Most of us enjoy watching the hilariously energetic rhythms of a baby exercising in a Jolly Jumper. Or just turn up the music and every young child will start to boogie! (The Crazy Frog CDs seem to get every child activated.)
Babies are born with rhythm; youngsters need to develop motor skills and coordination through active movement and dance. Many little ones start out with Ring Around the Rosie and love the falling-down part! Most children enjoy The Hokey Pokey and If You’re Happy and You Know It. More recently, the Chicken Dance has gained popularity with all ages of dancers, even at weddings and social gatherings. But are there other dances kids can be encouraged to dance at home?
Anyone who was a teen during the late ’50s and the ’60s can probably demonstrate some of the following: The Stroll, The Twist, The Peppermint Twist (a faster version!), the Swim, the Monkey, The Pony, The Mashed Potatoes, The Hitch Hike, The Bristol Stomp and The Bunny Hop.
If you need a refresher, go online to SixtiesCity. If nothing else, it will be good for a laugh and an opportunity to share the fact that Gran and Granddad know a thing or two about how to move!
Once the Beatles arrived on the scene, those dance trends faded until the Macarena, Ricky Martin, the Salsa and today’s hip-hop dances gained popularity. Line dances of the ’80s and ’90s have enjoyed ongoing popularity. Most teenage girls know the steps to Cotton-Eyed Joe. (You can see lots of variations on YouTube).
Every culture has dance: individual, partner, circle and group dances. There is physical dancing like the Russian Cossacks and symbolic/spiritual native dances. Dance expresses emotion and tells a story like ballet; dance can actively celebrate… like the Caribana festival in Toronto.
There is not enough dance in our world today. Our children are losing out on the culture and benefits of dance.
So grab a partner…or not. Turn up the music and dance The Hokey Pokey, The Monkey or The Mashed Potatoes. Share those good old days-and pass on those good old dance steps to the next generation!