The Halloween Shim Sham



Young dancers love to sing and are quite tuned in the way words sounds. In school, they are just beginning to learn about syllables and experimenting with both spelling and word development. Use that to your advantage with this rhythmic way to teach the classic tap step- the Shim Sham!


The simple shim sham is such an important step for young dancer's vocabulary, yet, it poses some difficulty to 5-7-year-olds. What really gets them is the pattern! The pattern goes like this:


Shuffle change

Shuffle change

Shuffle ball change

Shuffle change


It's that third part- the shuffle ball change- that tends to throw the young dancer off. Typically, they haven't mastered the concept that shuffle change and shuffle ball change are two different steps (because their names sound the same!).


This exercise was created exactly to eliminate that issue and help your dancers learn the pattern in a fun and easy way. By using words with the same syllables and rhythmic quality, I find that my students master the concept much quicker!


So here is how it works:


Instead of using the words shuffle change and shuffle ball change, I change the words to "Halloween" (shuffle change) and "Trick-or-Treating" (shuffle ball change). So as a class we say:


Halloween

Halloween

Trick-or-Treating

Halloween


It's as simple as that! Not only do they get the rhythmic benefits, but it also eliminates the word confusion. Talk about a win-win! And its such fun to send the group off to practice their "Halloween" and "Trick-or-Treat" steps.


As a bonus, you can use this trick with any 3 and 4 syllable words. For example, when it comes to Thanksgiving try:


Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Turkey Dinner

Pumpkin Pie


Or for another fun non-holiday option:


Ice Cream Cone

Ice Cream Cone

Brownie Sundae

Ice Cream Cone


Give it a try with your Mini Dancers. I bet they will love it and you will see the benefit quickly!

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