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Dance Lesson Plan

Grades
5-8
Materials

WHAT IS DANCE?
Length

Concept/Objectives

Activities

Toolkit Resources

2-3 class sessions

Students will explore


how various types of
movement combined
with choreography
reflect or influence
culture.

Students write and


illustrate articles on
topics related to
dance and culture
based on research
and mapping
activities.

DanceSense
Programs 1:
Understanding
Dance, 2: The Dance
of Culture, and 3:
Dance in America, all
found on the
DanceSense
Enhanced DVD
Length of Segment:
00:15:00 each

student handouts:
Cultural Map (see
Preparation)
Cultures and Purposes
Guided Viewing
sheets for
DanceSense
Programs 1-3
Multiple Choice
Questions

Students will compare and contrast


the purposes and/or
styles of dance from
various cultures by
identifying their similarities and differences.

Technology

Optional: The World


of Dance and Music
CD-ROM

TV/DVD player
computer with CD-ROM
drive

Vocabulary
choreography
cultures:
African
Asian
Caribbean
European
Latin American
Native American
movement
purposes:
artistic
ceremonial (ritual)
recreational
styles

Instructional Strategies and Activities


Preparation
This lesson calls for six student handout sheets. Master copies for five are
included with this lesson, along with Multiple Choice Questions. The cultural map
will have to be created.
Make enough copies of the Cultures and Purposes handout, the four Guided
Viewing sheets, and the Multiple Choice Questions for all students. For the Cultural
Map, find a black and white copy of a world map that distinctly outlines the continents but includes no other markings. (Consult the Culture and Purposes handout
to see how the map will be used.)
Draw the following on the map:

a
a
a
a
a

large triangle encompassing North America, including Alaska


large rectangle encompassing Central and South America
square encompassing Europe
square encompassing West Africa
large rectangle encompassing Asia

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Students will be color-coding these areas, so add a key to the bottom of the map:
Color coded map sections above and boxes below indicate areas
identified as:
Asian
Latin American
European

West African
Native American

Note: As an alternative to a map handout for each student, you could also use one
large class map, designating a color for each of the areas. The idea is that students
will connect the dance and culture information to areas on the map.

Connecting to Prior Knowledge


In order to acclimate themselves to the geographic locations of Asian, Latin
American, West African, Native American, and European cultures, give students the
Cultural Map and Cultures and Purposes handouts. Through teacher-led or student-led
class discussion, clarify locations and what students know about the cultures of these
areas, including language, customs, music, and beliefs. Have students research these
topics as time and interest allows.
(Note: Some or all sections of the chart at the bottom of the Cultures and Purposes
supplement will be filled in after viewing the DanceSense programs. Any remaining
open areas of the chart may be filled by further research or by teacher suggestion or
instruction.)

Gaining New Knowledge


After completing the Cultural Map, introduce the statements and definitions on the
Guided Viewing cover sheet, clarifying any of the terms or statements before showing
the video.
Then show three programs from DanceSense, Program 1: Understanding Dance,
Program 2: The Dance of Culture, and Program 3: Dance in America. As they
watch, students should complete Guided Viewing handouts for each DanceSense program and add appropriate examples of types of dances to the chart on the Cultures
and Purposes handout.
Each DanceSense program runs 15 minutes but is divided into segments; ample discussion should follow each segment as students are completing their guided viewing
sheets. Consequently, this lesson will take two to three class periods to complete,
longer if optional video segments are added (see Support/Connections/Resources).
The Multiple Choice questions are a means of checking cumulative knowledge
attained through viewing activities. This supplement may be discussed and graded as
a class, even allowing corrections to be made. It is not designed as a culminating
exam.

Putting It All Together


Based on the information they have encountered and gathered, have students write
and illustrate an article on a topic related to dance and culture. Suggestions are provided in the Writing for the Lesson section of this lesson plan.

202 Arts Toolkit Dance Lesson Plans

Kentucky
Academic
Content
Big Idea: Structure in
the Arts
Academic Expectations
1.15

Program of Studies
Understandings
AH-5/6/7/8-SA-U-1

Skills and Concepts


AH-5/6/7/8-SA-S-Da1

Core Content
AH-(05)(06)(07)(08)-1.2.1
AH-05-1.2.2

Big Idea: Humanity in


the Arts
Academic Expectations
2.24
2.26

Program of Studies
Understandings
AH-5/6/7/8-HA-U-1
AH-5/6/7/8-HA-U-2
AH-5/6/7/8-HA-U-3

Skills and Concepts


AH-5/6/7/8-HA-S-Da1
AH-5/6/7/8-HA-S-Da2
AH-5/6/7/8-HA-S-Da3
AH-6/7/8-HA-S-Da4

Core Content
AH-(05)(06)(07)(08)-2.2.1

Big Idea: Purposes for


Creating the Arts

Support/Connections/Resources

Academic Expectations

Enrich and expand students understanding of various styles and cultures using these
resources from the Dance Arts Toolkit:

1.15
2.26

Program of Studies
Understandings
AH-5/6/7/8-PCA-U-1
AH-5/6/7/8-PCA-U-2

Skills and Concepts


AH-5/6/7/8-PCA-S-Da1

African Dance: See performances of West African dances on The African


Root, Dances of the World, and Dance Performances as well as information about West African dance, also on The African Root. Explore African
countries and cultures on the World of Dance and Music CD-ROM.
Asian Dance: See the Bharatanatyam of India and Chinese Fan Dance and
Chinese Sword Dance on Dances of the World DVD and the Kathak, also from
India, on DanceSense Enhanced. Explore Asian countries and cultures on the
World of Dance and Music CD-ROM.

Core Content
AH-(05)(06)(07)(08)-3.2.1

European Dance: See the Italian Tarantella on Dances of the World and Three
Irish Dances on DanceSense Enhanced. Examples of artistic dance styles with
European roots (e.g., ballet) are included on Dance Performances and Dance
Onstage. Explore European countries and cultures on the World of Dance
and Music CD-ROM.
Latin American Dance: See the salsa, Argentine tango, and Brazilian capoeira
segments on Dances of the Americas and Afro-Cuban Dance on Dances
from Many Cultures. Explore Latin American countries and cultures on the
World of Dance and Music CD-ROM.
Native American Dance: See the dances of the Cherokee, Mohawk, Apache,
Navaho, Tsimshian (Git-Hoan), and Totonac on Dances of the Americas and
Zuni Harvest Dance on Dances from Many Cultures. Explore Native American
cultures on the World of Dance and Music CD-ROM.
Check the DanceSense teachers guide for more information and activities. Youll find
it in the For Teachers section of the World of Dance and Music CD-ROM.

Writing for the Lesson


Each student will write an illustrated article on a topic related to dance and culture for
an audience that has little if any knowledge of dance and culture. Illustrations may be
original or found (found illustrations must be properly credited) and may include
drawings, photos, or graphics. Articles should include specific supporting examples.
(There is no performance or open response assessment with this lesson; assessment
is based on this writing assignment.)
As an extension project, articles may be collected into a class anthology.
Topics for articles can include (but are not limited to) the following:
Analyzing purposes of dance from different cultures and/or styles.
Explaining how dance reflects or is influenced by culture, purpose, and/or
style.
Analyzing movements and styles characteristic of various cultures.
Interpreting how culture, purpose, style, and/or history influence how dance
artists express ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
Explaining the contribution of dance to society as both an activity and an
art form.

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Multiple Choice Questions


1. The three purposes of dance are
A. recreational, historical, preservation.
B. historical, artistic, social.
C. ceremonial, recreational, artistic.
D. propaganda, social, artistic.
2. Polyrhythms can best be described as
A. complex, simultaneous patterns.
B. rhythmic drum beats.
C. irregular rhythms.
D. regular rhythms.

Answer Key for


Multiple Choice
Questions
1. C
2. A
3. C
4. A
5. C
6. B
7. C
8. D

3. An example of a ceremonial dance is


A. Appalachian clogging.
B. African-American hip-hop.
C. Shaker Circle Dance.
D. Goin to Boston.
4. People of the Americas whose national language is Spanish, French, or
Portuguese are
A. Latin Americans.
B. Cajuns.
C. Native Americans.
D. immigrants.
5. The indigenous people of North America are
A. Latin Americans.
B. Cajuns.
C. Native Americans.
D. immigrants.
6. The artist who creates dance is a/an
A. arranger.
B. choreographer.
C. composer.
D. concert master.
7. Dances often danced for recreational purposes include
A. salsa, waltz, and ballet.
B. Kathak, ballet, and capoeira.
C. salsa, Irish reel, and clogging.
D. Ghost Dance, tango, and jazz.
8. Culture is a term used to describe
A. folk dances and music.
B. geography of a country.
C. a high level of art.
D. societal values, beliefs, and customs.

204 Arts Toolkit Dance Lesson Plans

Author: Kate Larken


Copyright 2004,
2008 KET
Reviewed by the
Kentucky Department
of Education
This lesson plan is part
of the Dance Arts
Toolkit. To order the
entire toolkit or for more
information about the
Arts Toolkit project, visit
www.ket.org/artstoolkit
or call (859) 258-7294.

What Is Dance: Cultures and Purposes


Directions: For this activity, you will need the Cultural Map and five different colors of markers,
crayons, color pencils, or watercolors.
ASIAN culture includes most of the nations of the Asian continent, including Japan, China and
India.
Find areas on the Cultural Map that are part of Asia.
Use a single color to match those areas on the map with the corresponding box in the key.
Write appropriate examples in the chart below. Color code chart sections to match the map.
LATIN AMERICAN cultures exist in parts of the American continents (Mexico, Central and South
America, Caribbean islands) where Spanish, Portuguese, and/or French are official languages.
Find areas on the Cultural Map that are part of Latin America.
Use a single color to match those areas on the map with the corresponding box in the key.
Write appropriate examples in the chart below. Color code chart sections to match the map.
WEST AFRICAN culture includes the western part of Africa from Mauritania in the north to Gabon
in the south.
Find areas on the Cultural Map that are part of West Africa.
Use a second single color to match those areas on the map with the corresponding box
in the map key.
Write appropriate examples in the chart below. Color code chart sections to match the map.
NATIVE AMERICAN cultures are the indigenous people of the Americas, especially North
America.
Find areas on the Cultural Map that are part of North America.
Use a third single color to match those areas on the map with the corresponding box in the
map key.
Write appropriate examples in the chart below. Color code chart sections to match the map.
EUROPEAN culture includes any of the nations of the continent of Europe.
Find areas on the Cultural Map that are part of Europe.
Use a fourth single color to match those areas on the map with the corresponding box in the
map key.
Write appropriate examples in the chart below. Color code chart sections to match the map.

Purposes
of Dance

Asian

Latin
American

West
African

Native
American

European

ceremonial

recreational

artistic

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Dance forms can look different


from culture to culture and from time to time.

What Is Dance: Guided Viewing Cover Sheet


Instructions: Consult this cover sheet before viewing DanceSense Programs 1-3

1. Before viewing, consider the following statements:


Dance is the art of the human body in motion.
Movement is a way to express feelings and ideas.
Dance communicates without words.
Choreographers have to know how the body can communicate.
Dance can tell a story.
Dance can be graceful or frantic.
Dance is influenced by every kind of movementpedestrian (everyday), athletic (sports), natural
(physical world).
Dance takes these and makes them into artistic (expressive) movement.

2. Become familiar with the following definitions:


culturethe kind of society you live in, its values, beliefs and customs, and your time and
location in the world.
dancethe art of human movement influenced by the individual artist and choreographer and
the culture in which the dance is created.
choreographythe art of creating dance.
choreographerthe artist who creates dance.

3. Remember that the purposes of dance in any culture are:


ceremonial (ritual)
recreational (social)
artistic (performance)

206 Arts Toolkit Dance Lesson Plans

Dance communicates
without words.

What Is Dance: Guided Viewing

DanceSense Program 1: Understanding Dance


Directions: As you view DanceSense Program 1: Understanding Dance, capture information that will
help you respond to the following:
1. Describe an example from the program that shows how dance is like movement in nature.

2. Describe an example from the program that shows how dance is like movement in sports.

3. How can dancers evoke emotions in classical ballet?

4. Describe two things a choreographer tries to convey in creating a dance piece.

5. List two examples of recreational (social) dances described in the segment and identify the
culture for each.

6. List two examples of ceremonial (ritual) dances described in the segment and identify the
culture for each.

7. List two examples of artistic (performance) dances described in the segment and identify the
culture for each.

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Whether a dance is new or old,


it is rooted in culture.

What Is Dance: Guided Viewing

DanceSense Program 2: The Dance of Culture


Directions: As you view DanceSense Program 2: The Dance of Culture, capture information that will
help you respond to the following:
1. Describe two reasons why people dance in any culture.

2. What did the Greek philosopher Socrates believe about dance?

3. Describe two ways culture influences dance.

4. Since culture means traditions and values, history and beliefs, and art and spirit, then individual
cultures have different ideas about what is beautiful or valuable. Describe something you learned
or observed about the following:
a. Orisha dance from Cuba (Latin American)

b. Yupik dance from Alaska (Native American)

5. When and why did the Charleston fall out of popularity as a social dance?

6. Explain how the Lindy Hop (a social dance) reflected cultural events.

7. Which European social dance meant men and women no longer had to dance in separate lines?
Why was this revolutionary?

8. What cultural group brought a festive style of music and dance when they migrated from Acadia in
Canada to Louisiana in the United States?

9. Which two cultures share these characteristics: dancing in circles, using drums, dancing close to
the ground?

10. Sometimes different cultures are at work in a single dance style. Give an example of this and
explain how the cultures combined to create this new dance.

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Cultures have a way of


getting mixed together.

What Is Dance: Guided Viewing


DanceSense Program 3: Dance in America

Directions: As you view DanceSense Program 3: Dance in America, capture information that will
help you respond to the following:
1. Regarding dance in the NATIVE AMERICAN culture:
a. Why were Native American dance customs outlawed or banned by white settlers?

b. Describe the Lakota Ghost Dance, including its origin, meaning, and the power of this art.

2. Regarding dance in the culture of EUROPEAN immigrants:


a. How did European immigrants use dance to develop a sense of community in a new place?

b. What was the function of the Irish reel?

c. How was the waltz innovative when it spread from Europe to America?

3. Regarding dance in the culture of AFRICAN communities and immigrants:


a. What music/dance element is emphasized through drumming?

b. What are polyrhythms?

c. List two of the practical purposes of dance in West African culture.

d. List one of the physical characteristics of West African dance.

e. Why were slaves banned from using drums after arriving in America?

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210 Arts Toolkit Dance Lesson Plans