Dalcroze Eurythmics, also known as the Dalcroze Method or simply Eurythmics, was developed by Swiss musician and educator Émile Jacques-Dalcroze. Check out how it can be useful to you, as a dance/music teacher!
It’s right in the name - eurhythmics is a great way to teach rhythm. Activities involve students having to listen to music and respond - like changing the direction of their walk at a specific cue or jumping on a certain beat. There are numerous activities that one can turn to. Studies have shown that children who were taught using the Dalcroze method tested better than students who had free-play. While Eurhythmics is primarily taught to music students, it can also be used in dance and even in theatre!
A huge variety of music is used in teaching eurhythmics. In addition, they learn subdivisions of beats, which can build up their knowledge of musical structure. .It teaches them to predict phrase lengths in music. Students are also trained to “hear” musical notations.
The Dalcroze method encourages students to improvise using an intuitive knowledge of rhythm. In fact, “Improvisation is thought to bring together all of the elements of a child’s understanding and experience of music. Improvisation is especially important for children, as it is meant to be closer to the nature of childhood play.” While this allows children to interact spontaneously with music, it also helps in dance by helping remove inhibitions surrounding movement, especially free and unchoreographed movement. For those used to structure and taught movements, it can often be daunting to try movements freely.
Listening to the music to watch out for a specific beat/cues, or for changes involves active listening, which can be a very useful skill in performance. It can also make sure that students are ready to tackle unexpected changes while moving or singing.
Students work with props such as a ball and pass them around or move with them, which in younger children, can help explore rhythm naturally and also help develop motor skills.
If you don’t know where to start looking up more about this, you need not go any further than the YouTube channel of the Dalcroze Society of America and from there, there are hundreds of channels to explore. Or, you could get started with these easy and fun Dalcroze-Inspired activities!