Multicultural Folk Dance for Early Elementary Learners

August 8, 2019 / By: Catherine C. Ratelle

Music and movement have shared a deep and integral connection throughout history. It is rare to find a culture that possesses a folk music tradition that does not also have an accompanying folk dance or movement tradition. The movements and formations that compose traditional folk dance give a unique insight into the experiences, values, and social structure the cultures from which they come. The inclusion of dance and creative movement in the elementary music classroom supports the physical, social, and musical growth of students. The experience of folk dance also supports the development of a greater understanding and sensitivity towards diverse cultures and musical traditions. While the music and dance materials from diverse cultural traditions have become more accessible, the folk dance repertoire available to elementary music educators has remained rather culturally narrow. The dance materials available for early elementary learners are particularly limited. The purpose of this project and the accompanying folk dance collection is to contribute and bring greater cultural diversity to the folk dance materials available to music educators for early elementary learners.