Dance Palette

palette_layoutYou know what a palette is to a visual artist, right? Well this is what a palette for a circle dance session can look like. All the possibilities are there on the palette (flip chart paper) and the dance facilitator (or “weaver”) picks the ones that work as the session goes on.

Some will be ones the facilitator might teach; some are ones participants have offered to teach and some are requests from participants that they’d like someone else to teach.

Dance Palette BEFORE

The Cobourg group uses a “dance palette” approach–all possible dances are put on a flip chart – way more than could possibly be danced!

Dance Palette AFTER

Then the ones that are danced are underlined and voted on. Someone stands near the flip chart at the break and end so that people less familiar with the dances can say, “I loved the one where we walked backwards” (or whatever) and they can learn what the name is. I’d love to try this at one of our circles. Maybe when Brigitte is here in Vancouver.

Recently I tried this when I was responsible for the first hour at one of our collaborative Tuesday night sessions. I had a playlist already to go, in the order I thought I’d do if we were mainly regulars. Then I had some extras at the bottom in case for whatever reason I felt some of those dances wouldn’t work. I lined up a helper to start the music so I could be free to pay attention to the group. As it happens we had three people brand new to circle dancing, and I changed things quite a lot to start with very simple dances so people could gain confidence as we went along and dropped some of the more difficult ones. I felt sure I’d like this approach, as it fits with my experience as a facilitator in other settings.

Some dances are “left on the palette” for another time. In other words they weren’t “used” this time around but might be in future.

In some circles at the break and end of the session, participants are invited to vote on which dances they’d like to do again and those “winners” are repeated in the following session.


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