Lesson 1: Introduction to Composition
- Students are introduced to dance composition through an integrated arts approach. Students engage with other art forms such as music, literature, and visual arts and begin to see relationships between dance composition and composition in other art forms. Students employ problem solving skills on creative tasks, while broadening their definition of dance. Students experience a balanced approach to the technique and creative work in the form(s) being studied (e.g., modern, jazz, Afro-Caribbean, etc.).
- Demonstrate an understanding of the connection between dance and other art forms.
- Apply the creative process to creative tasks.
- Evocative piece of music (with no lyrics)
- Large pieces of paper (newsprint is acceptable)
- Words on cardboard cards or magnetic words
- Cue cards with the following symbols on them: o, #, \, 9, one for each student
- Stack of blank paper
- Glue sticks
Minds On (Approximately 20 minutes)
- Each class, lead a warm-up that uses improvisational or movement technique drawing from the dance form being studied.
Action! (Approximately 45 minutes)
- Students meet in a circle on the floor.
- Distribute one symbol (o, #, 9) to each student and makes sure there is a balanced distribution of each symbol.
- Groups divide according to their symbols and are directed to work in an assigned area of the room (3 groups).
- Each group is given materials to work with while listening to music.
- Group o: use magnetic words/ words on cards
- Group #: use markers and newsprint
- Group 9: use their bodies
- Students work individually on this section of the activity.
- Students listen to the music with eyes closed while lying on the floor.
- Students listen to the music a second time and image the music with the materials provided:
- Group o: each student uses magnetic, action words to interpret the music; students may also arrange the words in a way that also expresses their interpretation of the music.
- Group #: each student uses markers and newsprint to draw lines, shapes, and symbols that interpret the music.
- Group 9: each student uses his/her body to experiment with movement that interprets the music.
- Students individually respond to the music by exploring these materials.
- Students do not interact in their imaging group while creating and responding to the music.
The Mixed Group
- Mix the groups by having one person from each group form a new group, i.e. New group = o, #, 9
- Students bring their music imaging explorations to the new group. Each person has expressed the music in a different way, some visually with drawing, some using words/language, and finally some using movement.
- In the new groups each student shares and explains his/her exploration with each other.
- Inform the students that they are to create a movement sequence that expresses or incorporates each student’s explorations and ideas.
- The movement sequence should be about 30 seconds - 1 minute long.
- Music plays softly in the background while students are creating.
- Music accompanies the movement sequence when it is shared.
- Remind students of the tools for creating dance: body, space, time, energy, and relationship.
- Students are given time to discuss, brainstorm ideas, make decisions, create, and rehearse their studies.
Consolidation (Approximately 10 minutes)
Sharing the Study: An Integrated Arts Approach
- Two groups join with one another:
- One group shares its study while the other group watches.
- The group sitting down is given several sheets of blank paper per student and a marker.
- As the first group shares its study, the observing group members, without looking down at their pages, draw what they see. The drawings can be lines, shapes, or symbols that represent shape, space used, feelings, etc.
- Students should focus on the mood, messages, and images it makes.
- Switch roles.
Reflecting and Thinking
- Students lay their drawings on the floor and walk around the room looking at all drawings.
- Students return to their own drawings.
- Students paste these drawings into their scrapbook and respond to the following questions in writing.
- Lead a discussion in the observing and drawing exercise:
- What did you notice about how you look at movement?
- Do you look at lines of movement or the space that it takes?
- Do you look at the shape it creates in space?
- Do you think of movement in terms of how it makes you feel?
- Students reflect in their journals.
- Formative assessment in this unit consists primarily of teacher observation with the aid of checklists/rubrics for task completion, creative problem solving, understanding of compositional approaches, classroom protocol, safe practices, etc.
- Throughout the unit the students engage in self-assessment, as well as receive feedback from their peers.
- Evaluation of the creative process and compositional work take place at the end of the unit.