grand plie receives 8 counts, 4 to go down and 4 to come up. The releve receives 8 counts, 8 to go up up and 4 to come down, for a total of 16 counts. It will look like this:
      • Grand plie down 4, up 4, releve up 4, down 4.
        • Additional Note: In parallel position, the grand plie acts as a form of squat. If this is too difficult, it can be modified into two normal plies. It will look like this:
          • Plie 2, up 2, plie 2, up 2– Resume with releves as normal.

Switch from a parallel position to a first position with the feet. Repeat the exercise.

This exercise can be used for any age group. It acts as a warm-up and a challenge for younger dancers, e.g. studio level, middle and high school. It acts as an easy, simple warm-up for experienced dancers. This is also a simple enough exercise that it can be used as a base that can then have additional layers added onto it for an increase in complexity. I gave one example with the curved back portion, but additional curves of the back and arm placements can be added in anywhere once you feel your students are ready for it.

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