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Shenanigans – Bush Dances for Kids

Australian bush dancing was pretty big in the 1980s and it’s now making something of a comeback. But for children, bush dancing has always been a very fun, active and inclusive form of dance. The music is provided by bush bands, like Shenanigans, who have been performing and producing music for children and adults for over 30 years! Shenanigans are one of Australia’s best-known and regarded educational troupes who have conducted bush dance and world dance and multicultural workshops at hundreds of schools over the years.

Shenanigans’ Bush Dances of New Holland is a terrific resource for primary aged children onwards and includes dances from a variety of styles and cultures, including standard Australian bush dances. Other cultural influences on the collection are ‘Louisiana Saturday Night’, the Serbian ‘Scissor Dance’ and the old English ‘Sellenger’s Round’.

Their best-selling Folk Dances of Terra Australia is easily adaptable for children and had 19 dance songs like ‘Walking to the Left’, ‘Kolo’, ‘Polonaise’, and ‘Cherkassia’. A dance booklet is included and there’s also It also includes three ‘backing tracks’, which enable participants to improvise their own sections.

The group’s original music release Dance Music for Children is still a favourite with schools and features folk dances from Poland, Ukraine, Israel and Denmark.

Phoenix Special is a collection that focuses on the use of folk dance and music in an education setting. Band member Gary King travelled to The USA in 1999 and taught dances at the American Orff Schulwerk Association (AOSA) Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. This album is a collection of these dances. AOSA is a professional organisation of educators dedicated to the creative music and movement approach developed by Carl Orff and Gunild Keetman. The Orff Schulwerk method is based on things children like to do like sing, chant rhymes, clap and dance. It is done in a non-competitive environment where the pure joy of making music with others is celebrated. The tracks are of diverse cultural origins including Macedonian, German, Yiddish, Romanian, French, Hungarian, Indonesian and Greek. The material can be used from the early childhood to the middle years of schooling and includes a dance booklet.

Another favourite with education specialists is Animal Magic: Teacher’s Edition. Animal Magic has attracted enthusiastic reviews from conferences and workshops that writers Gary King and Tony Leonard regularly give to teachers on the best ways to use this resource. The fifteen action based songs for children on animal themes include ‘Bellbird’, ‘Spider on the Wall’, ‘Fred the Flea’, ‘Eucalypso’, ‘At the Farm Zoo Party’ and a new look at ‘Highway Number One’ and ‘Koori Dreamtime’. It also features body percussion warm up and games to help children get in the mood for dancing and singing. The Collection has Two CDs and a 20-page A4 format book.

Children’s Dances of Terra del Zur contains 21 tracks of the best of Shenanigans dance music from 1980 to 1990 for preschool and lower primary school. Includes ‘Highway Number One’ and ‘Koori Dreamtime’ as well as favourite dances like Hokey Pokey and Chicken Dance.

Shenanigans’ music is a must-have resource for early years and school classrooms.

 

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