I Just Wanna Dance
by Teresa Jennings
There's something very engaging about this piece. The halftime Latin groove seems to trigger an "on" button in our shoulders, hips, feet... pretty much everything. And so, accordingly, we suggest you let your students do just that – dance. Turn the music up loud, and let them feel the beat, moving freely as if on a dance floor. Or, if you have the time and talent in your midst, consider creating movements for them to do in tandem. The section with the claps (m. 28) will automatically invite this action, even as kids are treated to Sandy Williams' superb nylon guitar solo on the Performance/Accompaniment recording. Featuring dancers during this section is also encouraged.
Besides being fun to dance to, this is also great to sing. It has three parts (optionally) that ebb and flow together, but aren't too challenging. The end result is cool, fun, and rewarding for performers. We have created several extras to use as you see fit. They include an a cappella version with percussion that you will find on the recording (track 26). Online, you can access the plain a cappella version (no perc.) that shows off the vocals and may inspire your own singers to do something similar. There is also an isolated part 2 (in two pieces) and part 3 for teaching the lines.
Beyond that, we have a real treat. Writer Dan Thieman did a "Remix" of this piece (see his notes below) using all electronic sounds, and the result is so striking, we decided to include the tracks on the recording (track 24). If you'd like to hear it with the vocals plugged in, you'll find that on our web site, too.
Remember, this is a March/April issue, and March is Music In Our Schools Month. So if you're planning to do any musical celebrating, this is an excellent candidate. Of course, you can use it any other time as well.
When I first heard Teresa's song, "I Just Wanna Dance," I couldn't resist the temptation to make an electronic version of it. The rhythm, chord progression, and harmonies were simply inspiring. My initial intention for creating an electronic version was just for the fun of it. But after Teresa heard it, she decided to have the studio singers sing with it and then included it as part of this issue. The remix is slightly slower than Teresa's original (quarter equals 148 compared to 160). The slower tempo really adds to the powerful and epic sound, especially when the bass drops out during the last repeat before the D.S. al Coda. You could listen just for the fun of it, for dancing to, or you could use the remix version as your accompaniment and have your singers sing with it. However you use it, turn it up and enjoy! - D.T.
Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.