Cardiovascular warm-ups These warm-ups aim to raise the body temperature in preparation for dance activities. The following suggestions are examples and can be adapted to suit the purpose or thematic content of a lesson. Additional warm-up ideas are incorporated into lesson units. It is best to follow these activities with a focused stretch to regain student concentration. Area walks. This activity is an excellent start to a dance lesson. It provides a safe way of increasing body temperature and loosening large muscle groups. The focus of the walk can be varied each time. Introduce changes in speed, direction and movement quality and add simple arm movements. For example, ask the students to: walk around the space not touching anyone; increase and decrease the speed of the walk; change directions and pathways; gradually increase the walk to a gentle jog using curved pathways; circle around others while jogging, without touching; decrease speed to a walk; finish in a static shape. Concentration circle. Students make a large circle in the centre of the room. Begin by counting out loud from 1 to 8. Students then move clockwise, stepping forward on each count. Ask the students to continue to count softly as they walk and listen to further instructions. Vary the moving and counting pattern by adding the following instructions, one at a time: • Whistle on count 5 • Hop on count 2 • Arms in the air on count 4 • Clap hands on count 1 • Tap knees on count 3 • Jump on count 7 • Turn on count 8 (to walk the next 8 counts in an anti-clockwise direction). Note: While this is a physical warm-up, it is also a focusing exercise. Students will find it very difficult to concentrate on moving, counting, and replacing counts with other sounds and actions. Begin a new sequence when students can no longer maintain concentration. 0 to 5. Students find their own space. Teacher explains that 0= freeze, 1 = walk, as slowly as possible, 2= a slow walk, 3= medium pace walk, 4= jog, 5= run as fast as possible. Teacher calls out numbers in any order, while students respond by moving at various speeds. Around relay. Divide the class into groups of 3–5. On a signal, the first person in each group runs around a marker, and returns to collect the second person. This continues until all members of the group are running around the marker in single file. Other locomotor movement can be added, e.g. skips, jumps, leaps. Circle run. Students stand in a circle of 8–10 metres in diameter. Each student is given a number (or colour, animal name, object). Call out a particular number and all students with that number run clockwise round the outside of the circle and back to their places. Jumping, skipping, hopping and directional changes can be used. Chain tag. Designate a square boundary. Elect one student to be “in”. This student must “tag” others, who then link up by holding hands to become part of a chain. The chain continues to move together, tagging others. Only the ends of the chain can tag. When the tag has eight members, it can split in half to create two chains of four. The game ends when there is only one student left “untagged”. Pirates. Designate the four walls of the space as PORT, STARBOARD, FORE and AFT. Demonstrate the positions that the student can adopt (see below). Instruct students to listen carefully and follow instructions promptly. The leader calls out the orders and students respond as quickly and correctly as they can. Row the boat: Students sit with knees bent, performing a rowing action. Haul the anchor: Students lunge forward and pull back. Walk the plank: Students pretend to walk along a narrow plank. Scrub the decks: Students fall to the floor and make a scrubbing action. Man overboard: Students mime looking into the distance through binoculars. Climb the rigging: Students mime climbing a rope ladder. Hit the deck: Students lie flat on the floor. Aye, aye captain: Students stand in a straight line and salute. Port: All run to the left side of the room. Starboard: All run to the right side of the room. Bow: All run to the front of the room Stern: All run to the back of the room. Extension: This game can be adapted to fit various themes.