Kindergarteners perform creative movement piece 

  • Anna Hendricks, a dance educator from Great Falls Creative Movement, led kindergarten students at Fisher Hill School in Orange in a creative movement performance recently. Mary Williams

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 1/24/2019 9:00:01 PM

ORANGE — “One-two-three-CLAP,” was the positive response of 71 kindergarteners at the Fisher Hill School during their creative movement performance recently. Each class got to go on stage and perform for the 50 family members and staff who attended. Thanks to a grant from the Mass Cultural Council and funds from the Orange Elementary Parent Teacher Organization, Anna Hendricks, a dance educator from Great Falls Creative Movement, returned to Fisher Hill School for her fourth year.

Hendricks spent 45 minutes a day in each of the three kindergarten classrooms for a week. With music, students learned to focus on separate body parts, what they could do, and the space around them.

Hendricks, with 18 years of dance experience, seemed able to get the students’ energy bottled up and capped by getting them in “freeze” positions or to let their energy “drive” them into creative movement. Sometimes the movement was done staying in place, other times they moved among each other.

The program began with deep breathing exercises getting the children to focus on how they were feeling. Feelings ranged from the gleeful standing and stretching of the very happy to a small stomp of the foot for those not so happy.

Hendricks says she started the week with the brain dance mimicking a person’s development beginning at birth. Moving on to mindfulness, the children are made aware of their body’s own space, as well as the group’s, sometimes closing their eyes and just visualizing. The tempo of the various types of music affected the speed of the children’s movements: fast, slow, stop. Boys and girls alike demonstrated their creative movements as well as their skills such as galloping, cart wheels, balancing on a block using one foot, and sliding on the floor.  

The week-long program demonstrated benefits of brain-compatible dance education. Physical benefits of creative movements include development of strong, healthy bodies and brains. Starting with warm-ups and stretching, the child stays actively moving helping with body awareness, control, balance and coordination. Energy is released through positive physical activity. Students learn self-discipline and how to cooperate with others through partner and group work. Besides the school residencies program, classes are held at the Great Falls Creative Movement Studio in Turners Falls for all ages.

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