Budding choreographers create their own céili dance at Lookout

This afternoon at Lookout Primary School had its highs and low. The drumming class started off well, and the students seemed to be enjoying the rhythms, and they even started spontaneously singing along while they played! Unfortunately, their behavior got a little out of hand and we had to end the class early. Discipline and respect are an important part of the class, so they’ll have another chance next week to prove that they can focus and follow instructions.

The dancers, however, were wonderful today! When class started, they asked if they could show me a céili dance that they created themselves over the past week. Can you believe it? Just a few weeks, and they’re already choreographers! They took figures that we’ve done in class before and combined them in their own unique way, even adapting the figures for larger numbers of dancers to fit just four people.

This spark of creativity was so thrilling that I was inspired to add on some more difficult movements. We added some complicated arm movements that are common in “2 hand” or “3 hand” Irish dances. We also incorporated the “do-si-do” from American contra dancing or square dancing, and I gave them the option of spinning while do-si-do-ing, so they were introduced to “spotting” to avoid getting dizzy.

One girl was doing a sort of Charleston step during breaks, so we threw that into the mix as well. We’re getting quite eclectic up in Lookout!

At the end of class, I had to take a minute to thank the girls for their attention and creativity. I don’t take it for granted that they have been showing such initiative and interest, and I am truly appreciative. This is very promising for St. Patrick’s Day coming up in a few weeks!

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