Issue 114: Dancing to Christmas Carols

Dancing is always a good way of having a good time doing a pulse-based activity with younger children.

Here’s a simple dance for Good King Wenceslas which should work with keystage 1. If you don’t want to find yourself singing the verses over and over, track down a recording!

Pair the children off, and line them up so that they are standing facing their partner in two long rows, about four paces apart. Let’s call them Row A and Row B.

Line 1 (Good King Wenceslas looked out, on the feast of Steph-en), Row A take three slow steps forward, (stepping on words in bold), clap on word “OUT“, three steps back to place, and clap on final syllable “EN

Line 2 (When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and ev-en), Row B take three slow steps forward, (stepping on words in bold), clap on syllable “BOUT“, three steps back to place, and clap on final syllable “EN

Line 3 and 4 (Brightly shone the moon that night, though the frost was cru-el, When a poor man came in sight, gath‘ring winter fu-u-el) Bottom couple make an arch, top couple lead their rows round the back of everyone, at a brisk but controlled tempo, down to the bottom, though the arch and back to their place. Bottom couple travel up through the middle to become top couple ready for the next verse.

This kind of sequence will work with many carols; passers-by walking along the pavement outside our house are often surprised by the sight of me working out some kind of dance for a carol at this time of year!

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