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Arts Toolkit

Arts Toolkit: Dance Lesson Plan

Grades:

4-8

Lesson Plan:

Analyzing Two Dances and Making a Dance Map

Students watch and analyze the Arabian and Chinese dances from The Nutcracker and then create a dance map.
  • Length: 1 class period

Concepts/Objectives:

  • Students will create a divertissement.
  • Students will understand the basic dance elements.
  • Students will understand the effects of different choices (in terms of the basic dance elements) on the quality and meaning of a dance.
  • Students will understand how the dance elements enable a choreographer to tell a story through dance.

Resource Used:

Arabian and Chinese Dances from The Nutcracker
Found On: Dance Performances
Video Length: 00:07:22

Vocabulary

choreography, dance, direction, divertissement, force, locomotor, non-locomotor, rhythm, shape, space, tempo, time
Materials

TV/VCR or DVD player, CD/tape player, assortment of tapes/CDs with varied music (fast, slow, happy, sad, loud, soft, etc.), paper, pencils or crayons, open space

Handouts:

Instructional Strategies and Activities

Idea

Many Kentucky dance companies offer educational programs: sending dancers into schools to teach; providing lecture-demonstrations and in-school performances; or offering reduced-price tickets for attending performances, often followed by question/answer sessions. Often these companies also tour. For ideas on locating dancers and dance companies and using them at your school, check out the Kentucky Arts Council’s Arts Resources for Teachers and Schools.

Introduction

Explain the three purposes of dance: ceremonial (celebration, hunting, religious), recreational (folk, social), and artistic (theatrical, ballet).

Explore the three basic dance elements and these sub-elements: space (level, direction, shape, pathways), time (pulse, tempo, rhythm), and force.

Discuss The Nutcracker. Include its history and background on Tchaikovsky, Petipa/Ivanov, divertissement, and story ballet. Show the video excerpt and discuss it in terms of the elements of dance. After discussion, engage in the Dance Map activity.

Making a Dance Map

Start with a blank piece of paper and a pencil or crayon. Place three points anywhere on the paper. Next, draw a pathway that is not a straight line to connect the three points.

Label your three points “beginning,” “middle,” and “end.” Mark five other places on your pathway using hash marks (||). Underneath each set of hash marks, write a level, a type of shape, and a number between 1 and 8.

You have created a map for your dance.

In an open space, walk the pathway as it is shown on your paper. Walk it again for memory. Make sure you are beginning and ending in the correct places. Also, watch your directions to make sure that you are moving identically to the map.

The third time you walk your pathway, notice where the hash marks are on the paper and freeze in these places for the right number of seconds (the number between 1 and 8). Decide what shapes you will make at this time.

After moving through the space a couple of times, pick a theme for this dance that goes with your pathway.

Choose movement qualities that match the theme. List these on the back of your paper so you won’t forget. You might also want to experiment with different locomotor movements to connect you from point to point.

Also experiment with different kinds of musical accompaniment, such as fast, slow, soft, loud, percussive, lyrical. Notice the effect this has on your movement choices.

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Support • Connections • Resources

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Performance Assessment

Performance Event: The student participates in a class discussion comparing the basic elements of dance in the Arabian and Chinese divertissements from The Nutcracker. The student uses a dance map to create and perform a dance demonstrating the basic elements of dance.

Directions: Discuss the basic dance elements and compare them in the two dances from The Nutcracker. Then, using paper and pencil, make a pathway using three points. Then add five sets of hash marks to indicate places where you will pause and make a distinct shape. Then use the map to create a dance, adding a theme, different locomotor movements, and musical accompaniment. Perform your dance.

Performance Scoring Guide
4 3 2 1 0
The student creates a dance map and clearly performs the dance it represents. The student’s dance clearly demonstrates an understanding of the basic dance elements. In class discussion, the student demonstrates an extensive understanding of the basic dance elements in the Arabian and Chinese dances. The student follows directions. The student creates a dance map and generally performs what it represents. The student’s dance demonstrates an understanding of most of the basic dance elements. In class discussion, the student demonstrates a broad understanding of the dance elements in the Arabian and Chinese dances. The student follows most directions. The student creates an adequate dance map and performs it adequately. The student’s dance reflects basic understanding of the basic dance elements. In class discussion, the student demonstrates basic understanding of the dance elements in the Arabian and Chinese dances. The student follows some directions. The student creates a dance map and performs it to a minimal extent. The student’s dance reflects minimal understanding of the basic dance elements. In class discussion, the student demonstrates minimal understanding of the basic dance elements in the Arabian and Chinese dances. The student follows few directions. No participation or response or irrelevant answer.

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Academic Content


Academic Expectations:

  • 1.15: Students make sense of and communicate ideas with movement.
  • 2.22: Students create works of art and make presentations to convey a point of view.
  • 2.23: Students analyze their own and others’ artistic products and performances using accepted standards.
  • 2.25: In the products they make and the performances they present, students show that they understand how time, place, and society influence the arts and humanities such as languages, literature, and history.

Program of Studies:

Intermediate:
  • AH-(4)(5)-SA-U-1: Students will understand that the elements of music, dance, and drama are intentionally applied in creating and performing.
  • AH-(4)(5)-SA-S-Da1: Students will (recognize and identify) (analyze and explain) elements of dance and basic dance forms using dance terminology.
  • AH-(4)(5)-SA-S-Da2: Students will use the elements of dance in creating, copying and performing patterns of movement independently and with others.
  • AH-(4)(5)-PCA-U-1: Students will understand that the arts fulfill a variety of purposes in society.
  • AH-(4)(5)-PCA-S-Da1: Students will (identify) (describe and compare) purposes for which dance is created.
  • AH-(4)(5)-PA-S-Da1: Students will be actively involved in creating and performing dance along and with others.
Middle:
  • AH-(6)(7)(8)-SA-U-1: Students will understand that the elements of music, dance, and drama are intentionally applied in creating and performing.
  • AH-(6)(7)(8)-SA-S-Da1: Students will use appropriate terminology to identify and analyze the use of elements in a variety of dance to express thoughts, ideas, and feelings.
  • AH-(6)(7)(8)-SA-S-Da4: Students will identify and describe themes and styles of dance.
  • AH-(6)(7)(8)-PCA-U-1: Students will understand that the arts fulfill a variety of purposes in society.
  • AH-(6)(7)(8)-PCA-S-Da1: Students will compare and explain purposes for which dance is created.
  • AH-(6)(7)(8)-PA-S-Da1: Students will be actively involved in creating and performing dance (alone and with others) in a variety of compositional forms.
  • AH-(6)(7)(8)-PA-S-Da2: Students will create an improvisational dance with complex movements.

Core Content for Assessment:

Intermediate:
  • AH-(04) 05-1.2.1: Students will identify or describe elements of dance in a variety of dances.
  • AH-(04) 5-1.2.2: Students will describe how dance uses space, time, force and various locomotor and nonlocomotor movements to communicate ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
  • AH-(04) 05-3.2.1: Students will identify how dance fulfills a variety of purposes.
  • AH-(04) 05-4.2.1: Students will create patterns of movement incorporating the elements of dance (space, time, and force).
  • AH-(04) 05-4.2.2: Students will create a movement sequence with a beginning, middle, and end.
Middle:
  • AH-(06) (07) 08-1.2.1: Students will (identify or describe) (analyze) compare or evaluate the use of elements in a variety of dances.
  • AH-(06) (07) 08-1.2.2: Students will (identify) (identify and/or describe) compare and contrast dances by: identifying theme, dance styles (e.g., ballet), characteristics of the style, and the use of the elements of dance.
  • AH-(06) (07) 08-3.2.1: Students will (identify or explain) compare or explain how dance fulfills a variety of purposes.
  • AH-(06) (07) 08-4.2.2: Students will create an improvisational dance with complex movements (beginning, middle and end).l

Author:

Chuck Bronson

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