Debra Bono


Cardio Dance Lesson Plan Ideas

Guilane Nachez

Guilane Nachez

Debra Bono teaches a dance routine which exudes cultural material. This cardio workout can be a stimulous resource for related activities in the classroom.

African Grace A West African Dance For Cardio Fitness” is a DVD starring Debra Bono. She is a certified aerobics instructor who studied at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Centre in New York. The movements of this dance are taken from the historic Guinea West African dance tradition. Like many modern classroom dance routines, it is a mirroring of a natural phenomenon. The dance steps are designed to “mirror the grace, beauty and flight of a large bird.” [DVD cover. Bayview Films February 28, 2005

About The Video

The choreography is by Juanita Hameed African Drum and Dance company, Inc. Bono is a clear and empathetic teacher. Her confidence exudes as she beckons her audience to follow instructions as she slowly builds toward the fun and challenging dance routine. There is so much visual and auditory cultural material contained in the 62min DVD that teachers can write a whole term unit of work that has West African patterning as the central theme.

Learning Dance From DVD

  • Human beings have mirror neurons so that they can learn to dance. Submerge your class in the atmosphere and flow of the music. Dancing and drumming will allow students to absorb the style, grace and flow of the dance routine before they need be expected to think about copying.
  • Perhaps some will begin to sway with the drumming as you ask them to focus on drawing patterns while they listen, watch and learn. They are sure to become interested in learning the dance as you focus on the clothing, the culture and other aspects of the country that the original music came from.
  • Use Google Earth to locate the source of all this pleasure. Create a themed unit of work around the history, culture and tradition while slowly introducing the idea of dancing to the routine. Dance with them for about 5 mins each day. Or use dance as a Heart/Art Starter at the beginning of each session. As some become more enthusiastic lengthen the time spent dancing. Arrange the class so that proximal development is encouraged.
  • DVD’s can be stopped and rewound – this means you can be selective and gradual as you teach the workout to them. Select a patch or small routine and practice this as many times as it takes to build confidence and a feeling of success. As you work with the principles of goal setting show the students how to build on mastery. All the while remind them that as a class you are working towards an exhibition of West African art, music and dancing

Culminating Celebration

When the time comes to stage the dance routine have the big bird you are emulating painted in mural as backdrop to the stage. Have African patterned paintings around the edges of the hall to set the scene. Serve African foods and even invite some people from Africa to come and tell stories.

Fitness is a vital aspect of both Primary and Secondary Schooling today. Use the Cardio Dances so readily available on DVD to set the scene for a happy healthy class that has a clear sense of direction and a goal to work towards.

If you have questions or would like to share your experiences – please post them to the discusssion boards.  Copyright Jo Murphy

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