Square dancing can provide enjoyment and rhythmic movement to children in a dance group or physical education class, but teaching children basic square dance steps requires a bit of patience and knowledge. Some children do not want to hold hands with members of the opposite sex and may see square dancing as old-fashioned. However, students can be promenading and swinging to the beat with a smile after learning a few basic moves.
Promenade means "to walk," and that's just what the dancers will do with this move. Children will respond positively to learning a basic promenade, which requires partners to clasp like hands -- right hand holding right hand, for instance -- and then turn their bodies to the right in order to walk. The caller may say "Promenade home," which means that the couple moves around the entire square, or "Promenade 1/2," which means that the couple moves halfway around the square.
Pronounced "do-si-do," this move requires little coordination and does not require touching. Dancers cross their arms in front and walk toward their partner, then pass them, circle around with their backs to them without turning around, and return to their spot. Callers can call out specific instructions such as "dosado left" or "dosado right," which means that the dancers pass their partner on the left or right side.
This move can easily get out of control unless rules are laid down ahead of time. Partners will link arms and literally walk in a circle. At least one child in a group is likely to swing their partner quicker than the music, which can result in extreme dizziness or one of the children falling down. Make sure to reiterate that swinging in a circle moves to the beat of the music and in conjunction with the other couples.
Bow and Curtsy
Learning how to bow or perform a proper curtsy is important to square dancing. Make sure to stress that boys bow and girls curtsy, or that one partner must perform each respective task if same-sex couples are dancing together. Every song begins and ends with a "bow to your partner" or "bow to your corner" call. Bowing to a partner means to bow or curtsy to a dancer's specific partner, and bowing to a corner means to bow or curtsy to the opposite sex partner in the nearest couple.
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