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Secrets of the Sand Dancers

Welcome to the Dance page. This is where I will share some of the secrets very kindly revealed to me by the Sand Dancers. Please come back again as there will be more to discover - including music to accompany dances and a film to help guide you through the steps.

Cassie and Rubus discover Sand Dance Steps

'You can pick up most of these steps no problem,' Rubus said as he pointed to the pictures. 'You read out the words.'

Cassie turned to the first page. 'Step one – the Sand Stretch. A dancer must perform this step every day. You must be always try to increase your stretch. It is important to stretch fully and to feel all emotions fully. A stretch must be followed by a plié.'

And so they stretched, trying to imitate the faded picture.

Cassie turned the page. 'Step two – the Sand Plié. A deep bending of the knees. Bending helps you control how you take off, how high and how fast you can jump and the speed of your turns. A slight bend of the body can convey a feeling.'

Rubus bent over, clutching his tummy. 'I am conveying to you how hungry I am.'

Cassie rolled her eyes 'Be serious! I don't have time to waste.'

Rubus said. 'Seriously, bending is important for sand boarding too. All that sand boarding you've done with me will give you a good start. What comes next?'

Cassie continued. 'Step three – the Sunrise. Rising on the toes gives the dancer a light, floaty quality. It can also be used to give you strength. The rise and flow of the dancer's body is an essential part of the dune dance.'

And so they floated…Cassie thought she felt her spirits lift slightly as she practised.

'Step four – the Dune Bug Jump. This can be performed in lots of different ways. Jump from two feet to two feet, from two feet to one foot, from one foot to two feet, from one foot to the other. The finest dancers can jump the highest.'

'This is fun!' Rubus yelled as he and Cassie jumped up and down. 'I can jump higher than you!'

'But not on one leg. I'm the champion of that!' Cassie yelled back.

'You read the next one out.' Cassie held the book out. Rubus took a step back and shook his head.

'Oh, I forgot – Rubus can't read!' Cassie joked.

A red-cheeked Rubus shouted back at her, 'I can read the direction of the wind. I can read the tides and the weather and the patterns of the stars. I can even read moods. I just can't read words!'

'No problem. I'll teach you one day, but only after you've taught me how to sand surf.' Cassie picked up the exercise book and read on. 'Step five – the Sand Glide. The dancer must never lose contact with the ground as she glides over it. Depending on the mood you can glide slowly or quickly.'

'This is like sand boarding without a board.' Rubus slid down the edge of a small sand hill.

'Two more steps to go,' Cassie turned the next page. 'Oh no! Some bits of this are missing. The edge of the page has been ripped. Step six - the Dart and T-. I can't read that bit. I can only make out part of the rest: To dart is to move above the surface of the sand with legs stretched and toes pointed -'

'We'll just have to fill in the gaps. How hard could that be! The Dart and . . . Top? Tip?'

'Tap? It could be the dart and tap.' Cassie tapped her toes. 'Like before a Rage Stomp.'

'Why don't you ask your aunt? She knows a lot about everything,' Rubus suggested.

'She hates dancing and would forbid my from going to the auditions if she knew. I don't want her to get suspicious.'

'You sneaky sand sprite!' Rubus grinned.

'Only because I have to be. Now let's get on.' Cassie waved the book under his nose.

'So we have the Sand Stretch, the Sand Plié, the Sunrise, the Dune Bug Jump, the Sand Glide, the Dart and T-T-Tap. One more step to go! What is it?' Rubus asked.

Cassie screwed up her face and looked at the page. 'I'm not sure. This page is badly damaged too. Step seven - the Dune Arabe - The dancer must stand on one leg while -.' She sighed. 'It's no good - I can't make it out at all.'

Rubus stroked his chin. 'That is a bit trickier. There are so many things you can do whilst standing on one leg.'

'You could waggle the other leg,' Cassie suggested.

'Or waggle your arm, keeping your other leg bent.'

The missing pages…

The missing pages are the DART and turn and DUNE ARABESQUE.

Take steps

The Sand Plié

The Sand Plie

This is Step Two in the Exercises Book that Cassie and Rubus find. Come back to this website to discover and learn more steps.