Embodying the Dancer

Unit Overview

Context 

Dance is a unique art form because artist, instrument and creation are all housed within the body. For this reason, it is critical that students of dance become physically and emotionally conscious on both an objective/anatomical  level and subject/creative level. Through greater body awareness, the dancer is able to more intelligently create processes that will lead to healthy, authentic work. This unit is best placed toward the end of a course so that students can draw on the techniques of the various dance forms studied and the alternative practices that benefit the dancing body.

Summary:

This unit will give senior dance students the opportunity to explore and document a physical, creative, and critical process independently, with ongoing modeling and prompting by the teacher. By design, it will draw on and develop the intrapersonal skills of each student. Dancers will show their understanding of their current physical condition, re-mediate areas of need, build on existing strengths and choreograph a work that has autobiographical influences.

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; 
B2. Dance and Society: demonstrate an understanding of how societies present and past use or have used dance, and of how creating and viewing dance can benefit individuals, groups, and communities; 
C1. Physiology and Terminology: demonstrate an understanding of the physiology of movement as it relates to dance, including correct terminology
C3. Responsible Practices: demonstrate an understanding of safe, ethical, and responsible personal and interpersonal practices in dance activities

Unit Guiding Questions

What are points of intersection between the physical body and the expressive body?  
How does intuitive creativity mesh with theme or stimuli to create choreography?
Why do you dance?  What has this art brought into your life?
How can you continue to develop as a dancer?

Lesson Guiding Questions

Lesson 1 - Mapping the Body

What significant changes in your physical conditioning (or development) have you noticed throughout this course? 

What are points of intersection between the physical body and the expressive body? 

Where are the areas of strength, weakness, flexibility, tightness, injury, imbalance and/or hyper-extension in your body?

 
Lesson 2 - The Healing Art of Dance
How does training in a variety of dance forms expand your awareness of the possible positions and movements of different parts of your body (your kinesthetic range?)
How can you continue to develop physically, emotionally,intellectually and creatively as a dancer? 
How can you apply your knowledge of dance techniques and training methods to address your body's needs?
Lesson 3 - Dancing Ourselves
What concrete movements and choreographic structures can you use to illustrate the abstract idea you want to express?

How does intuitive creativity mesh with theme or stimuli to create choreography?

What personal story, interest or experience would be meaningful to you to explore through dance and performance?

Lesson 4 - The Art of Critiquing with Kindness 
How can you use your artistic community to help you develop as a dancer?
In what ways can it be enriching to collaborate with fellow artists, when working on an independent project?
Lesson 5 - Performance - the Art of Giving
In what ways does an audience become a part of a live dance performance?
Based on your focal points of creating a solo dance, what criteria are you interested in having assessed?

 

Assessment and Evaluation: How will students demonstrate their learning?

Assessment of learningThe culminating assessment for this unit uses the elements of dance to create and perform a solo work inspired by a theme of personal significance (e.g., a theme suggested by an environmental, Aboriginal, or social issue or of a life experience). This will be evaluated using a rubric that is co-constructed with the students.
Two assessments of lesser weighting will also be assigned.
  •  Students will design a Body Map that identifies various areas of strength and need within their physical bodies. 
  • The Body Map will be used to develop a personalized conditioning sequence that combines techniques and addresses the specific needs of the dancer.
Assessment for Learning

Checkpoint#1/Lesson #1

Observation
Completion of BLM #1
Peer feedback

Checkpoint #2/Lesson #2

Side-coaching
Observation
Self-assessment

Checkpoint #3/Lesson #3

Observation
Side-coaching
Student/Teacher conferencing

Checkpoint #4/Lesson #4

Peer-assessment
Observation
Side-coaching 

 

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

Approx. Duration 1 class= 70
minutes
Lesson 1

Mapping the Body

Students individually document  their current physical condition by coding and coloring an anatomical picture of a human body representing themselves.
1 class
Lesson 2

The Healing Art of Dance

Students develop a twenty minute conditioning sequence that targets their areas of need, as identified from their Body Maps in Lesson 1.  This sequence will be used as a daily warm-up for the duration of this unit.
2 classes
Lesson 3

Dancing Ourselves

Students are guided through the creative process and develop material for a solo dance work.
3 classes

Lesson 4

The Art of Critiquing with Kindness 

Students work in small groups and use the critical process to provide feedback for one another's solo creations.  Emphasis is placed on ways to nourish and inspire a fellow artist in his/her pursuits while maintaining honesty.
2 classes
Lesson 5

Performance - the Art of Giving

Students negotiate with the teacher on what they wish to be evaluated on, based on their experience of the process.  The following class will be the culminating task of this  unit: The Solo Performances.
2 classes
Lesson 1: Mapping the Body

Critical Learning

Guiding Questions

Students will use anatomical knowledge and apply it to their personal  body. Specific limitations and strengths will be identified. The purpose of the lesson is for individuals to accept and recognize their current physical condition as a work that will continually be in progress. This will heighten body awareness in each dancer and ideally prepare students to take responsibility for their own conditioning.


What significant changes in your physical conditioning (or development) have you noticed throughout this course? 

What are points of intersection between the physical body and the expressive body? 

Where are the areas of strength, weakness, flexibility, tightness, injury, imbalance and/or hyper-extension in your body?

Curriculum Expectations

Learning Goals

Foundations
C1. Physiology and Terminology: demonstrate an understanding of the physiology of movement as it relates to dance, including correct terminology; 
C1.1 identify and demonstrate an understanding of somatic techniques that enhance dance training and physical and emotional well-being 

C1.2 analyse and explain movement patterns using correct bio-mechanical terminology

Learning Goals
(Unpacked Expectations)

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

  • show a Body Map that identifies areas of significance within their own body
  • understand some of the causes for tightness, injury, imbalance, or other areas of need

Instructional Components

Readiness

This unit should be taught toward the end of the course. Students will need to know muscular and skeletal anatomy so that they can apply it to bio-mechanical terminology.
The lesson includes an initial sub-task intended to identify students’ prior knowledge of muscular and skeletal anatomy.

Terminology

Planes of the body: Transverse, Frontal, Sagittal
Movements of the body: Flexion, Extension, Abduction, Adduction, Rotation (External, Internal), Supination, Pronation, Retraction, Protraction, Elevation
vocabulary that is specific to training methods and dance techniques studied earlier in the course.

Materials

Writing Utensil
Pencil Crayons 
"Language of Anatomy" signage
Notes on Skeletal and Muscular Anatomy that have ideally been taught/handed out earlier in the course

Reference: The Anatomy Colouring Book (Kapit, Wynn and Lawrence M. Elson) ISBN: D-8053-5086-1
Anatomy and Asana: Preventing Yoga Injuries by Susi Hately Aldous

BLMs
BLM#1 Body Map  
BLM#2 Personal Remedial Training

 

Approximately 20 minutes

Minds On 

Pause and Ponder

Whole Class > Review

Begin with a review of the muscular and skeletal system, as taught in an earlier unit or course.

Pairs > Quiz

Ask students to choose a partner and letter themselves A and B. Partner A quizzes Partner B on the skeletal system. A points to a body part on themselves and B must name the bone closest to that point. This is repeated with ten bones in total. Partner B then quizzes Partner A on the muscular system. B points to a body part on themselves and A must name the muscle closest to that point. This is repeated with ten muscles in total. Students are given five minutes to review earlier notes on Anatomy, finding the names of bones and muscles that were not used/overlooked in the pre-learning activity outlined above. Steps 1-3 are repeated with B quizzing A on the skeletal system and A quizzing B on the muscular system. The same partners are used but different locations on the body must be chosen.
Assessment for Learning (AfL)

Once students have collectively contributed to the definitions for the "Language of Anatomy", ask the class to demonstrate various movements to you to see if the terminology has been understood. (ie "Flex and Extend your Foot", "Show me medial rotation in your upper left thigh.") Many of the terms should be familiar to the students through their regular use in dance instruction.

The Body Map and Personal Remedial Training Chart will provide information for the teacher on the students' conceptual understanding of their own physical conditions and their needs.

Assessment as Learning (AaL)
The essence of this lesson is a detailed self-assessment. You provide the tools and the vocabulary for the lesson and can provide oral feedback to the students on their application of these tools.  However, you can observe the a-ha moments as students begin to pair up techniques they've learned with the current condition their own bodies.

Differentiation (DI)

While students are working on BLM#2 encourage them to also consider all situations outside of dance that may have lead to current conditions (ie other sports, car accidents, poor posture.)  Be conscious of students who have unique physical conditions, if they choose not to draw attention it through this activity it is their right (i.e. scoliosis, forward head)

Quick Tip

If it is assumed that students know basic parts of the muscular and skeletal system by Grade Twelve, and it is not covered in course material, a review hand-out should be provided so that the students can properly participate in Minds On.

Link and Layer

Possible alternative training techniques that are covered earlier in the course may include Yoga, Pilates, the Alexander Technique, the 

Feldenkrais Method, Joan Skinner’s Releasing Technique, Donna Krasnow’s C-I [conditioning-with-imagery] Training

Hyperlinks in the Lesson

BLM#1 Body Map

BLM#2 Personal Remedial Training

Approximately 35 minutes

Action! 

Individual > Body Map

Distribute  BLM#1 Body Map to each student. Instruct students to colour areas of the Map that represent strength, weakness, flexibility, tightness, injury, imbalance and/or hyperextension on their own body.  A legend indicating which colour represents which condition should be included. Post the terms associated with the "Language of Anatomy" (including anatomical planes and movements of the body) around the room.

Whole Class > Creating Definitions

As a whole class activity, invite students to aid in the creation of definitions for each of the posted terms. Instruct students to record the "Language of Anatomy" in their course binders.  In addition, choose volunteering students to record the "class created" definitions underneath the terms posted around the room. These terms and their accompanying definitions will remain posted for the duration of the unit or throughout the remainder of the course. Time can also be allocated to the demonstration of the terminology, as a whole class activity or in the small groups.
Approximately 15 minutes

Consolidation 

Individual > Anatomy Chart

Ask the class to individually examine their Body Maps and their Language of Anatomy Charts. Pose the question: If a student has a weak lower back, what type of exercise could he/she do to improve the situation? Consider the various dance training techniques we've studied and use the Language of Anatomy to describe the remedial movement

Individual > Personal Remedial Training

Distribute BLM#2 Personal Remedial Training. Students are to use the remainder of the class to complete both this sheet and their Body Maps. Explain that any unfinished work is to be completed for homework as it is required for upcoming lessons.
Lesson 2: The Healing Art of Dance

Critical Learning

Guiding Questions

Established methods of physical conditioning are designed to cater safely to the majority of able-bodied people. Human bodies are intrinsically different. Therefore, dancers should become experts on their own bodies and take ownership of their own physical conditioning. This can be accomplished by picking and choosing elements from a variety of training methods. (i.e. yoga, pilates, the Alexander Technique, the Feldenkrais Method, Joan Skinner’s Releasing Technique, Donna Krasnow’s C-I [conditioning-with-imagery] Training)
How does training in a variety of dance forms expand your awareness of the possible positions and movements of different parts of your body (your kinesthetic range?)
How can you continue to develop physically, emotionally,intellectually and creatively as a dancer? 
How can you apply your knowledge of dance techniques and training methods to address your body's needs?

Curriculum Expectations

Learning Goals

Creating, Presenting, Performing

A3. Dance Techniques: demonstrate an understanding of the dance techniques and movement vocabularies of a variety of global dance forms;

A3.2 accurately demonstrate a wide range of movement techniques from a variety of global dance forms (e.g., correctly perform assigned phrases that alternate the use of weighted movement and movement requiring a weightless quality)

Learning Goals
(Unpacked Expectations)

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

  • demonstrate a twenty minute physical conditioning sequence that is based on their body's needs
  • using anatomical language, explain why they chose certain techniques from various forms.

Instructional Components

Readiness

Students must be wearing proper dance attire and arrive prepared with their homework (BLMs 1 and 2) completed.

Through this course, students should have experience in training methods and dance techniques from a variety of global dance forms.  

Students should know safe practices in warming up, stretching, strengthening and practicing various dance techniques

Terminology

Planes of the body: Transverse, Frontal, Sagittal
Movements of the body: Flexion, Extension, Abduction, Adduction, Rotation (External, Internal), Supination, Pronation, Retraction, Protraction, Elevation
vocabulary that is specific to training methods and dance techniques studied earlier in the course.

Materials

In advance of this class, the teacher must create a 10-20 minute conditioning sequence that models the student's assignment in this lesson. The sequence should be a fusion of the training techniques taught in the course. It should highlight areas of focus for the teacher's current physical conditioning needs.
Music to accompany the teacher's conditioning sequence.

BLMs
BLM #3 Building my own Conditioning Sequence

 

 

Approximately 30 minutes

Minds On 

Pause and Ponder

Whole Class > Conditioning Sequence

Invite students to sit in a circle. Explain to the students that they will be lead through a twenty minute conditioning sequence that has been designed to address the personal needs of you, the dance teacher.  Describe some areas of concern and which techniques will be applied to address these needs. (i.e. For a tendency to hyper-extend the knees; begin with a series of plies where one consciously maintains a minuscule bend in the knees while standing in order to bring awareness to this habit. A combination of Pilates exercises with some other variations of sit-ups could follow to address lower back pain. One could conclude with a vigorous sequence of exercises inspired by Capoeira to enhance cardiovascular ability. If flexibility comes naturally, there could be a minimal amount of stretching). Lead the students through your twenty minute conditioning sequence. Be aware that the intention of this exercise is to model how a dancer can tailor and synthesize methods to meet their own needs.
Assessment for Learning (AfL)

During Action!, circulate around the room and check that each student has completed both the Body Map and Building My Own Conditioning Sequence BLMs. Offer suggestions or corrections to students who did not complete the assignment or who misunderstood some of the terminology.

Assessment as Learning (AaL)
At the halfway point in Action! (during both lessons) gain the attention of the class. Tell students to pair up with the two students closest to them for "Share and Question."  Each group member reports to the others where they are in their process. They are then allowed to present the group with one problem they are having so that the other two might provide some solutions (i.e. transitioning from one section to the next.)  This assessment should last no more than 5-10 minutes.
Differentiation (DI) 

Keeping in mind that your warm-up is designed for your body (as modeling is the intention), be aware of students whose injuries or inclinations differ from your own. Perhaps draw these students aside in advance of your conditioning sequence and provide them with some modifications or alternatives to the practice.

Quick Tip

Encourage students to draw on any method of physical conditioning that they have learned outside of dance class (i.e. sport, gymnastic, aerobic)

Link and Layer

Remind students of ways that they have worked successfully in the past when doing independent work in a group setting. (i.e. Face a Wall, wear an iPod, space yourself away from someone who will be a distraction to your work).

Approximately  90 minutes

Action! 

Individual > Creating a Conditioning Sequence

Reinforce to students that the conditioning sequence they participated in was designed to address the needs of you, the teacher. Explain that it is now the students' turn to develop their own conditioning sequence. Prompt: Thank you for participating in my personal conditioning sequence. Depending on my health, and whether or not I'm performing, this sequence changes from month to month, or even week to week. I invite you now to develop your own conditioning sequence that address the needs identified in your Body Maps. Use the ideas you came up with in your Personal Remedial Training charts to weave together your practice. Distribute BLM #3 Building My Own Conditioning Sequence.  Read the instructions aloud to the group. Encourage students to work independently on their sequence. Two classes should be dedicated to this lesson. Encourage students to bring music to the second class so they can set their sequence.

Approximately 20 minutes

Consolidation 

Individual > Reflection

Reconvene in a circle and ask students to consider the following questions:  
What challenges did you find in putting together your sequence?
What strategies did you use while transitioning or fusing various methods together?
What are the advantages/disadvantages of using a set method over creating one of your own?

Students should record their answers in their dance journals. (Alternately, this could be done as an exit card). Tell the students that once set, the individual conditioning sequences will be practiced on a daily basis for the remainder of the unit.
Lesson 3: Dancing Ourselves

Critical Learning

Guiding Questions

A solo performance provides a dancer with the opportunity to deeply explore the nature of the theme to be presented, but perhaps more importantly it is an opportunity to explore the Self. Dancing alone before an audience puts one in both a vulnerable and empowering situation. In preparation for this moment, a dancer can journey through the creative and critical process, uncovering and discovering ways to express the physical and emotional body.

What concrete movements and choreographic structures can you use to illustrate the abstract idea you want to express?

How does intuitive creativity mesh with theme or stimuli to create choreography?

What personal story, interest or experience would be meaningful to you to explore through dance and performance?

Curriculum Expectations

Learning Goals

Creating, Presenting and Performing
A2. Choreography and Composition: combine the elements of dance in a variety of ways in composing individual and ensemble dance creations;
A2.2 create a complex dance composition that explores an abstract theme
A2.3 use a variety of compositional approaches in developing dance creations that explore complex, challenging themes and moods 

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

A4.3 demonstrate both an intellectual and an emotional understanding of the artistic and expressive intent of a work in rehearsals and performances 

Learning Goals
(Unpacked Expectations)

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

  • identify Dancers who have created solo works
  • use the creative process to compose a solo dance 

Instructional Components

Readiness

Students will need to be familiar with choreographic forms, structures and techniques.  As a diagnostic activity, the teacher may wish to review compositional tools (i.e. retrograde, use of levels, rondo) and discuss with the class how these tools could be utilized while choreographing for one dancer.

Terminology

Space
Shape
Time
Energy
Stimulus

Materials

Television or LCD projector
Recordings of Solo Dance performances
Scrap Paper
Writing Utensil

BLMs
BLM #4 Planning and Focusing for My Solo
BLM #5 Record of Student Conferences

 

Approximately 40 minutes

Minds On 

Pause and Ponder

Individual > Conditioning Sequence

Ask students to enter the class and immediately begin their personal Conditioning Sequence. (20 minutes). When students have finished, give general feedback on what you saw while the students were running through their sequences. Prompt: Many of you arrived promptly and began your sequences right away - good work.  Make sure that you are not distracted by the work of others, each of your sequences will look entirely different. 

Whole Class > Examining the Work of Solo Artists

Identify the learning goal. Prompt: Today we will view the work of some prominent solo dance artists and begin to consider how you too can choreograph a work for yourself. 
Play excerpts from the work of two or three solo dance performances, prefacing each with the necessary biographical and production information for context. (Possible artists to consider: Margie Gillis - A Complex Simplicity of Love, Marie Choinard - Drive in the Dragon S.T.A.B., Danny Grossman - Transcendence)

Key Questions for Discussion:  

How did the performer manipulate space, shape, time and energy to engage the viewer? 
Who or what do you suppose each dancer was relating too in each performance?
When working with personal material, how can  a dancer use his/her art in a healthy, expressive way?

*This lesson is three days long. Dancers will begin the following two class practicing their personal conditioning sequence. (20 minutes X 2)

Assessment for Learning (AfL)

As students enter and begin their personal conditioning sequence, note if  there is anyone who has difficulty focusing on the independent nature of the task. These students may need extra guidance with unstructured time while choreographing their solos.

Assessment as Learning (AaL)

As students are discussing topics in their groups, provide feedback to them on how you see they are progressing. (i.e. I'm impressed that both of you were able to provide Sabika with some suggestions on how she could narrow down her topic. What suggestions would you give Stephen to help him find movement that would express this
 experience?)

Differentiation (DI)

Ten minutes is the recommended time that each student spend conferencing with the teacher during the work periods provided. Based on the needs of each student, more or less time can be spent. Some students may benefit from having two shorter meetings to keep them on track.

Quick Tip

When choosing solo performances to share with your students, consider finding dancers who are influenced by or are traditional practitioners of forms studied within the course. (i.e. Graham's Lamentation)

Link and Layer

Once students begin working on their own choreography, draw their attention to various forms of stimulus used in past compositional assignments to help establish a movement vocabulary.  (i.e. poetry, photographs, movies or video footage, news reports etc.)  Reinforce the necessity of each student finding stimuli to create this work.

Approximately 120 minutes

Action! 

Individual > Using the Creative Process to Create a Solo Performance

Explain to students that they will use the Creative Process to choreograph a solo performance. Students will need note paper and a pencil.

Imagining and Generating

Tell the students to find a space in the room. Prompt: I am going to give you some prompts to help you find the theme for your solo dance. Only list ideas that you are ready to explore with your classmates for the purpose of  performance.  Read the following prompts, giving students time to answer each one:

List three life changing moments you have experienced. (i.e. Births, deaths, moves)
List three causes or issues that you are passionate about (i.e. Poverty, Environmental concerns, child abuse)
List three things worth celebrating in life (i.e. Art, Elders, Nature)
List any other concrete or abstract subject you feel has a movement vocabulary waiting to be expressed through you.

Planning and Focusing

Invite students to gather in groups of three and discuss their possible topics. Distribute BLM #4 Planning and Focusing for My Solo.  Each member has a chance to read aloud their three favoured ideas. The other two group members provide feedback, regarding which subject sounds the most intriguing and where resources might be found for stimulus

Exploring and Experimenting

Give students at least two full classes to use as work periods for choreography. Each class begins with the students' Personal Conditioning Sequences.

Approximately 10 minutes

Consolidation 

Individual > Conferencing

Meet individually with each student during the Exploring and Experimenting phase of the Creative Process. Suggest resources, provide direct instruction, remind student of elements, techniques and conventions. Use BLM #5 as a record of the outcome of each conference.

Lesson 4: The Art of Critiquing with Kindness

Critical Learning

Guiding Questions

Artists need to feel comfortable relying on their peers for feedback and guidance. It is important for a work to be vetted in a safe environment before it is presented to an audience. Equally as important, it is a dancer's responsibility to his/her community to become adept at providing honest and well-meaning feedback when presented with works-in-progress. 

How can you use your artistic community to help you develop as a dancer?
In what ways can it be enriching to collaborate with fellow artists, when working on an independent project?

Curriculum Expectation

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; 
A4. Performance: apply dance presentation skills in a variety of contexts and performances. 
A4.1 revise, refine, and polish movement execution and choreography, with particular attention to how each detail contributes to the whole and to the intended effect 

B Reflecting, Responding and Analyzing
B1. Critical Analysis Process: use the critical analysis process to reflect on and evaluate their own and others’ dance works and activities;
B1.2 develop appropriate criteria and use them to interpret, analyse, and evaluate both the content and the fluency or expressiveness of a broad range of student compositions
Learning Goals
(Unpacked Expectations)

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

  • give meaningful criticism to their peers with the intention of helping to create a more refined dance
  • perform their solos as a work-in-progress to a group of their peers

Instructional Components

Readiness

Students need to know what to look for when reviewing a dance work.  Reviewing a dance work will have been covered in an earlier unit when students have viewed and critiqued a live, professional performance.  

Terminology

Sacrum

Materials

Multiple music players
Students required to bring in selected music for their solos.

 

BLMs

BLM #6 Work-In-Progress Feedback Form
BLM #7 Moving Forward with my Solo Dance Creation 

 

Approximately 30 minutes

Minds On 

Pause and Ponder

Individual > Conditioning Sequence

Begin the class by inviting students to warm-up using their personal conditioning sequence. (20 minutes)

Individual > Visualization

Direct students to find a comfortable seated position that allows their spine to be straight; sacrum rooted to the ground and crown of head reaching toward the sky. Tell everyone to close their eyes. Provide the class with the following situations to contemplate in meditation (10 minutes).  

Prompt: Think of a time you were given feedback in a way that made you feel defeated, insulted or centered out.  *pause*  Now recreate that same scenario. This time, imagine a way that the critic could have communicated to you in a way that made you excited about your work and willing to make changes for the purpose of enhancement. 

Remember a time when you were given feedback that genuinely helped you to improve a project. *pause*  Try to identify what it was about this helper's tone, words or body language that made you feel safe, motivated and supported. Take a moment to acknowledge the work and dedication you have put forth in conditioning your body and developing your solo. *pause*  Imagine that each individual in our class has put forth the same, or even more effort than you. What kind of language,  tone of voice and body language can we offer one another to help each person's work progress?

Note: The script outlined above is a suggested guideline to follow that targets key elements of the lesson. 

Assessment for Learning (AfL)

While guiding students through the meditation, note if there are students who are not taking the exercise seriously. A private conversation prior to Action! may be necessary with those who are unfocused. For students to share their work and be open to giving and receiving feedback, they must feel safe and be in a positive, constructive mind-frame.

Assessment as Learning (AaL)

Plan in advance to join groups who have struggling members. Casually participate in the feedback session so that those individuals who require more direction in their solo, receive it  from the teacher

Differentiation (DI)

Option to group students in Action! based on similar Solo Creation themes. They may find inspiration in one another's work. Other possibilities include ability/experience groupings or groups created based on where each member is at in the creative process.

Quick Tip

It may be advantageous for the teacher to seek out multiple spaces in advance of this lesson. The more privacy each group has, the more focused the peer audience will be on the solo at hand.

Link and Layer

Remind students that while they are viewing their peers and taking notes, audience etiquette applies.

Approximately 45 minutes

Action! 

Small Group > Critical Analysis Process

Allocate students into groupings of four or five. Describe steps of the critical analysis process as outlined below.  Write the steps in a visible location so students can refer back to them. Ask students if they need clarification on any of the steps. Distribute copies of BLM #6 Work-In-Progress Feedback Form to each student.

Producing Preliminary Work

One at a time, students perform their solo dance creations. While one dancer is performing, the others take notes on the performer's copy of BLM #6.

Initial Reactions

When one dancer finishes performing, each audience member reports what they felt while watching the dance or something the dance reminded them of. (e.g.: "I felt lonely, cold and isolated while you were performing. Watching this piece reminded me of people working day-in and day-out on an assembly line.")

Descriptions

Each group member then describes what they saw in the work. (e.g.: What stands out in the work?  What elements of dance were clearly addressed? What appeared to be an aspect of the composition that the dancer/choreographer worked particularly hard at capturing?)

Analysis and Interpretation

At this stage, a discussion occurs between the dancer/choreographer and the group. The performer describes the intended message or meaning behind the work. The audience contemplates this and compares it to their initial reactions. Cultural context is brought into the picture and the audience helps the performer by sharing their personal interpretations and analysis. Both performer and audience try to put their ideas into context by sharing possible influences on their individual interpretations of the dance.

Expression of an Informed Point of View

Finally, each audience member identifies what they feel could use further exploration in the dance so that the dancer/choreographer has guidance in refinement and polishing. Audience members pass on BLM #6 to the performer for reference.

Approximately 10 minutes

Consolidation 

Distribute BLM #7 Moving Forward with my Solo Dance Creation.  
Ask students to quietly and independently complete this form and collect it before the class is dismissed.

Lesson 5: Performance, the Art of Giving

Critical Learning

Guiding Questions

The only person who genuinely knows what is learned in an experience is the student. Though the teacher is given the authority to evaluate learning, the student is the true assessor. In the final lesson of this unit, students will be given the opportunity to consider their personal journey through "Embodying the Dancer". As a group, the class will be consulted on what criteria they wish to be evaluated on. The students will learn to take partial ownership of the evaluative process. 

In what ways does an audience become a part of a live dance performance?
Based on your focal points of creating a solo dance, what criteria are you interested in having assessed?

Curriculum Expectations

Learning Goals

Creating, Presenting, Performing
A4. Performance: apply dance presentation skills in a variety of contexts and performances. 
A4.2 use a variety of tools of stagecraft in increasingly complex or imaginative ways to enhance their dance performances 
A4.3 demonstrate both an intellectual and an emotional understanding of the artistic and expressive intent of a work in rehearsals and performances 
Foundations

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

C3.1 model responsible, constructive behaviour in interactions with others during the creation and production processes 
C3.2 demonstrate leadership skills during the creation and production processes
Learning Goals
(Unpacked Expectations)
At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:
  • work cooperatively to assist the teacher in determining what should be assessed in the Solo Dance Creation
  • determine what has been most meaningful to them through the process of the unit and the creation of their dance
  • perform their solo dance creations for the class

Instructional Components

Readiness

Students need to be familiar with the four categories of assessment and how dance course material can be assessed under each heading.

Students need to be mentally, physically and emotionally prepared for the performance.  At the end of the first class in this lesson, it may be wise for teachers to give an overview of what the following day will look like so the students can visualize it.

Terminology

Knowledge/Understanding
Thinking/Inquiry
Communication
Application

Materials

Dancers must bring selected music for their solo
Sound System
Markers

BLMs
BLM #8 Brainstorming Assessment Criteria for the Solo Dance Performance
Completed BLMs 1, 2 and 3; ready for submission

 

Approximately 30 minutes

Minds On 

Pause and Ponder

Individual > Conditioning Sequence

*At the start of the first class in this lesson, have students practice their conditioning sequence for the last time.  Ask students to submit BLMs 1, 2 and 3 for assessment.

Individual/Pairs/Whole Class > Think, Pair Share

Tell the class to think quietly for a moment about their opinion with regards to the following question: "What is important for the audience to appreciate when I perform?" Give the students wait time to consider multiple answers. Invite students to find a partner within the class. Instruct the students to share their thoughts with their partner and encourage the class to practice good listening skills. Inform the students in advance that you will be calling on them to share their partner's information. Invite individuals to share with the class what their partner shared with them.

Assessment for Learning (AfL)

Surface assumptions and prior student experiences about small group work

Assessment as Learning (AaL)

Alternatively, the first class in this lesson can be done earlier in the unit so students can use the criteria they've established to self-assess while working. The current ordering of lessons allows students to give  information to the teacher on what really matters in their completed work.

Differentiation (DI)

If the location that the students are performing in is different than the rehearsal space, ensure that dancers have an opportunity to practice in that space.  his is especially important for students who are nervous or who find visual/spatial tasks challenging.

Quick Tip

Invite students from grades 9 or 10 to watch the culminating task for this unit. It will provide the grade 12's with the excitement of presenting in front of an audience. 

Link and Layer

Call on students to give examples of successful co-operative learning.

Approximately  40 minutes

Action! 

Small Group > Graphic Organizers, Lettered Heads

Divide students into groups of 4. Direct them to letter themselves A-D. Announce that A's are recorders, B's discussion leaders, C's messengers and D's presenters. Distribute a ledger sized copy of BLM #8 Brainstorming Assessment Criteria for the Solo Dance Performance along with a marker to each group. Direct students to think of as many answers as possible under each heading. Allow ten minutes for this recording activity in the first group. Explain that B's are responsible for ensuring that each group member is contributing ideas while A's record the information. Instruct the C's to go and find another group. There, the messenger shares the ideas he/she recalls that the new group has not included. The new group may choose to include these ideas or not. Tell messengers to return to their original groups. Invite D's to take turns presenting their information. After the first group, ask later groups to only share ideas that have not been covered. Collect the Graphic Organizers. Use these to develop the rubric for Solo Dance Performance.

Approximately 70 minutes

Consolidation 

Whole Class > Sharing of Solo Dance Creations

Lead students in a short breathing or focusing exercise before giving them time to prepare for their performances. Organize in advance the order of the presentations. 

Enjoy the work of your students while using the collectively constructed rubric to assess each student's Solo Dance Creation.

Time permitting, have audience members describe their experience of each solo creation. Remind audience members that each performance is a gift to its audience; all feedback should be given graciously.