Understanding TapStudents demonstrate rhythm through clapping and tapping and improvise “conversations” through tap.
- Length: 1-2 class periods
- Students will gain a better understanding of the relationship between music and dance; specifically, between rhythm and tap dance.
- Students will be able to recognize the use of improvisation and syncopation in tap dance and how the choreographer/dancer uses these elements to express him/herself.
DanceSense Program 10: Tap and Percussive Dance
Found On: DanceSense Enhanced
Video Length: 00:15:00
Vocabularyimprovisation, rhythm, syncopation
TV/VCR or DVD player
Instructional Strategies and Activities
All That Jazz
Check KET listings for jazz and dance performances that air in the evenings. Some of the world’s best jazz musicians and tap dancers have appeared on such PBS series as Great Performances, and Live from Lincoln Center,
Bring in ’Da Noise
George C. Wolfe, Kentucky-born playwright and Broadway producer, co-created the hit play Bring in ’Da Noise, Bring in ’Da Funk, which traces African-American history through music and tap. His collaborator was one of the most significant tappers working in the form today, Savion Glover, whom some of your students may remember from his work on Sesame Street! The Drama Toolkit includes an excerpt of George C. Wolfe at a Noise/Funk rehearsal..
What Do You Know About Tap?
Before showing the video, find out what students already know about tap and jazz. The Viewing Guide handout contains questions to prompt the discussion; you may want to hand it out for students to take notes on. Find out whether you have any students who have taken tap lessons and would be willing to demonstrate some basic steps.
If there are any musicians in the class, ask them what they know about jazz, improvisation, and percussive instruments.
Show the DanceSense program and have students respond to the post-viewing questions on the handout.
To get a better understanding of rhythm and the percussive nature of tap dance, have one student at a time clap a rhythm. The rest of the class copies that rhythm, clapping.
Next, each student takes a turn improvising by clapping a short, syncopated rhythm, then the rest of the class tries to put that rhythm in their feet. Consider using different parts of the body to tap the rhythm.
Support • Connections • Resources
- KETs DanceSense web site (www.ket.org/dancesense/) contains a downloadable teachers guide with additional background information on dance and tap.
Extensions for Diverse Learners
- Gregory Hines was a famous tap dancer who lobbied in 1988 for the creation of a National Tap Dance Day. At least 40 cities and eight countries celebrate this day. What else might you learn about Hines and National Tap Dance Day? How might you share what you learn?
- Research famous tap dancers and create illustrated posters or PowerPoint® presentations with information about them.
Writing To Communicate
- Attend a live performance of a tap dance and write a review, discussing how dancers incorporated the elements of dance into the performance. If you cannot find a live tap performance, use the tap dance “Jamaica Funk” on Dance Performances for your review.
Applications Across the Curriculum
- Savion Glover, a famous tap dancer, wrote Savion! My Life in Tap, an autobiography for children. Read the book and share what you learned with your classmates. (Students who grew up with Sesame Street may recall Glover, who often appeared on the show.)
- The Taptations is a group of female senior citizen tap dancers who perform in North Carolina. Why might tap appeal to senior citizens? Are there any dance groups (in any discipline) in Kentucky made up of senior citizens? What are the benefits of dance to senior citizens? How might you share what you learn with your classmates?
- Cross-Cultural: Explore relationships between Irish step dance (e.g., Riverdance), South African boot dance, Appalachian clogging, African-American step dance, and tap dance.
Open Response Assessment
Prompt: Most dance and music forms reflect something about the history and culture of the society from which they originate.
Directions: Explain how tap dance reflects American history and culture. Include a description of the relationship between tap dance and jazz music.
Open Response Scoring Guide
|The response is complete and shows extensive knowledge of the elements of dance and how tap dance relates to jazz music, incorporating improvisation and syncopated rhythms. The response clearly and accurately describes how tap dance reflects American history and culture. The student communicates effectively, using insightful examples and relevant details about dance.||The response shows a broad knowledge of the elements of dance and how tap dance relates to jazz music, incorporating improvisation and syncopated rhythms. The response accurately describes how tap dance reflects American history and culture. The student communicates effectively, using examples and sufficient details about dance.||The response shows a basic knowledge of the elements of dance and how tap dance relates to jazz music, incorporating improvisation and syncopated rhythms. The response describes, on a basic level, how tap dance reflects American history and culture. The student communicates on a basic level, using some examples and/or details about dance.||The response shows a limited knowledge of the elements of dance and how tap dance relates to jazz music, incorporating improvisation and syncopated rhythms. The response ineffectively describes how tap dance reflects American history and culture. The student communicates ineffectively, using few or no examples and/or details about dance.||Blank, no answer, or irrelevant answer.|
- 2.24: Students have knowledge of major works of art, music, and literature and appreciate creativity and the contributions of the arts and humanities.
- 2.26: Through the arts and humanities, students recognize that although people are different, they share some common experiences and attributes.
Program of Studies:
- 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-HS-SA-U-1: Students will understand that the elements of music, dance, and drama are intentionally applied in creating and performing.
- AH-HS-SA-S-Da1: Students will use appropriate terminology to analyze and evaluate the use of elements in a variety of dance.
- AH-HS-SA-S-Da3: Students will describe and analyze the relationships between and among music, costumes, lighting, props/scenery, and choreography.
- AH-HS-HA-U-1: Students will understand that the arts are powerful tools for understanding human experiences both past and present.
- AH-HS-HA-S-Da1: Students will describe, analyze, and evaluate distinguishing characteristics of dance representing a variety of world cultures and historical/style periods (American: Modern and Contemporary).
- AH-HS-HA-S-Da3: Students will examine dance from various world cultures and explain how dance reflects the culture, cultural beliefs, or blending of cultures and will use examples to illustrate how dance has directly influenced society or culture.
- AH-HS-HA-S-Da4: Students will examine dance from various time periods and explain how the influences of time and place are reflected in dance.
- AH-HS-PCA-U-1: Students will understand that the arts fulfill a variety of purposes in society.
- AH-HS-PCA-S-Da1: Students will compare, interpret, and explain purposes for which dance is created.
Core Content for Assessment:
- AH-(06) (07) 08-1.2.1: Students will (identify or describe) (analyze) compare or evaluate the use of the 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 (jazz, tap), 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-HS-1.2.1: Students will analyze or evaluate how choreographers and dancers use the elements of dance, forms, and styles to communicate ideas and feelings through creating and performing.
- AH-HS-1.2.2: Students will describe or analyze the relationship among music, costumes, lighting, props/scenery and choreography.
- AH-HS-2.2.1: Students will analyze or evaluate how factors such as time, place, and ideas are reflected in dance.
- AH-HS-3.2.1: Students will explain how dance fulfills a variety of purposes.