Dance in the Preschool is Just a Game, Flight, Counting, and Applause …

Nelli Arghutyan

In the middle of January 2020, the preschool teachers’ dance ensemble was created. We also decided on the name of our dance group “Nrane”. I think it is a very beautiful name. There is tenderness and affectation in its pronunciation. It is an old Armenian name of an Armenian woman.

We opened a section of the same name in the blog of 2-4 year olds, where all the seminars and videos are published.

Before learning each dance, choreographer Laert Grigoryan tells us the details about the dance: when they danced that dance, what they wanted to pass on to one another through that dance. There are dances, which are dialogues signaling the beginning of something bold. The pride and power of the Armenians are always in the first place in the national dances; at the same time, the submissiveness of a person. Energy and mood are transferred through dance. The triumph of the soul joins the game of the body. Dance, music, game have a language, colour and mood which is expressed while dancing. Dance "talks" to us, presents its story to us.

The dance ensemble Nrane was joined by the preschool teachers working with 5-year-old children: Anahit Grigoryan, Lilya Zakharyan and Margarit Tamazyan. Later the dance seminar-training turned into a club, which was joined by the parent community. The spirit of dance entered the family from the EduComplex, and our joint work began. Before each concert, the parent community participates in the rehearsals with the Nrane dance ensemble, lives in a crazy and infectious environment of the Mkhitar Sebastatsi, and participates in the Friday Concerts. Families are gradually involved in the seminars, and the families, in their turn, involve their friends, and in this way dance spontaneously enters everyone’s home. Thanks to the openness, transparency, and free environment of the educational complex, the program spreads freely and finds its addressee. There aren’t any covert or secret trainings, secret, secret exercises. There are open, outdoor trainings with no boundaries. Our education is boundless. We often give performances at the Friday Concerts.  

Every Monday, from 13:30 to 14:30, there are open classes of the dance club, which can be joined by anyone who is ready to carry, spread the national spirit and love.

Armenian rustic dance is confident, free, naive, tender, gentle, noble, energetic, serious, modest and decent. It has no movements that arouse passion; it expresses emotions not through sinful, obsessive, fierce and attractive movements, but through dance songs. "The civilization of a nation is connected with the development of its dance movements." Komitas

Every member of the Nrane  dance ensemble already knows the movements of his/her body, knows where he/she is flexible, where – not, how to adapt the movements to the age of the children to join the music for the dance songs to be born. For example, here we resemble the movement of a butter churn.

Dance in the preschool is a game, flight, counting, applause, not the equal, one-line paw-heel instructions, and the smooth walk. The preschoolers will do all this by listening to the sounds of the song, as they will feel, as their bodies dictate.

Before launching the project, we did the morning warm-ups accompanied by foreign music and karaoke. During one training someone changed the music. It turned out that exercising to the accompaniment of national music, dhol (a double-sided barrel drum) sound is very inspiring and pleasant. We chose this option for morning training. The national music encourages the children more, the movements become more sporty. They bounce, hit the ground with their feet, make different sounds and rejoice. At first we gave directions, then we set them free.

We start dancing the dances mastered during the seminars, trying to involve the parents in it. During the morning ritual (or other rituals) we try to transfer our dancing skills to the parents, and the preschoolers imitate these movements in the way they like. In this way they feel the national music and dances. Dances have traveled from town to town, from street to street, from yard to yard, and as a result, have been sorted, branched out, shaped in many ways. In the same way, the spontaneous movements of 2-5 year old preschoolers can transmit very pleasant movements to music educators.  It is important that the preschool teacher should dance a lot during the training seminars. After the seminars she will definitely take the dance to her preschoolers’ group room and present it to them. It is very good that the kindergarten is connected with the Choreographer Laert Grigoryan and his dance group. It gives a good opportunity for the children to watch their performances, even to participate in them, to get closer to dancers, to develop joint projects, to enter preschools in small groups with the "Learner-Teacher" project.

If the preschoolers have already learned the dance song, it is better for them to sing while dancing. We can also choose a drummer out of the preschoolers. The drummer will give the rhythm to the dance, will announce the start and the end of the dance song. If the dance is easy, and the children dance on their own, then the drummer’s job is easy too. He merely catches a rhythm that matches the dance. It is desirable that they have their own dance clothes, costumes which are simple and comfortable. It is desirable to organize the dance outdoors in nature, in the parks. In case of organizing in the group room, sports platforms and carpets are very convenient. Mirrors can be fixed in the group room for the preschoolers to watch their own movements, and the area must always be ventilated and disinfected.

Dancing is beautiful and natural when children of different ages dance. When a group of 5-year-olds master the dance, they can be joined by the little ones, so that they can learn to dance faster and with love by looking at their seniors. Free, spontaneous dances are very important. When the child is given complete freedom, he starts dancing, spinning and jumping as he likes, and his friends join him one by one, and their dance turns into a game.  We can encourage them to imagine themselves to be an animal and dance trying to imitate the movements of that animal.

Pleasant dance movements are created during the grape ritual, when they start squeezing the grapes barefoot, crushing the grapes with rhythmic movements in the pool.

When a preschooler wants to dance, he/she should not be forbidden, no matter what the time and circumstances are, let him/her dance and create.

We have created musical sections in our preschools. They are called Music Walls. It is mobile. Various instruments are fixed on the wall. Some of the instruments are attached, some are placed in the parts accessible to the children, some are scattered in different parts of the group room. Some are hung from the ceiling with elastic thread… The instruments are of different sizes and types: lip harmonicas, reed pipes, drums, a piano, and lots of homemade musical instruments.  

These instruments can be made in small sizes: small pianos, xylophones, harps, whistles, various children's instruments-toys, which can be used in parallel with national instruments.

In the preschools of the "Mkhitar Sebastatsi" EduComplex, we try to make toys, musical instruments, rhythm sticks ourselves, and we call them "self-made" tools.

When we get acquainted with a new musical instrument, we try to make it ourselves, even if it does not sound like the real instrument, but the pleasure of the production process, playing with that self-made instrument later exceeds all our expectations. You have to see their joy when creating a musical instrument on their own, and the reproduction of sound from that "created" instrument gives them great pleasure. It is essential that we should give the child freedom, not to mold him, not to dictate how to play with a self-created instrument, let them invent, create, dream and think.

The child lives a happy life and learns at the same time. It is an endless chain of happy discoveries. The preschool teacher, the parent are not the people who teach something, but the people who inspire the child to discover and live his/her unique joy of acquiring knowledge.

The children should be free to use and take care of these self-made tools. The preschool teachers should not complain about the noise that children make. Musical activities can also be performed in the open air, the sounds will be joined by the chirping of birds, the rustling of trees, the soft whistling of the wind. It is necessary to provide music every day, every hour.

The child is constantly in motion during all the games. Music + dance + game + gymnastics + freedom and imagination = natural course of child’s life - this is our preschool educational formula.

The mastery of song and music depends on how the daily life is organized, because song and dance should not be an end in themselves, but help, complement, beautify, lighten the children’s day. The song and music should be used everywhere: when cleaning the group room, when changing the preschoolers’ clothes, when washing, when swimming, when riding a bicycle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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