Keeping the Virginia Real

by Kate

Children playing "Duck Duck Goose", ...

There are days at work I call “classified’s days”:  ones where you go home and look in the classified’s for a new job.  Then there are days like today, when all the work and stress seems worthwhile.

As a camp counselor in my twenties, I noted how the simplest of games- Duck Duck Goose- continued to enthrall the campers.  When technological games that I don’t even know the names of absorb the attention of the average kid, its good to see them quietly read a book or play outside.  Those simple pleasures really get to our souls and don’t seem to ever become outdated.

In a scene of the book my students are reading, the characters dance to the music of “Sir Roger de Coverley.”  As most of my best lesson ideas occur pretty much out of nowhere, I decided yesterday we would learn to dance the Virginia Reel.

Now, when I was in junior high, I had a chorus teacher who taught us many of these old dances.  I remembered it vaguely, but YouTube to the rescue showed me a clip of the dance from the Jane Austen Society.

After watching the clip several times, myself, I caught on.  This morning, I showed it to my students and picked ten of them to be the first group.  After a few false starts, everyone caught on as they danced to the music of the video.

When your students are asking you, can we go again?  Saying: “We should do this every Friday,” you know you’ve got a hit on your hands.  The dancing days for these kids are not over.  They have plans to form a league!

But, what I enjoyed the most was, having gotten them started, I was able to sit back a bit and let them just go for it.  The dance calls for a group of six people standing across from one another.  It requires them to bow to each other, swing around first by one hand and then the other, then both, to do-si-do, sashay from one end of the column to the other, and finally form a bridge for the others to go underneath.

These long, forgotten traditions are both surprisingly and unsurprisingly the ones that bring the most joy.  Skipping around the room and getting their heartrates up, combined with innocent touching, is just the sort of thing that is appropriate for thirteen-year-olds.

It was just a reminder to me to always start simple.  There is so much joy that can be felt through so little.  The Victorians knew it; why don’t we?

17 Comments to “Keeping the Virginia Real”

  1. Maybe they were just happy to get up and do something. Its madness to expect kids who have so much energy to sit in a desk for 8 hours.

    Hey, how much play time do kids get these days? I had a recess in the morning, lunchtime, in the afternoon, and a gym class. I heard they have done away with all of that.

    The mystique of sex has disappeared. What a loss that is. Nothing new to discover, nothing unexplored. Everything abailable with the click of a mouse.

    • There definitely used to be more play and recess in my district than there is now. I think cuts into that time as well as electives are pretty common these days. This is mostly driven by a need to do well on the state tests for funding.

      It is alarming to think what kids could be seeing online. On the other hand, there are some regulations regarding sexting about what constitutes child abuse that are pretty stringent. Moderation instead of all these extremes would be nice.

  2. This is the kind of culture that good teachers celebrate. Good old Square Dances and Reels have a place (as an inoculation) in an American culture that is rapidly degenerating into multi-cult celebrations of Jay-Z & Beyonce and likely new federal Holidays honoring mexican illegal immigrants.

    I suppose Maobama will want to buy Hilary votes and save money at the same time by furloughing workers on new paid holidays for Jose Marti and Pancho Villa – or The Zetas.

    Until then, keep up the good work Kate.

    • Well, wouldn’t you know it. Not long after I posted this, it turned into a classified’s day. lol Doing parent/teacher conferences the past couple of days, I’ve been impressed by how many sets of parents have come in together. If there’s one thing I would ever envy anybody for, its having a real partner in raising a child. You know, my most important job: second to teaching OPC (other people’s children) and the ocassional blog post. Anyway, thanks for the vote of confidence :)

  3. If I had kids i’d want them to learn stuff like this instead of the GARBAGE WE were. I’d like a teacher like kate as well.

  4. There is ongoing discussion in certain conservative and paleocon circles on the mindset Whites should now adopt in light of recent events.

    Larry Auster over at View From the Right says: “…it’s too late in America for us to be Solzhenitsyn-type dissidents.”

    Perhaps.

    But it is *not* too late for us to be Breivik-style dissidents, which is the point I would like to make.

    I shall endeavour to expand on this, schedules permitting.

    • ‘But it is *not* too late for us to be Breivik-style dissidents, which is the point I would like to make.

      I shall endeavour to expand on this, schedules permitting.’

      Sincerely hope you don’t upset your close horse chums with that one.

      [nsod, mate...nsod]

    • Auster. May the gods help us if if our fate depends on “conservatives.” A more unsuccessful, tedious group cannot be found.

      I trust any inked up, bald headed skin more than a “respectable” conservative in his smoking jacket. According to Auster, there is nothing more to do than to write more articles and wring our hands.

    • Laguna Beach Fogey wrote:
      There is ongoing discussion in certain conservative and paleocon circles on the mindset Whites should now adopt in light of recent events.

      Hindsight, is 20/20. You will suddenly now hear much from blog ‘grecyclin’ hucksters about this *surprise* NEW political sensation Sweepin’ The Nation!!!”
      …that YOU saw coming
      for 20 years.

      It’s Goldman Sachs stockpumpers blapping about buying Microsoft in 1999. Blodgetting. Buy Lennar in 2006.

      True wisdom comes from advance planning and forethought – not histrionically describing your sudden ambush and death because you have the biggest megaphone.

      Larry Auster over at View From the Right says: “…it’s too late in America for us to be Solzhenitsyn-type dissidents.”

      I don’t read auster, but hear of him. Thus, using such natural default objectivity regarding “Another Great Man” immediately I wonder why this auster then failed to warn His Disciples years ago…when it STILL would/might have been effective “for us to be Solzhenitsyn-type dissidents.”

      Closing the barn door after the horse gets out – then writing 4000 words about it – is BETA.
      Besides, peaceful Solzhenitsyn-type dissidentry is what prescient bloggers/writers have done all along since 2006.

      But it is *not* too late for us to be Breivik-style dissidents, which is the point I would like to make.

      When you have mexicans, you get Mexico City – and LA. When you have bookish intellectuals, you get publishing-lust and…more books. You need a violent intellectual.

      • Is there such a thing as a violent intellectual?

        [ed note: think of che Guevara, tom jefferson or Nietzsche. if "intellectual" isn't a good fit, a violent thinker will suffice. not necessarily physically violent themselves, but espousing it]

        Are we actually too polite to defend ourselves? We may have reached a point where people would rather not participate in order to keep their hands clean from contact with the other side. Like any relationship that breaks down over values, the parties eventually agree to live separately. Our country is currently estranged and thought its possible to have peaceful schisms, that seems unlikely.

      • Okay, Thomas Jefferson, I know, although I wouldn’t categorize him as advocating violence so much as action. The only things I know about Che are from the movie, The Motorcycle Diaries, which focused on his trip around South America, his asthma, and his work with lepers. Nietzche I only know by the references people make to him.

  5. ‘clothes horse’ that is.

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