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  • Jessica Strong

BrainDance Pattern - Tactile: Growing a Tree

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In the Dance to Learn®️ Program, we follow the BrainDance Warm Up. BrainDance is a whole Brain and Body warm up created by Dr Anne Green Gilbert that follows 8 patterns of movement we explore naturally from birth:

Those patterns include:

- Breath

- Tactile

- Head/Tail

- Core-Distal

- Upper/Lower

- Body-Side

- Cross Lateral

- Vestibular


The second pattern in BrainDance is Tactile!




Developing our dancer’s tactile touch is important because many young children learn best through their sense of touch which is why the use of props & toys in early childhood dance classes is so important. Exploring Tactile experiences with just their fingertips is also important!





Did you know? Your fingertips are full of some of the most sensitive nerve endings in your body? These nerve endings help us feel vibrations & light touch. Understanding these sensations are important for determining if something is hot, cold, sharp or dull etc & can impact our reflexes when our sense of touch tells our brain something may be causing pain.


That’s why when teaching BrainDance, I try to focus on different tactile touch using our fingertips & hands (sometimes even our feet).

Some different types of touch we may explore:

🟥 Pats

🟧 Rubs

🟨 Tickles

🟩 Brushes

🟦 Squeezes

🟪 Gentle Pinches


We can perform these touches on our heads, faces, legs, arms, stomachs & backs. It’s important for our dancers to learn how these different tactile experiences feel to them so they can learn appropriate force to use when touching others. All the tactile experiences we explore with our own bodies, we can also explore with partners. If you have Dancers who struggle with partner or group activities (think of the kids who hold their friends hands too tight when making a circle, or the ones who push & pull in a chassé circle). Taking a pause to explore some tactile activities on their own bodies, may help them learn how to touch & dance with their friends appropriately.





Try this Tactile Activity:

Hug your legs, close your eyes. You’re a tiny seed. Your seed is dreaming about growing into a tall tree. Using soft pats, bury your seed in the dirt starting with your head, shoulders, tummies, knees & toes.

Hug your knees. Now think of rain clouds forming. Your seed now feels cold raindrops falling. Using tickle fingers, they fall on your head, your nose, shoulders, back, legs & toes.

Hug your knees. Now the seed feels the warm sun peeking out. Begin rubbing your face, your ears, your arms, & your legs.

Now your tree is ready to grow!


Learn more about BrainDance in our BrainDance Master Class:












Follow our BrainDance Playlist on YouTube

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