Seven Jumps (Syvspring)

“Seven Jumps,” or “Syvspring” in Danish, is a fun folk dance from Denmark that my students love. Everyone inevitably catches a fit of the giggles as we struggle to keep our balance! It involves dancers joining in a circle and walking, hop stepping, or sashaying during the chorus. In between each chorus, there are 1-7 prolonged notes where students lift a specific body part and then place it on the ground once the note stops.

(Note: When reading through this, please keep in mind that many folk dances are taught differently and/or adapted to serve the needs of performing groups. Videos of dancers may use different dance steps than the ones I have listed below.)

Suggested Grade Levels: Kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade

History:
“Seven Jumps” is a dance from Denmark that is still taught today. Reportedly, this was also a song that mocked the “topsy-turvy” career of a Danish politician. There is another dance of a similar name in Holland, called “De Zevensprong,” that has very similar dance motions its Danish counterpart.

While one cannot be sure of the dance’s exact origins or what the movements mean, it is fun to speculate the different contexts in which it existed. Some believe that it was about our above-mentioned Danish politician, while others think that it could have been part of a pagan religious ritual to help the corn crop grow taller. The higher dancers jumped, the better the crop would grow!

Formation:
Dancers begin facing inward in a circle. Joining hands is optional, although this may save the integrity of a circle for young dancers. (Notes: The term “chorus” will refer to the repeated section of the dance. The term “verse” will refer to the prolonged note section listed in this post’s introduction. Each verse repeats and builds upon the previous verse.)

Chorus: After the intro plays, dancers begin to walk, hop step, or sashay in the same direction (right or left) for 8 beats. Dancers now stop and stomp their feet 3 times, followed by three claps. Repeat the stomps and claps once more.

Verse 1: Lift the right foot and place it on the ground once the note finishes.

Chorus: Same as previous chorus without the intro.

Verse 2: Lift the right foot and place it on the ground after the first note; lift the left foot and place it on the ground after the second note.

Chorus: See above.

Verse 3: Right foot; left foot; lift the right knee and place it on the ground after the third note.

Chorus: See above.

Verse 4: Right foot; left foot; right knee; lift the left knee and place it on the ground after the fourth note.

Chorus: See above.

Verse 5: Right foot; left foot; right knee; left knee; lift the right elbow and place it on the ground after the fifth note.

Chorus: See above.

Verse 6: Right foot; left foot; right knee; left knee; right elbow; lift the left elbow and place it on the ground after the sixth note.

Chorus: See above.

Verse 7: Right foot; left foot; right knee; left knee; right elbow; left elbow; raise the head and place it on the ground after the seventh note.

Chorus: See above. End with a gesture (ex. salute, bow, etc.)

Classroom Applications:
–Good as an introductory folk dance
–Introduce basic dance moves (hop, sashay)
–Improve listening and sequencing skills
–Learning music/dance from another culture

Musicplay video demonstration
Shenanigans audio recording

Resources:
–Brook, R. (2013, July 23). The traditional Dutch jumping dace may come from a Pagan crop ritual. Look and Learn. https://www.lookandlearn.com/blog/26053/the-traditional-dutch-jumping-dance-may-come-from-a-pagan-crop-ritual/

–Little. S. (2010, October 1). Folk dance: Syvspring. Linnet on the Leaf. http://walfamily.net/Handmaidens/Handmaidens_of_the_Shepherd/Blog/Entries/2010/10/1_Folk_Dance__Syvspring.html

–Musicplay. (2019, September 12). Seven jumps – kids demo [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjMNPMA4r4E

–Rose, J. (2015). Seven jumps [Video]. PBS Learning Media. https://illinois.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/2f45c2db-bd3e-44cc-b255-7f1c0e0c0436/seven-jumps/

Seven jumps. Rowan University. Retrieved February 23, 2021, from http://users.rowan.edu/~conet/rhythms/CulturalDances/sevenjumps.html#:~:text=The%20dance%20is%20from%20Denmark,one%20through%20the%20seven%20Figures.&text=The%20dance%20begins%20with%20the,beat%20end%20with%20a%20jump.

–The Shenanigans – Topic. (2015, October 26). Seven jumps [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yp5yzaWfAng

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