Music for Class: Creative Grooves

Seattle’s Anne Green Gilbert is a woman who wears many hats. As artistic director of Creative Dance Center, Kaleidoscope Dance Company and Summer Dance Institutes, she teaches students and runs a studio business, while managing to break new ground in the dance community with well-received books like Brain-Compatible Dance Education (National Dance Association, 2005). She’s a nationally revered advocate for creativity in the classroom—she believes the best way to learn is by playing—so it’s no surprise that her musical interests for her students are multifaceted. “I enjoy using a wide variety of music to inspire my students to move in novel and inventive ways,” she says. “Also, using a new piece of music often inspires me to create engaging and supportive combinations and choreography.” Green Gilbert let DT in on a few of her favorites for teaching students to move creatively. DT

Artist: Eric Chappelle
Album: Music for Creative Dance: Contrast and Continuum, Volumes 1–4
“Eric Chappelle’s original instrumental compositions are written especially for creative and modern dance classes. The incredible variety of meters, styles and lengths of pieces will inspire and support you and your students, young and old. Each CD’s booklet contains movement ideas for each song.”

Artist: Hap Palmer
Album: Rhythms on Parade
“The short, lively songs on this CD are appropriate for ages 5 and under. Although I prefer instrumental music for creative dance classes, I often include one of these pieces for a quick, engaging dance to start class. The clear beats in the music are also excellent for developing young dancers’ rhythmic skills.”

Artists: Gary King and Christoph Maubach, arrangers
Album: The Best of Shenanigans’ Dance Music 1980–1990: Children’s Dances of Terra Del Zur
“My students love music from different cultures. Many pieces on this CD have a clear ABAB form that is useful in exploring contrasting dance concepts, practicing skills or creating simple routines.”


Artists: Greg and Steve
Album: Kids in Motion
“Although this album has an ’80s feel to it, the CD contains some popular, high-energy tunes. The songs all contain words, but I often provide additional ideas and cues to inspire more creative movement.”

Artist: Baka Beyond
Album: Spirit of the Forest
“The mixture of Western and African rhythms on this CD inspires my students to move outside of their usual patterns. Some tracks have a strong rhythmic beat and others are more flowing. I’ve used the music for improvisations, combinations across-the-floor or choreography.”

Artist: Eric Chappelle
Album: BrainDance Music
“I use this CD to accompany the complete brain/body warm-up exercise called the BrainDance. Tracks include sections that use nursery rhymes, are fully narrated, have simple cues or are purely instrumental.”

photo by Stewart Tilger

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