'Shallal' meaning a "…band of musicians with kettles, pans and tea trays" (A.K.H Jenkin 'Cornwall and its People' 1945:242) is a pack created specifically for 'Early Years' teaching, those children aged between 3 and 7 (Key Stage 1), giving an ideal introduction to the ideas behind traditional Cornish dance.
In addition to this instruction booklet the pack also contains a video and CD. The music is fun and rhythmic aimed specially for this age group of children, and the dances have been hand picked and altered slightly making them free from unnecessary details and hassle. This pack allows for a truly enjoyable first experience of Cornish dance. A must have, particularly for primary school teachers (To order the pack please email us).
This book has been put together to allow Key Stage One pupils to enjoy early experience and success with Cornish dance. The dances have been adapted to remove more complex moves and steps but to retain the important elements and feel of the dance. Where difficult hand holds, complex reversing or 'weapons' are involved these have also been removed, and in several of the dances more time has been made to reduce panic! In all cases the dances can be built on to end up with the dances as originally collected (nothing need be unlearned). The original dances can be found in the Corollyn pack along with the background information on research and their historical context.
The range of dances in the pack crosses all varieties of Cornish dance: Scoot dances, Social dance and Furry dances. The music has been chosen to particularly appeal to young dancers and to give strong help with the rhythm.
The National Curriculum for dance in this group states that they should be taught to reposing to the music, to travel, be still and understand shape, turning and gesture. They must also be introduced to changes in rhythm, speed, directions, patter and to perform dances including those from different times and cultures. The chosen dances will help with all of these (though no all in one dance!).
All the above sounds very worthy, however it is very important that both you and your pupils have fun. You are shaping the children's attitude to dance for life so success and praise are important (no dance is wrong, just different!). Work at the children's speed allowing time to talk about how the dance went and how it could be better the next time.
Before you begin it is very important to warm up all muscle group and joints. Even if you have never tried teaching dance before have a go, this age group were born to dance and need very little encouragement! Perfection every time is not necessary.
Click on the dance below to view dance notations and images of dancers:
Cornish Meeting Dance
Truro Broom Dance
Cock in Britches