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Dance Class: Bringing the “A” in “STEAM” To Gym Class

Students at Brooklyn Center Elementary get to move and shake a little more during their school day. First grade students are spending time in gym class this quarter learning about movement and how to express themselves through the art of dance.


Led by Anat Shinar, a Cowels Center Residency Artist from the Cowles Center, the first grade dance program has been enthusiastically received by students.  Through a variety of interactive lessons, students explore dance vocabulary and how to enhance their creativity through body movement. 


Brooklyn Center Community Schools is a STEAM school! Here are some examples of the exciting ways the “A” in “STEAM” is happening in our gym classes.


  • Name the Game and Freeze the Shape - This activity mixes dance and play. Students circle up, share their names, and freeze in a dance move. When the student freezes, the rest of the class freezes in the dance move and says their name. 


  • Exploring Dance Styles -  Students learn that creative movement is the type of dance we do, meaning we make our own movements. They also learn different styles of body movement and stretching.



  • Movement and Storytelling - Students act out stories with dance. Anat’s story about two mice at the zoo is a hit! The photo below shows how the students moved like bunnies hopping around to find their friends.

  • Freeze Dance Game - This activity is sure to get students moving and laughing! Students dance in their spots, and when the music stops, they freeze. If they move while the music is off, they are out.

  • Pass “The Flow” -  Music plays loudly across the gym as students stand in a circle and dance in place. When they get "the flow", they make unique dance moves and pass the flow to the person next to them. 


The first grade students are having a great time learning the art of dance and movement in gym class. Thank you to Anat for teaching us new ways to express our artistic selves through dance!




Interested in bringing dance into your home?

There are many ways to incorporate dance into your daily life and home activities. Here are some ways that you can dance with your child at home:


  1. Name the Game and Freeze the Shape: At the dinner table, ask your child to show you a dance move that represents their name. Once they do a dance move for their name, share one for your name. Go around the table and have everyone reenact each person’s dance moves.

  2. Exploring Dance Styles: Does your child have a lot of energy before bed? Take 10 minutes to explore new dance styles together before bedtime. Search for videos on YouTube or make up dance moves together!

  3. Freeze Dance Game: Play a song on a phone, computer, or radio. Dance like crazy with your child and then pause the music. When the music pauses, freeze in your dance move and see who can hold it the longest without moving or falling over. Repeat these steps for a whole song.

  4. Pass “The Flow”: Gather the people in your household and make a circle in your living room. Decide what you want your “flow” to be. Passing the flow could be shown by giving a high five to the person next to you, gesturing with both hands in their direction, or anything in between. Turn on the radio or music from your phone or computer. Begin the game by making unique dance moves and after a few seconds, “pass the flow” to the next person.