Family Dance Party: Freeze Dances

(See below for a link to the next daily activity, Music About Elephants.)

Across the planet, people everywhere are stopping their normal routines. This led me to think about how we use pauses in music. Here is an interesting article about how the human brain reacts to pauses in music.

Here are some musical pieces for freeze dancing at home.

Kangaroos from Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns (yes, it’s that short!)

Pretend that you are a Kangaroo. When the music is smooth (legato), slide your feet side-to-side. When the music is choppy (staccato), hop. When the music stops, freeze.


String Quartet Op. 33 no. 2, “Joke”, 4th Movement by Joseph Haydn

Keep a beat to this piece in as many ways as you can. Tap your head, snap your fingers, pat your shoulders. Wait a bit for when the music stops. Freeze. Repeat whenever the music stops. What is the “joke” in this music? Why is it funny that the pauses happen mostly at the end?


Symphony No. 9, 2nd Movement (Molto Vivace) by Ludwig Van Beethoven

(This example is 13 minutes long, so younger children may lose interest before it’s finished. It’s fine to play just a portion, but the music stays exciting through to the end!)

The dance area is your “prairie”, where the horses run. Choose a corner in the room to be your stream, where the horses can stop to take a cool drink of water. Other corners in the room can be forests (to slowly explore) and hills (to move up and down as the music gets louder our softer).

Pretend that you are a wild horse galloping through nature. When do you see forests, hills, prairies, and rivers? When do you stop to take a cool drink of water from a nearby stream?

Dance to the music, but STOP when you hear a pause in the music. There are many pauses to listen for!


Freeze Dances for Younger Children, Americana

You Walk and You Stop, Ella Jenkins 

All Around the Kitchen, Pete Seeger


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