Dance and Environmental Education

Unit Overview

Context:

In this unit Dance and Environmental Education, students learn how to use the elements of dance and composition to convey a message about an environmental issue. Students learn about one environmental issue through research and, in small groups, create a dance piece that advocates for change and action.  

Students begin to understand and become aware of the various issues that we as a population are faced with, and through the use of an environmental artifact or source as inspiration, generate movements individually and in small groups.

The unit could take anywhere from, 2-3 weeks to complete and should ideally be taught in the fall or spring as the site specific work calls for students to be outside.

Summary: 

In this unit, teachers and students explore the environment through dance composition and use sources as inspiration for choreography. Students will be immersed in the environment through real artifacts from nature which they will use as stimulus for a solo composition. The solo composition will help students to generate movement vocabulary and will assist students in recognizing the similarities between dance and the environment.  

Students will be presented with a quote from David Suzuki, who advocates for change in the environment and expresses his fear of its current state. In small groups, students will use their solo composition to create a juxtaposition of nature's beauty and the environmental concerns which we are currently facing.

In small groups, students will brainstorm a variety of environmental issues and will individually choose an artifact/source that will help them to generate movement vocabulary. Students will then use this vocabulary and work together in small groups to create a piece that is based on one environmental theme and their artifact/source material.  

The class will work on their compositions, keeping in mind that the big idea is to convey the environmental issue through the use of the elements of dance and the tools and forms of composition.  

Overall Expectations

A1. The Creative Process:use the creative process, the elements of dance (body, space, time, energy, and relationship), and a variety of sources to develop movement vocabulary;

A2. Choreography and Composition:combine the elements of dance in a variety of ways in composing individual and ensemble dance creations;

A4. Performance: apply dance presentation skills in a variety of contexts and performances.

B1. Critical Analysis Process: use the critical analysis process to reflect on and evaluate their own and others’ dance works and activities;

C2. Contexts and Influences: demonstrate an understanding of the social, cultural, and historical origins and development of dance forms, including their influence on each other and on society;

C3. Responsible Practices: demonstrate an understanding of safe, ethical, and responsible personal and interpersonal practices in dance activities.

Unit Guiding Questions

How is dance similar to nature?

How can dance convey a message about an environmental issue and advocate for change and action?

Lesson Guiding Questions

Lesson 1- Feeling Natures Connection

What characteristics do dance and nature have in common?
How can the environment be embodied and portrayed through the use of movement and dance?
How can artists use nature for choreographic inspiration?  

Lesson 2- Exploring an Environmental Issue 

How can we use our knowledge of Dance to address social issues?

Lesson 3- Using Source Material for Inspiration

How can environmental sources be used as a stimulus for choreography?
How can the message and meaning of choreography be enhanced by using the elements of dance and through the use of compositional tools and structures?

Lesson 4- Site Specific Dance

How does site specific dance add meaning and alter the concept of the piece?
Why would an artist choose to create a piece in a site other than the studio?
How does feedback help to improve movement phrases?

Lesson 5- Expression and Vision

How can dance advocate for environmental change?
Through reflection of the choreographic process, how can the group further their understanding of composition and why is it necessary to reflect on this?
How can the observation and critical analysis of the environmental pieces create change and action in someone?

 

Assessment and Evaluation: How will students demonstrate their learning?

Assessment of learning

Culminating Performance Activity

A rubric will be used to assess the environmental dance piece and source/artifact visual component
Assessment for Learning

Check Point #1/Lesson 1

Observation
Self-assessment
Side-coaching in small groups

Check Point #2/Lesson 2

Checklist
Journal Entry
Peer Evaluation 

Check Point #3/Lesson 3

Journal Entry
Mind Map
Self-assessment

Check Point #4/Lesson 4

Discussions
Conferencing
Talk Around

 

Unit Lessons: How will assessment and instruction be organized for learning?

Approx. Duration 1 class=70 

minutes

Lesson 1

Lesson 1 - Feeling Nature's Connection

Students will use environmental artifacts as stimuli to create a solo composition. Through the creation, students will become aware of the environment and begin to understand the similarities between dance and the environment. Students will perform their solo with the whole group, with half the group and then in small groups. Students will reflect on how the various groupings changed the atmosphere or the message.

1 class
Lesson 2

Lesson 2 - Exploring an Environmental Issue

Using a quote by David Suzuki as stimulus, in small groups, students will explore global warming through the creation of 5 movements. They will use their solos created in Lesson 1 and as a group link the two phrases as a way of enhancing the contrast and emphasizing the impact of factors that harm the environment. Students will share their movement piece with the class.

2 classes
Lesson 3

Lesson 3 – Using Source Material for Inspiration

Students will learn that various sources can inspire movement. Through watching the video Earth Song, brainstorming environmental issues on a graphic organizer, creating a mind map and individually choosing one artifact or source material, students will create a short personal phrase about their own source. From these activities, movement vocabulary will be generated and students in their small groups will explore how they might compose their dance piece. Students will also be asked to creatively present their source/artifact at the end of the unit.

3 classes
Lesson 4

Lesson 4 – Site Specific Dance

Students will learn about site specific dance through observing a piece called Zummel and by reading an article. In small groups, students will answer a specific question and then share their answer with the group and with the whole class. Students will brainstorm a list of sites that they could possibly perform their piece in and then with teacher conferencing, will choose one site. Small groups will further develop and rehearse their work in that space and through peer feedback will continue to refine, revise and make artistic choices. The teacher will conference with each group to ensure accountability and monitor progress.  

2 classes
Lesson 5

Lesson 5 - Expression and Vision

Students will be asked to reflect on the process of creating their composition and will be asked to think about two ideas: expression of ideas and following through with ones' vision. The teacher will decide on an order for the presentations and can base this decision on the various issues. Students will present their visual component of artifacts/sources and then perform their dance pieces. As groups are presenting, students will analyze the pieces using a graphic organizer. Finally, students will reflect upon the dance work and the impact it had on them.

3 classes
Lesson 1 - Feeling Nature’s Connection

Critical Learning

Guiding Questions

Dance can play an important role in society as it can communicate perspectives on social issues to audiences.

Environmental Issues can be explored through movement and Dance.

What characteristics do dance and nature have in common?
How can the environment be embodied and portrayed through the use of movement and dance?
How can artists use nature for choreographic inspiration?   

Curriculum Expectations

Learning Goals

Creating, Presenting and Performing

A1. The Creative Process:use the creative process, the elements of dance (body, space, time, energy, and relationship), and a variety of sources to develop movement vocabulary;

A1.1 use the elements of dance to create and perform a variety of movement phrases inspired by sources

A2. Choreography and Composition:combine the elements of dance in a variety of ways in composing individual and ensemble dance creations;

A2.1 use a variety of choreographic forms, structures, and techniques to connect a series of movement phrases

A2.2 construct a dance composition inspired by a source

A4. Performance: apply dance presentation skills in a variety of contexts andperformances

A4.1 revise and refine movement to enhance dance performance and interpretation

Reflecting, Responding, and Analysing

B1. Critical Analysis Process: use the critical analysis process to reflect on and evaluate their own and others’ dance works and activities;

B1.2 analyse dance works in terms of both their content and their fluency, artistry, or expressiveness 

Foundations

C2. Contexts and Influences: demonstrate an understanding of the social, cultural, and historical origins and development of dance forms, including their influence on each other and on society;

C2.2 identify and describe ways in which dance addresses social questions of local and/or global interest 

C3. Responsible Practices: demonstrate an understanding of safe, ethical, and responsible personal and interpersonal practices in dance activities.

C3.2 demonstrate problem-solving skills during rehearsal and performance

Learning Goals
(Unpacked Expectations) 
At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:
  • create an individual choreography from a stimulus
  • connect the elements of the environment to the elements of dance
  • understand how dance can be used as a catalyst for a variety of social issues
  • create, rehearse and perform solo dance phrases
  • reflect and analyze their own and others' dance works 

Instructional Components

Readiness 

Students should have some experience with choreography and should know the elements of dance (body, energy, space, time and relationship) as they will be working with them throughout the lesson. Students should be reminded of classroom conventions and group etiquette when working in groups. 

Terminology

Dance phrase
Transitions
Fluidity
Movement phrase
Tempo
Levels
Retrograde

Materials

Paper
Pen/pencil
Objects from nature (feathers, rocks, sand, flowers, grass, sticks…)
Small cloth bags
Variety of music
CD Player

 
BLMs

 BLM #1 Feeling Nature's Connection - Descriptive Words

 

Approximately 20 minutes

Minds On

Pause and Ponder

Individual > Objects in Nature

Challenging/Inspiring

Introduce students to a tray of "nature objects" in individual cloth bags (students should not see the object). Objects may include feathers, rocks, sand, flowers, grass, sticks, seeds, pine cones, moss, etc. Distribute an object to each student. (It's okay if more than one student has the same object). Invite students to spread out in the space and have each student close their eyes and reach into their "object" bag. Ask them to feel the object and then place the object back into the bag.

Imagining/Generating

At this point the students have not seen what their nature object is.

Ask the students to think about:
What does this object remind you of? 
Where do you think it came from?
 

Instruct students to write down three words that describe how the object feels and three descriptive words about its appearance. (Students still have not seen the object). Instruct students to look at the object and have students write in role, as the object, one statement about the object that describes where it comes from and what its characteristics are. Example (Stone): I am smooth, and round. I can be many shapes and sizes. You can find me either in water or on land.

Whole Class > Share Words and Statement

Ask students to share their descriptive words and statement with the class. Invite students to guess what the object may be. 

Assessment for Learning (AfL)

Observations from choreography will be a diagnostic.

Have a class discussion to determine the understanding and comprehension of the students.

Walk around the space and "check in" on all groups.

Make group observations.

Assessment as Learning (AaL)

Student reflection.

Differentiation (DI)

You may need to do an example for the class or have student volunteers demonstrate to gain a better idea of what is expected.

Some students may need to write down the movement ideas first, in order to be successful.

You can write a list of movement criteria and compositional tools (direction change, tempo, levels, ground work, retrograde).   

Quick Tip

Students may be given the task of collecting elements from nature to use for the assignment.

Take time to create an accepting and safe environment for all students. Build a collective list of class norms and behaviors. 

You may want to consider dimming the lights to create a less anxious feeling for students. 

Link and Layer

Students will need to use their previous knowledge of the elements of dance to assist them in completing this lesson. Review the elements of dance (body, energy, space, time, relationship)

Clarify the terminology used in the lesson with the students.

 


Approximately 30 minutes

Action!

Individual > Creating a Movement Phrases

Planning/Focusing

Instruct students to create a movement to go with each of their 6 descriptive words. They should have 6 movements in total.

Exploring/Experimenting

Instruct students to explore their 6 movements, connecting them together as a solo dance phrase. Remind students that transitions should be used to help create fluidity and strong connections between the movements. Encourage them to embody the object's characteristics in the phrase.

Refining/Revising 

Ask students to revise their movement phrase, using a variety of compositional tools. Lead students in a movement exploration by asking them to consider the following: 

Change the direction of the movement
Change the tempo
Use different levels
Try a section of movement on the ground
Try the choreography in reverse (called retrograde)

Invite students to continue to refine and revise their choreography, exploring some of the compositional tools listed above. 

Whole Class > Presenting/Performing

Ask the whole class to present their movement phrases, in silence, at the same time.  Ensure students hold their ending shape until all dancers have finished. Split the class in half, so that students can view each others' movement phrases. Give each group an opportunity to share their impressions of one another's solos. Invite students to present again in groups of 4-5. Have each student randomly choose a spot in the space in relation to the other performers.

Whole Class > Discussion

Ask students, who are watching, to look for connections between the solos.

Key Questions for Discussion:

How did the solos change as they became part of a small group choreography?
What was effective about the solos in relation to one another?
Which ones worked well together?
How did the small group compositions affect the movements and how did they create a different atmosphere or send a different message? 

Approximately 20 minutes

Consolidation

Whole Class > Discussion

Go around the room and ask each student to contribute something to the discussion, starting with the sentence stem "I noticed..."

After observations have been made ask the following discussion questions:

What objects might the performers have had?
What are some descriptive words that came to mind during the movement phrases?
What characteristics do dance and nature have in common? 
How can dance be incorporated into the environment?  
How can artists get choreographic inspiration from objects found in nature? 
How did the class successfully use nature as inspiration for choreography?
What next steps or activities could be done with this assignment?

Brainstorm ideas.   
Lesson 2 - Exploring an Environmental Issue

Critical Learning

Guiding Questions

Students will have the opportunity to interpret text about the theme of environmental concern-specifically global warming and continue to refine their solos in a small group ensemble and, in addition, create movements to represent environmental concerns.

How can we use our knowledge of Dance to address social issues?

Curriculum Expectations

Learning Goals

Creating, Presenting and Performing

A1. The Creative Process:use the creative process, the elements of dance (body, space, time, energy, and relationship), and a variety of sources to develop movement vocabulary;

A1.1 use the elements of dance to create and perform a variety of movement phrases inspired by sources

A1.2 create and perform phrases that manipulate three or more elements of dance

A2. Choreography and Composition:combine the elements of dance in a variety of ways in composing individual and ensemble dance creations;

A2.1 use a variety of choreographic forms, structures, and techniques to connect a series of movement phrases
 

A2.2 construct a dance composition inspired by a source

Reflecting, Responding, and Analysing

B1. Critical Analysis Process: use the critical analysis process to reflect on and evaluate their own and others’ dance works and activities;

B1.2 analyse dance works in terms of both their content and their fluency, artistry, or expressiveness

Learning Goals
(Unpacked Expectations)

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • understand how dance can be used as a catalyst for a variety of environmental issues and how dance can advocate for change.
  • create, rehearse and perform a dance phrase
  • work on creating a choreographic phrase with their peers
  • give peer feedback

 

Instructional Components

Readiness

Students should have experience working in small groups to create choreography and should know the elements of dance.

Terminology

Transition
Movement Phrase
Elements of Dance

Materials

Pen/pencil
Computer Lab/Library
Variety of music (World Music)
CD player/Mp3 player

BLMs

BLM #2 Checklist
BLM #3 Peer-Assessment

 

 Approximately 30 minutes

Minds On

Pause and Ponder

Whole Class > Quote

Read the following quote to the whole class:
"We are upsetting the atmosphere upon which all life depends. In the late 80s when I began to take climate change seriously, we referred to global warming as a "slow-motion catastrophe" one we expected to kick in perhaps generations later. Instead, the signs of change have accelerated alarmingly." David Suzuki

Ask the class for their initial reactions. Prompt: What does the quote mean? How do you feel when you hear this quote? After, ask students to consider the following question: "What is Global Warming?" Invite them to share their responses. 

Small Group > Mind Map

In small groups, have students brainstorm ideas on this topic using a Mind Map. Allow students 10 minutes. Afterwards, have each group share the key words that they generated. 

Small Group > 5 Movements

In the same small groups, instruct students to respond to the quote above by creating 5 movements, connected by clear transitions that reflect the meaning and essence of the quote.

Assessment for Learning (AfL) 

Teachers will have the opportunity to witness who has an understanding of source inspired movement through the use of BLM #2 Checklist.  Observe the 5 movements that are created through the use of the quote and check to see that students are conveying the meaning of the quote using the elements of dance and compositional tools and structures.
Students will complete a journal entry using the guiding questions from the Consolidation section.

Assessment as Learning (AaL)

A peer-assessment will be used for Lesson 2.  Ask students to assess their group's movement piece based on the solos and quote.  Refer to BLM #3 Peer-Assessment.

Differentiation (DI)

Group numbers/sizes can be altered to best fit class and students individual needs. 

You could provide a handout of the criteria for the composition.

Quick Tip

Consider how to divide students into groups. As this is still early in the creative process students may feel more comfortable choosing their own group members.

Link and Layer

You may wish to extend this lesson by using information on David Suzuki's web page.  (See hyperlinks)

Hyperlinks in the Lesson

The site below has information on global warming that you may wish to read prior to the lesson or they may wish for students to read the link to further understand the topic of global warming.

http://www.davidsuzuki.org/Climate_Change/

Approximately 40 minutes

Action!

Whole Class > Instruction for Movement Phrase

In the same small groups, ask students to consolidate the arrangement of their solos (from Lesson 1) which represented an artifact of nature and in essence, nature's beauty. Invite students to use the movement phrase that was inspired from the quote in Minds On (Lesson 2) and to link the two phrases as a way of enhancing the contrast and emphasizing the impact of factors that harm the environment. For example, students may want to start with their solos and then transition into the 5 movements or vice-versa. Discuss with students, that the overall message of the dance might be perceived by the audience differently if the group begins with the movements based on the quote and then transitions to the movement based on beauty and hope. They will need to make their own choice as group here.

Small Groups > Movement Phrase

Explore/Experiment

Allow students time to experiment with how best to link the phrases in order to convey the message about environmental issues/concerns. Students may wish to incorporate the text of the quote into the phrases.

Performing/Presenting

Invite students share their movement piece with the class. Refer to BLM #2 Checklist 

Whole Class > Critical Analysis

Invite the class to give feedback to each group using the following questions:
What choices did the group make with respect to sequencing and structure?
How is the piece clearly conveying the theme? 
How are the elements of dance being used effectively?
Which compositional tools or structures did the group use to help convey the theme?
 
Approximately 30 minutes

Consolidation

Individual > Journal Response

Invite students to respond in writing to the following questions:
How has creating and viewing the dance pieces changed the way you think about the environment and your interaction with it?  
What changes, if any, would you consider making in your life to improve the environment? (Encourage students to view the second hyperlink in the lesson-write it on the board.)
How can dance help to advocate for change? 
What about our environment concerns you the most?

Individual > Self/Peer-Assessment

Instruct students to complete BLM #3 Peer-Assessment.

Lesson 3: Using Source Material for Inspiration

Critical Learning

Guiding Questions

Various source material (images, poetry, quotes, newspaper clippings, etc) can be a source of inspiration for movement and choreography.

Movement conveys meaning when danced with intention and the use of a focused idea or theme.

How can environmental sources be used as a stimulus for choreography?
How can the message and meaning of choreography be enhanced by using the elements of dance and through the use of compositional tools and structures?

Curriculum Expectations

Learning Goals

Creating, Presenting and Performing

A1. The Creative Process:use the creative process, the elements of dance (body, space, time, energy, and relationship), and a variety of sources to develop movement vocabulary;

A1.1 use the elements of dance to create and perform a variety of movement phrases inspired by sources

A1.2 create and perform phrases that manipulate three or more elements of dance 

A2. Choreography and Composition:combine the elements of dance in a variety of ways in composing individual and ensemble dance creations; 

A2.1 use a variety of choreographic forms, structures, and techniques to connect a series of movement phrases 

A2.2 construct a dance composition inspired by a source 

A4. Performance: apply dance presentation skills in a variety of contexts and performances

A4.1 revise and refine movement to enhance dance performance and interpretation

Reflecting, Responding, and Analysing

B1. Critical Analysis Process: use the critical analysis process to reflect on and evaluate their own and others’ dance works and activities;

B1.2 analyse dance works in terms of both their content and their fluency, artistry, or expressiveness

Foundations

C2. Contexts and Influences: demonstrate an understanding of the social, cultural, and historical origins and development of dance forms, including their influence on each other and on society;

C2.2 identify and describe ways in which dance addresses social questions of local and/or global interest

Learning Goals
(Unpacked Expectations)

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • use a variety of source material as inspiration for choreography. 
  • collaborate with a group to create a dance.
  • communicate the importance and overall meaning of their choreography

Instructional Components

Readiness

Students should have experience working in small groups to create choreography and should know the elements of dance. Review team work etiquette and discuss the importance of active listening.

Terminology

Movement phrase
Movement vocabulary
Soundscape
Compositional structure

Materials

Paper
Pen/pencil
LCD Projector and Internet Availability
Use of Computer Lab/Library

BLMs

BLM #4 Compositional Elements and Recipe
BLM #5 Rubric for Summative Assessment
BLM #6 Compositional Checklist
BLM #7 Self-Assessment

 

Approximately 30 minutes

Minds On

Pause and Ponder

Whole Group > Environmental Images

Watch Michael Jackson's Earth Song Video. (See hyperlinks).

Pairs > Reflection

Ask students to choose a partner. In pairs, ask students to reflect on the following questions:
Which image in the video stood out for you and why?
What are some ways that we can reverse the damage that we have done to Earth?
Is there an image that you think was missing from the video?
If you had to change one thing about the video, what would it be and why?
Reflect on the statement "A picture is worth a thousand words". What does this statement mean to you?  Do you agree or disagree and why?

Assessment for Learning (AfL)

Journal Entry
Mind Map

Assessment as Learning (AaL)

Student Self-Assessment

Differentiation (Dl)

Have a collection of source material prepared if groups are having a difficult time finding sources that relate to their chosen issue. Students can choose an artifact that they have a personal connection to.

A demonstration or example may need to be shown for better understanding

of how the source material would be incorporated into the piece and how the images can serve as inspiration for movement. 

Provide a handout of the Criteria for Composition.  (Refer to BLM #5 Rubric for Summative Assessment)

Quick Tip

Allow groups to decide where they would like their audience to observe their choreography from. Try different staging to see if it creates a different feeling to the performances.

A few books that will support the teaching of Dance Composition.  These books may be purchased from Theatre Books in Toronto.  (See hyperlinks).

Dance Composition Basics
Pamela Anderson Sofras

Dance Composition
Fifth Edition
Jacqueline M. Smith-Artaud

The Art of Making Dances
Doris Humphrey

Link and Layer

Students will be expected to draw on their experiences from lesson one and two to complete lesson three.

Hyperlinks in the Lesson

Earth Song video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOnL5c8LMqM

Additional information on the elements of composition:
http://www.artsalive.ca/en/dan/make
/toolbox/elements.asp


Additional Information on form and structure in choreography:
http://www.artsalive.ca/en/dan/make/toolbox
/formstructure.asp


Link to Theatre Books:
http://www.theatrebooks.com

Approximately 210 minutes

Action!

Small Group > Leaf Graphic Organizer

Put students into small groups of four or five. These groups will stay the same for the culminating task in Lesson 5. Instruct students to brainstorm as many issues as they can.

Small Group > Environmental Issue Mind Map

Invite each group to identify one issue that they are most interested in exploring and that they would like to know more about. Ask them to consider:
What impact does this issue have on society as a whole?
How might this issue affect members of your group personally?
What words, images, phrases, questions come to mind when you think about this environmental problem?

Instruct small groups to create a Mind Map based on their issue.

Individual > Research

Planning/Focusing

Ask students to each find one artifact or source material (from home, community or computer lab/library) related to their chosen environmental issue. Sources can include poetry, quotes, newspaper articles, art images, photographs, storybooks, magazines, found objects, etc.

Individual > Generating Movement Vocabulary  

Instruct students to create a short, individual movement phrase about their source so that movement vocabulary for the group piece is generated. 

Small Group > Linking phrases

Invite students in their small groups to share their phrases and begin to experiment with how they might compose their dance piece. 

Whole Group > Compositional Elements

Handout BLM #4 Compositional Elements and Recipe and go through the compositional forms. (See hyperlinks for additional resources). Explain to students that each group should include the following in their choreography:

Two minutes of movement
ONE (or more) of the sources (from their research) integrated into the piece 
Silence, soundscape or music
A clear compositional structure (AB, ABA, ABACAD, etc) 

Whole Group > Visual Component

Share with students that another component of the assignment is to creatively present the sources/artifacts found by group members in Lesson 3.  Students will share their visual components before the performance of their choreography. This will extend the work and allow the class to see what sources were used for inspiration. Invite students to consider how they might arrange these sources/artifacts. For example; collage, PowerPoint, brochure, Bristol board, advertisement, etc. Allow time (both in class and out) for students to develop this visual component.

Whole Group > Rubric Overview

Handout BLM #5. Go through the criteria and allow students to ask questions for clarification.

Small Group > Creating Piece and Compositional Checklists

Allow students at least one or two classes to work on their piece. After the work period(s), instruct students to complete a check list (BLM #6 Compositional Checklist) of criteria that has been completed. Continue to have students give feedback to one another as they make choices and build their work.

Approximately 40 minutes

Consolidation

Individual > Journal Response

Ask students to reflect on the following:
What have you found challenging and inspiring about this project?
Is there one source that you are using that you find particularly powerful?  Explain.
How has your group negotiated roles and responsibilities with respect to the creative process?
What were your personal contributions to the piece?

Individual > Self-Assessment 

Ask students to refer to BLM #7 Self-Assessment

Ask students to complete a self-assessment based on the following criteria:
Choreographic ideas
Engagement in the process
Involvement in the research
Overall leadership and participation

Lesson 4: Site Specific Dance

Critical Learning

Guiding Questions

Dance can play an important role in society, as it is a tool that can communicate environmental issues to audiences and performers.

Dance is an ever-evolving art form as it is a reflection of society.

Self and peer reflection can help shape a dance work.

How does site specific dance add meaning and alter the concept of the piece?
Why would an artist choose to create a piece in a site other than the studio?
How does feedback help to improve movement phrases?

Curriculum Expectations

Learning Goals

Creating, Presenting and Performing

A1. The Creative Process:use the creative process, the elements of dance (body, space, time, energy, and relationship), and a variety of sources to develop movement vocabulary;

A1.1 use the elements of dance to create and perform a variety of movement phrases inspired by sources 

A1.2 create and perform phrases that manipulate three or more elements of dance

A2. Choreography and Composition:combine the elements of dance in a variety of ways in composing individual and ensemble dance creations; 

A2.1 use a variety of choreographic forms, structures, and techniques to connect a series of movement phrases

A2.2 construct a dance composition inspired by a source  

A4. Performance: apply dance presentation skills in a variety of contexts and performances

A4.1 revise and refine movement to enhance dance performance and interpretation

Reflecting, Responding, and Analysing

B1. Critical Analysis Process: use the critical analysis process to reflect on and evaluate their own and others’ dance works and activities;

B1.2 analyse dance works in terms of both their content and their fluency, artistry, or expressiveness 

Foundations

C2. Contexts and Influences

C2.2 identify and describe ways in which dance addresses social questions of local and/or global interest (e.g., explain how the choreography of a dance work on a social justice or environmental theme helps communicate the intended message)  

Learning Goals
(Unpacked Expectations)

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • understand what site specific dance is and how it can enhance the message of a dance piece 
  • connect their dance with the physical environment it is being danced in
  • begin to understand how dance can be used as a catalyst for a variety of social issues
  • review and evaluate their own works

Instructional Components

Readiness

Students will continue to work on their environmental piece and will need to begin to make artistic choices, such as, title, where the group will perform, costuming ideas, etc. Students will continue to need to work with the elements of dance and compositional structures and tools.

Terminology

Site Specific

Materials

Computer with Internet Access
Chart paper and Markers

 

Approximately 30 minutes

Minds On

Pause and Ponder

Whole Group > View Site Specific Dance

Have students view a site specific dance piece. (See hyperlinks for suggestions).

Pairs > Reflection

Instruct students to choose a partner and discuss:
How did the environment that the dance is located in add to the overall effect and meaning of the piece?
What images resonated with you and why?
How was the environment incorporated into the piece?  Discuss TWO specific examples.

Small Group > Article

Instruct students in six groups, to read the article:

Let's Take It Outside - Written by Camille LeFevre located in Dance Magazine. (See hyperlinks).

Assign ONE of the following questions to each group member and ask students to record their responses on chart paper.

  1. Why is site specific dance so powerful?
  2. What does serendipity mean and how is it related to site specific dance?
  3. What are some of the variables that are out of a choreographer's control and how can this affect the piece?
  4. What should a choreographer take into consideration when planning/choreographing a piece?  (In terms of movement)
  5. Which dance artists first began using site specific dance and why?
  6. Write your own definition of site specific dance.

Instruct groups to share their responses about the questions above with their group.

 

Assessment for Learning (AfL)

Questioning during Minds On, side coaching and teacher conference.

Assessment as Learning (AaL)

Talk Around

Differentiation (DI)

Provide a copy of the article for each student. Provide a list of various locations that pieces could be performed. 

Quick Tip

You may wish to incorporate the information from this book into a mini-lesson before students give feedback to groups. Book may be purchased at Theatre Books in Toronto.

Dancers Talking Dance

Larry Lavender

Details how to formulate critical responses to dance based on the five step ORDER approach: Observation, Reflection, Discussion, Evaluation, Recommendations for revisions.  (Synopsis taken from: www.theatrebooks.com)

You may also wish to look at the Dance Current website for reviews and articles.  See hyperlinks.  

Hyperlinks in the Lesson

Links to site-specific dance examples:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwiPzI-OQUA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tThVM1fFaO0

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAHFTdZ6PmY&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABjrqQ8-GHI&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17D49uefZqo&feature=related

Link to article:
 http://www.dancemagazine.com/issues/April-2008/Lets-Take-it-Outside

Link to Theatre Books:  
http://www.theatrebooks.com

Link to the dance Current Magazine:
http://www.thedancecurrent.com/

Approximately 110 minutes

Action!

Small Group > Brainstorming Site Specific Performance Locations

Invite students to brainstorm a list of site specific environments that would work for their group choreography. Ask them to choose a space that will enhance or juxtapose the theme/ideas of their dance work. It must be safe for performance and accommodate an audience.

Small Groups > Explore/Experiment and Producing Preliminary Work

Have students go to the location to further develop and rehearse their dance work. Remind them that they may want to make changes to accommodate and reflect the surroundings, as a site-specific piece should use the location as part of the choreography (i.e. the choreography becomes part of the choreography and could not be performed anywhere else). Remind students to be aware that other classes may be in progress and that they must work quietly. If students are outside make sure that there is adequate teacher supervision. 

Facilitate a time for class to view small groups works in progress. Walk around to locations as a group.

Small Group > Feedback

After presentations, invite students to use the critical analysis process to give and receive feedback to and from another group. Ask each group to identify two areas for improvement and two areas where the piece was aesthetically effective. 

Key Questions for Discussion:

What elements and tools of composition are used in the piece? 
How are the elements organized, combined, or arranged?
How does the dance evoke ideas, feelings, and images?
How does the performance location add to the overall effectiveness of the work?

Small Group > Refining/Revising and Making Artistic Choices

Instruct students to work with the ideas and suggestions that come out of the analysis above. Allow students 20-30 minutes to discuss and explore these ideas and suggestions. Encourage students to make choices about the title of the work, music, costuming, performance space, audience location, entrances and exits, etc.

Small Group > Teacher Conferencing

Conference with each group during the refining/revising process and ensure that students are on the right track. Discuss their piece and choices that they are making.  Allow students to ask questions for clarification.

Approximately 70 minutes

Consolidation

Whole Group > Talk Around

Ask students to sit in a circle and have them share what location they have chosen and why.  

Key Questions for Discussion:

How did your group adapt the choreography to the site?
What were some challenges the group came across?
Did the piece become more meaningful in any way?  If yes, explain.
What did your group enjoy about the process? 

Lesson 5 - Expression and Vision

Critical Learning

Guiding Questions

Students will dissect and interpret text to have a greater understanding of an artist and the process he/she goes through to arrive at the final stage of choreography. Through the creation of their dance piece, students will explore how dance can incite action and/or awareness.


How can dance advocate for environmental change?
Through reflection of the choreographic process, how can the group further their understanding of composition and why is it necessary to reflect on this?
How can the observation and critical analysis of the environmental pieces create change and action in someone?

Curriculum Expectations

Learning Goals

Creating, Presenting, and Performing

A1. The Creative Process:use the creative process, the elements of dance (body, space, time, energy, and relationship), and a variety of sources to develop movement vocabulary;

A2. Choreography and Composition:combine the elements of dance in a variety of ways in composing individual and ensemble dance creations;

A4. Performance: apply dance presentation skills in a variety of contexts and performances.

Reflecting, Responding, and Analysing

B1. Critical Analysis Process: use the critical analysis process to reflect on and evaluate their own and others’ dance works and activities;

Foundations

C2. Contexts and Influences: demonstrate an understanding of the social, cultural, and historical origins and development of dance forms, including their influence on each other and on society;

C3. Responsible Practices: demonstrate an understanding of safe, ethical, and responsible personal and interpersonal practices in dance activities.

Learning Goals
(Unpacked Expectations)

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • understand how dance can be used as a catalyst for a variety of social issues
  • work collaboratively with a group
  • present site-specific works of dance
  • review and evaluate their own works.

Instructional Components

Readiness

Students have been working towards the presentation of their Environmental Issue Creation Piece during Lesson 1-4. Students will have prior knowledge of the environment through various source materials and artifacts. 

Terminology

Audience etiquette

Materials

Each student will require:

Appropriate clothing/costumes for the environment or studio
Pen/pencil and paper 

BLMs

BLM #8 Christopher House Quote
BLM #9 Presentation Graphic Organizer

 

Approximately 20 minutes

Minds On

Pause and Ponder

Whole Class > Quote

Read this quote aloud to students. Handout BLM #8 Christopher House Quote.

"I think any artist has an initial pool of imagery and emotional and intellectual impulse that you begin with when you start to create. And, at a certain point you've made that statement which is often an intuitive, spontaneous statement. But if you're going to continue to dig below the surface and to make a more powerful and maybe a more universal statement you need to work very hard at both sides of your art, unless you're very lucky and very unusual! One side is developing your art and your craft at expressing your ideas, and the other aspect is developing the stamina and the courage to follow through on what you believe is the truth of your vision." ~Christopher House

Individual > Response to Quote

Ask students to write/draw their response (using BLM #9 Presentation Graphic Organizer) of the following questions:

Christopher House talks about two sides of the art- expression of ideas and following through with ones vision.  Do you feel your group worked at both of these sides in your piece?  Why or why not?
Do you feel that your piece makes a universal statement? How?

Assessment for Learning (AfL)

Responses in Minds On (diagnostic)

Assessment as Learning (AaL)

Reflection.

Assessment of Learning (AoL)

Presentation of environmental pieces and source/artifact creation.

Differentiation (DI)

Students can make a variety of choices that can appeal to their learning preferences and styles. (content of dance, location of performance etc.)

A graphic organizer for responses to questions in the Action section would help to aid the visual learners. 

(Refer to BLM #9 Presentation Graphic Organizer)

Quick Tip

You need to be cognizant of the fact that this type of exploration is new for many students. Help to build students' self-confidence by instilling the perspective that they are sharing dance with the school and community by using Site Specific Dance. This broadens the meaning of dance for many and brings others to the realization that dance is not just danced in a studio or on the stage.

Link and Layer

Students could present their pieces on Earth Day or on International Dance Day (April 29) to advocate for the environment and dance, respectively.

Hyperlinks in the Lesson

Christopher House Quote:

http://www.artsalive.ca/en/dan/make/advice.asp

Approximately 140 minutes

Action!

Whole Class > Sharing Responses

Invite students to share their responses with the class. After the discussion, remind students as they are viewing the class pieces, to think about the two sides of art (expression through craft and truth of vision) that Christopher House discusses in the quote.

Whole Class > Sharing of Visual Component and Presentation of Pieces

Write down the order of the pieces on the board. Group the environmental issues so that there is continuity and flow between them. Remind students of proper audience etiquette. Ask students to share their visual component before the group performs so that the audience has some insight into what sources were used for movement inspiration and vocabulary. Instruct students to present their pieces (in silence, with text and/or with music).

Whole Class > Reflection

After each piece invite students to take notes about:
  1. The environmental issue that the piece addressed
  2. Where the group presented (Studio or Site Specific)
  3. How the group incorporated/represented their source material
  4. Used text, silence or music
  5. What the most powerful moment was
(Refer to BLM #9 Presentation Graphic Organizer)

After presentations, instruct students to hand in BLM #9 Presentation Graphic Organizer.

Approximately 30 minutes

Consolidation

Whole Class > Discussion of Pieces

Using the questions in the action section, discuss the pieces and the impact they had on the class. 

Small Group > Reflection

Instruct students to get back with their small group and reflect upon the dance work.

Key Questions for Discussion:
How could these dance pieces be used to advocate for environment awareness?
What other observations did you make while you watched your peers' pieces? 
How did the integration of the sources/artifacts into the pieces impact on you? 
How do you think you are personally affected by the environmental issues addressed?
What touched you most about what you saw?
What changes will you personally begin to make in an effort to help the Earth?