kids learning to dance

Teaching Creative Dance

This collection of four model lessons demonstrates the how and why of teaching creative dance.

Creating a Movement Sequence

Adam Kirk, dynamic fitness instructor at Fayette County’s Southern Elementary, and Dr. Rayma Beal of the University of Kentucky’s Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion lead a class of 2nd graders in an exploration of the dance elements of space. In the lesson, the students practice locomotor and non-locomotor movements, then work in groups to create movement sequences using these movements while varying the space components of pathway, direction, and level. The lesson is taught in a gymnasium. In the segment, Kirk also offers ideas for incorporating non-locomotor movements into general classroom activities, and Beal explains what students get out of creative movement exercises such as this one.

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Designed for viewing by teachers as a preview for teaching this or similar lessons.
Shown with 2nd graders, but can be adapted for any grade level needing a basic exploration of space.

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Dancing Stories

Dr. Marianne McAdam, director of the Dance Minor Program at Eastern Kentucky University, demonstrates how to use literature as an inspiration for creative dance activities. In the lesson, groups of 4th-grade students from Eastern Kentucky University’s Model Lab School create dances based on the book The Loon Spirit. Because the story includes varied animal characters, instructor McAdam saw it as an excellent opportunity for exploring the dance element of force. Students begin by discussing the story and identifying energy qualities associated with the animal characters. Then they explore these movements spatially and work in groups to create dances and perform, with peer discussion afterward. In the video, McAdam also offers ideas on how to select stories suitable for movement activities, offers guidance on the teacher’s role in the creative dance classroom, and suggests additional creative dance resources.

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Designed for viewing by teachers as a preview for teaching this or similar lessons.
Shown with 4th graders, but can be adapted for other grade levels.

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Creating an ABA Dance

Working with 6th graders from Eastern Kentucky University’s Model Lab School, Artist-in-Residence Kacey Frazier demonstrates a lesson exploring the dance element of time. Students do simple activities that explore rhythm and speed, then work in groups to create dances in ABA form, which they perform for the class. In the segment, Frazier also offers ideas for organizing the lesson flow, using movement cards, and prepping students to perform and to critique performances.

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Designed for viewing by teachers as a preview for teaching this or similar lessons.
Shown with 6th graders, but can be adapted for other grade levels.

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Dancing the Water Cycle

Physical education instructor Rick Carr and science teacher Shelby Ison, both from Woodford County’s Northside Elementary, demonstrate a lesson in which 4th graders create a dance illustrating the water cycle. This video segment shows how dance activities can be conducted in a regular classroom space. Students brainstorm movement ideas representing evaporation, condensation, and precipitation; create movement sequences in groups; and join the sequences as a class performance. In the video, Carr and Ison explain how they collaborated to plan the lesson, and Northside Principal Candace James discusses what it takes to achieve curriculum integration and how the arts help students learn.

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Designed for viewing by teachers as a preview for teaching this or similar lessons.
Shown with 4th graders, but can be adapted for other grade levels.

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K-12English Language Arts and LiteracyMathematicsScienceThe Arts