A choreographic form in which a dance phrase is performed by more than one soloist or group and begins at different times so that the phrases overlap (analogous to a round in music).
(Ontario Arts Curriculum, 2009 )

An Instructional Approach 

  • Teach the class a simple series of movements (an eight count phrase) that the students can master and repeat without needing to follow a leader.
  • In pairs, have students practice the phrase in unison.  This would work well with students positioned side by side or facing each other.
  • Students can then decide who is A and B.  Student A begins the eight count phrase and Student B performs the same phrase beginning 4 counts later than A.
  • When they have mastered this, they can perform the phrase with only a two count delay.
  • Have the pairs become larger groups of four, six or eight and repeat the exercise. 
  • When students have mastered this, they can be given a chance to extend their composition by performing the original phrase in unison, then in canon and return to unison.
  • Have students share feedback with their peers.

Variations for different levels of readiness

  • As their skill increases, students can change their facings, spatial reference and distance from one another.
  • Students can repeat their canon in a variety of tempos.


  • Students create their own phrases and decide when to break into canon and when to return to unison performance.
  • Students manipulate the speed and intensity of the canon.
  • Students combine two or more canons in one performance to show a variety of focus and phrasing.
  • Apply changes of levels to the canon.

Cross Curricular Uses 


Students can listen to music that is performed in a round and use the musical phrasing to inform their physical creation.

Visual Arts

Students can look for visual imagery that has repetition in shape as their inspiration for creating their phrases.

Physical Education

Students can take a physical drill, i.e. dribbling a ball, and use that movement as inspiration for their phrase(s).