International Folk Dance

Social dances from folk traditions around the world provide a unique vehicle for extending learning in social studies. 

How did dancing together help Appalachian communities survive through the winter?  What are the origins of the Hawaiian hula?  What are horses doing in a traditional dance from Russia?  

These and other essential questions spark inquiry as students delve into history, geography, and culture while learning traditional dances.  Cooperative learning is a natural outgrowth of dancing together, and these skills are boosted along with large motor skills, rhythm and balance.

Fun, easy to learn, aerobic dances give students an active cultural arts experience. 

Grades K - 8. 

Applicable standards:

College, Career, and Civic Life C3 Framework for State Social Studies Standards

National Core Arts Standards/Dance

3 kids folk dance
How do you help thirty 4th graders in an urban school learn to cooperatively dance ethnic folk dances? Ms. Freed used a combination of fun activities and emphasized high expectations ... she encouraged pride in individual effort and achievement. She taught fun shared space games and used interesting mixers to pair the students with a variety of partners, while creating silly vocal responses to keep everyone in good humor. She emphasized the importance of students helping each other to learn the steps and routinely had groups observe each other and give critiques. The students performed in their spring program with enthusiasm and the parents were overjoyed. I have since retired from teaching, but would have welcomed the chance to work with Ms. Freed again.
— Naomi Craig, MNPS elementary music teacher (retired)

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