I teach two ages of creative movement – 4’s & 5’s and an older group of pre-modern students (ages 8-11). Both loved the new activity!
The 4’s & 5’s
First we had a quick discussion about pumpkins:
- What shape and color are they?
- Where do they come from?
- How they grow?
- Can we eat them?
- What’s inside a pumpkin?
We planted ourselves in the room and grew very, very slowly. My assistants pretended to be farmers and people going pumpkin-picking and they inspected each pumpkin.
Our pumpkins rolled around the room for a bit and then we started over. This time, the pumpkins were painted with happy, silly or scary faces. They had fun making faces while they were pumpkins.
Next we changed roles and went pumpkin picking. My studio is in a suburban area surrounded by farms, so many of the students were familiar with the idea of pumpkin picking. Our movements:
- Tip toe through the rows
- Jumping over pumpkins
- We picked out our favorite pumpkins and brought them to the middle of the room to make a pumpkin pile
- We repeated to find the heaviest, the tiniest, the fattest and the roundest pumpkins and carried, lifted, rolled, and pushed them into our pile
- Crows that flew, perched and caw’ed
- Grass and corn that stood tall and waved in the wind
- Creepy crawly bugs and worms
- Scarecrows that stood very still and had stiff arms and legs
- A hayride that we all got on together and rode around the room to finish our exercise!
Ages 8-11: Beginning Modern / Creative Movement
I used these exercises as a warm-up. It was a nice change for them and they seemed to enjoy it:
Surprisingly enough, we started the same way, but with less instruction.
- Slow growing from a seed to long twisty and stretch vines that covered the floor (focus on moving slowly and stretching our bodies)
- Growing big leaves and even a few flowers (continue stretching)
- Growing a pumpkin (making a round shape)
- Rolling around as a pumpkin1
- Being carved to have a funny, silly, happy or scary face (some used just their faces, others used their whole body)
- Being left out on the porch too long and rotting!
1 We have been learning rolls where we hold our ankles in the butterfly position (my modern instructor at college called these “UFO’s”… not sure of the ‘correct term’).
I tried to incorporate our modern dance vocabulary into our movements:
1) Prancing: We didn’t want to get our shoes muddy, so we pranced through the rows (and hopped over pumpkins in our path).
2) Triplets: We put boots on and squished the mud with our up-up-squish (down).
We repeated this a few times with various sizes, various ways to carry our pumpkins and then we found the Biggest Pumpkin Ever and tried to move it but it wouldn’t budge.
We decided to carve the Biggest Pumpkin Ever right there! We cut the top off and climbed inside (it truly was a big pumpkin!). Other movement ideas:
- Scooping out the seeds and “gross stuff”, as my students put it
- We had a little food fight by throwing the seed chunks as each other
- We scraped around the inside, which was great spiraling movement
- Climbing back out, we carved a large face in our pumpkin
- Climbing back in, we pushed hard on the face parts to “pop” them out
- Lighting a candle or light inside the pumpkin