Dance was our next wall to knock down with the children, and what better way to knock it down than with the aggressive and intimidating HAKA dance.
As spring started children at Believe and Achieve schools began learning the art of dance and its many wonderful forms.
I picked the loudest, most hard hitting and scary dance. Sound stupid? Of course but kids love to be loud so at least let them blend it with dance.
Unlike gymnastics I wanted to show the children visually what this dance looked like, we used YouTube to search the New Zealand rugby team and what the HAKA war dance stood for.
Before you knew it all the kids in school were “HAAAAA”ing, “HOOOO”ing and “AHHHH”ing across school .All they needed were the rugby kits and you would think the All Blacks were in town for the World Cup!
Starting the HAKA with years 3 and 4 was completely different to years 5 and 6. They started by first watching me perform the sequence, explaining the beat and aggressive mannerism in the dance.
Years 5&6 however, I gave them a lot more breathing space. Printing off 30 copies of the HAKA dance and left them to self-learn and teach each other.
Years 3&4 very quickly learnt the steps by mirroring their partners, and myself, but couldn’t understand the emotion. Believe me with our big smiles we could barely intimidate a mouse let alone a stadium full of opponents.
Emotions were easy for the older years, they naturally oozed attitude so looking angry for the HAKA really didn’t take much trying for them. The beat caused problems for them though as they hadn’t yet watched or listened to me explaining it.
Once they knew the HAKA inside-out, the older years asked if they could learn a dance through a song, so I taught the CHA CHA slide, something simple and easy to pick up.
By the end all KS2 kids managed to produce their own dance, beat and showcase their many different moves to class.
In KS1 we began with basics and a little bit of fun, I didn’t want to lose concentration early so I let them play, they teamed up into groups of 3or 4 and began running, galloping, skipping, crawling and roaring around like their favorite animal.
We began dance with the CHA CHA SLIDE, nice simple instructions to listen to and easy steps to learn quickly, a fun way to enable young kids to find rhythm.
Year 2 were developed enough to take their own HAKA worksheets and work in small groups, so week by week we dissected the dance and slowly began putting it together. Reception and Year 1 however was one big game of ‘Simon Says’ except less speech and more dance.
Lesson after lesson the lower years started dancing more and more, becoming comfortable with the HAKA’s new challenge, as they had already mastered the simplicity of ‘cha cha sliding.
By the final weeks, all KS1 really began to take to shape. Reception, Years 1-2 had all learnt the steps for the HAKA. Now I knew they were comfortable with dancing I allowed them free time to produce a simple dance of 3-4 moves, letting them showcase to the class all they had learnt.
Dance for me was an interesting subject, you just have to make a fool look cool and that’s my advice. No matter how silly you may look or feel if you put 100% in the kids will too, if you go red and embarrassed they won’t feel comfortable to dance either.