Lesson: Dancing Big Feelings
Authors: Adapted by Gary Reed from a lesson by Debbie Gilbert
Grade Level: Any
Students use body shape and movement to identify and express what they are feeling and find ways to respond to the feelings of others. They explore how to respectfully use movement to understand and express emotions by creating a mirror exploration of emotions, a big feelings management dance, and a conversation in movement.
Below is a simplified outline you can follow from home.
1. Consider/discuss how to move while ensuring physical and emotional safety.
2. Warm up with a Brain Dance to get your body and mind ready and working together!
3. Consider/discuss: Why might we use movement to show big feelings? What are some big feelings?
4. Try using movement to communicate emotions with “Move and Freeze.” Play the audio clip below: when you hear the drum, you move with a big feeling. When it stops, you freeze in a shape that expresses that big feeling: angry, excited, frustrated, sad, etc. When you are frozen, notice how your muscles feel and what kind of shape your body is making.
5. Work with a partner in person (parent, sibling, friend) or via video to practice “mirroring.” Face each other and choose a leader. The leader should move smoothly and slowly for the partner to follow as if looking in a mirror. Choose an emotion and use your body and your face to express that emotion. Start with your hands, then add other body parts, until you are using your whole body. Switch leaders.
6. Dance it, Freeze, Say it, Release it. Think of a big emotion, and move your body to express it. Stop and freeze in a shape that expresses your emotion. Say the emotion out loud. Then shake it off with your body. Try several emotions. For example: Surprised, Joyful, Disappointed. Watch the video below to dance with Gary!
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