Thursday, February 24, 2011

Music for kids to dance to

I've been helping the teacher who organises the school dance groups with ideas for music the kids can dance to. We have over a hundred children in the dance groups this year - pretty amazing!

She agrees that we won't introduce them to songs that warrant a warning sticker. That we need different types of music for the older and younger kids, for the boys and the girls, ie, music that appeals to them, but we want to avoid giving stereotyped gender messages. And we agree that we won't be using music that contains lyrics we could change because if the children think the dance is about one thing and the audience thinks it is about another, then that isn't being respectful to the children (and frankly, I'd go so far to say, it's exploitation).

The teacher takes her cues from School Spectacular. She's had some great ideas that have worked really well - a very moving Anzac dance, a Japanese dance, a spooky dance, an air hostess dance, a Michael Jackson medley, a circus dance (without Brittany) - and likes the idea of having a theme so she can work with different groups on different songs, then put them together. I looked up some sites where dance teachers share their ideas - very disappointing. Lots of Barbie Girl, Hannah Montanna, and Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend.

I’m sharing some great dance ideas I’ve seen - because it’s all very well to say kids shouldn’t be dancing to this or that because the lyrical content is too adult, and that just dancing to Disney songs - the songs from the animated movies and the songs from current tween stars - is lazy, but then what? I love a good concept dance. I want children to know that music and dance (and art and literature) can be about anything. Any concept or idea or situation. I am the apeman. I am the walrus.

Anzac dance to I was Only 19, Oxygene
Japanese dance in kimonos
Flight attendant dance to Come Fly with Me
circus dance
spooky dance to Horror Movie, Ghostbuster, The Addams Family
garden dance to U2’s It‘s a Beautiful Day
Wild Thing & Born to be Wild - for Where The Wild Things Are dance

Wizard of Oz Dance to Ease on Down the Road
School bullying dance to Caught in the Crowd - Kati Miller -Heidke
Istanbul not Constantinople - They Might be Giants
Aboriginal dance to Treaty
Theme to Six Feet under
Me and My Shadow
Theme from Friends

So, here is my list of ideas - a work in progress. I'm going for songs for primary school age kids, so the stage after dancing to Hi-5 and Justine Clark and Ralph's World. We have six year old boys who love Abba, and eleven year old boys who love Gorillaz. With Banjo bringing in songs each week to dance to for Year 1 news (mostly Cyndi Lauper), I reckon I have few more years of this ahead of me.

Working on the list has reminded me of what hip hop/rap was when it began. Songs like Fire by Sly and Robbie. Television (The Drug of the Nation) by Disposable Heroes of Hiphopracy. Grand Master Flash singing The Message, We Got Style and (not for kids) White Lines. They made protest songs. What happened?!?!

Feel free to add - it's a fun game to play!

Ideas for dance groups

For boys

Real Wild Child - Iggy Pop
War, What is it Good for - Edwin Starr
Computer Games - Mi-Sex
Evolution of dance
Should I Stay or Should I Go - The Clash
Eagle Rock - Daddy Cool
Crocodile Rock - Elton John
Jump - Van Halen
Don’t Stop me Now - Queen
Radio Gaga - Queen
Shout - Johnny O’Keefe
Twist n Shout - Beatles
Helter Skelter - Beatles
Band on the Run - Wings
Gimme Shelter - Rolling Stones
Break on Through - The Doors
The Jam - Going Underground
Bad Moon Rising - Credence Clearwater Revival
Muse - Knights of Cydonia (instrumental)
Stand - REM
Once in a Lifetime - Talking Heads
Sledgehammer - Peter Gabriel
The Final Countdown - Europe
Underneath the Radar - Underworld
One Step Beyond - Madness
King of the Road
Little Green Bag

Possibly songs by Foo Fighters, The Who, The Beach Boys, Cream. Guns n Roses, Led Zep, Bon Jovi

Beginning of Hip Hop - protest songs

Television (the drug of the nation) - Disposable Heroes of Hiphopcracy
We Got Style - Grandmaster Flash
The Message - Grandmaster Flash
Fire - Sly and Robbie

Robot Boys (on tv talent show) popping mix - see their style - music without lyrics

Higher Ground - Stevie Wonder/ Red Hot Chilli Peppers
Are you Gonna Go My Way - Lenny Kravitz
White Room - Cream
Kashmir - Led Zep
Stairway - Led Zep
Children of the Revolution - T Rex
The Porpoise Song - The Monkees
Tin Soldier - Small Faces
Sky Pilot - Eric Burden and the Animals
Itchycoo Park - Small Faces
Tomorrow Never Knows/Strawberry Fields Forever/ Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds/I am the Walrus - Beatles
Somebody to Love - Jefferson Airplane
Crosstown Traffic - Jimi Hendrix
Magic Carpet Ride - Steppenwolf
Hole in My Shoe - Traffic
McCarthur Park - Richard Harris/Donna Summer

Drama to act out

Tenterfield Saddler - Peter Allen
Caught in the Crowd - Kate Miller - Heidke

Living for the City - Stevie Wonder
Bjork - It’s Oh So Quiet
Sufjan Stevens - Chicago
I like to move it - Madagascar Soundtrack
Your mama don’t dance and your daddy don’t rock n roll - Poison
Higher Ground - Stevie Wonder
Conga - Miami Sound Machine
Walk Like an Egyptian - The Bangles
Popcorn - Jean Michel Jarre
Wake Me Up Before You Go Go - Wham
Spinning Wheel - Earth, Wind and Fire
Sat in Your Lap - Kate Bush
Gypsy Kings

Pablo Nutini - Pencil Full of Lead
- New Shoes

Sergio Mendes - Magdalenha

Sergio Mendes - What is This

Bustop - the Hollies
Umbrella - Rihanna (or cover - by The Baseballs, Mandy Moore etc)
The Bustop
Singing in the Rain
Pennies from Heaven
Laughter in the Rain

Pure Imagination - From Willy Wonka
Imagine - John Lennon
I got to use my imagination - Gladys Knight & The Pips
Just my Imagination - The Temptations

Spy songs

Peter Gunn Theme
James Bond themes
Every Breath you Take
One Way or Another - Blondie

It Might as Well be Spring
Autumn Leaves
Winter Wonderland

Radio songs
Radio Gaga - Queen
Turn up the Radio
Mexican Radio

Ann Margaret dancing - 60s

The Baseballs - I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’
The Baseballs - Lets get Loud

Swing Dancing

Waterloo sunset
Red Sails in the Sunset

When You’re a Jet - West Side Story
The Addams Family
Mary Poppins
Annie Get your Gun
Peter Pan
The Sound of Music
42 Street
The Music Man
Into the Woods
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Camp Rock II - Can’t Back Down

Moulin Rouge
Happy Feet

Coffee in a Cardboard Cup

The Beat Goes on
Beat It
Beat’s so Lonely
You Can’t Stop the Beat
‘Stop scratching and give me a beat ‘ - Nina Cherry
Don’t Stop Movin’ - S Club 7
Dr Beat - Miami Sound Machine

Rhythm is a dancer
Rhythm of the Night
Get Rhythm (when you get the blues) - Johnny Cash
Slave to the Rhythm - Grace Jones
Rhythm Nation - Janet Jackson
Hit me with your rhythm stick (?) - Ian Dury
I Got Rhythm (from An American in Paris)
Rhythm of my Heart - Rod Stewart
The Rhythm of Life (from Sweet Charity)

Music - Madonna
You Can’t stop the Music - Village People
Please don’t stop the Music - Rihanna
Rock and Roll Music - Beatles
The Sound of Music
When the Music’s Over - Doors
Dance to the Music - Sly and the Family Stone
We Belong to the Music - Miley Cyrus

Lolly shop
I Want Candy - Bow Wow Wow
Lollipop - Chordettes
Sugar Sugar - The Archies

Cake Walk like on Soul Train, to a Sly and the Family Stone song

If you click these links you'll see lots of songs by topic (eg, colour, day of the week, transport, time, animals, food) - a great resource!

You can check out which songs are appropriate for what ages, and why, here. I really recommend it. This is a great resource. You can also search by genre.

More advice here

And information on young people and the media here.

I've already written about cds for kids - have a look here

And I’ve written a list of questions for dance schools here.


Tyson said...

Hm, that's a good list you've created. It's great to have all kinds of songs to enjoy for dancing, right? It's a lot of fun to listen to music. And when you feel like moving, you can. Dancing is still pretty great, even without the music!

-Tyson Sieger

Unknown said...

I can only imagine how much time it took to compile this amazing list! So many awesome ideas here. This will keep kids busy for a while! Thanks!
kids songs