Estimated Time: 3-4 lessons
Subject: Primary/Junior Dance and Drama
Using dance, students will explore the concept of a “journey”. They will use different movement activities and tableaux to experiment with ways to represent their own personal journeys and the journey of an object of cultural significance from the Aga Khan Museum permanent collection.
A1. Creating and Presenting: apply the creative process (see pages 19–22) to the composition of a variety of dance pieces, using the elements of dance to communicate feelings and ideas;
A2. Reflecting, Responding, and Analysing: apply the critical analysis process (see pages 23–28) to communicate their feelings, ideas, and understandings in response to a variety of dance pieces and experiences
B1. Creating and Presenting: apply the creative process (see pages 19–22) to process drama and the development of drama works, using the elements and conventions of drama to communicate feelings, ideas, and multiple perspectives;
B2. Reflecting, Responding, and Analysing: apply the critical analysis process (see pages 23–28) to communicate feelings, ideas, and understandings in response to a variety of drama works and experiences
At the end of this lesson, students be able to:
- Use dance to communicate ideas about a journey
- Use tableau to communicate ideas about a journey
Instructional Components and Context
Students should be familiar with the elements of dance and have some experience with tableaux.
Elements of Dance
Photographs of artifacts from the Aga Khan Museum permanent collection
Pairs > Movement Warm-up
Divide students into pairs and ask them to find a space in the room. Partner A will freeze in a position that uses as much space as possible. Partner B will take a position that fills in the space that partner A has created. Explain to students that this is using positive space and negative space. Partner A unfreezes and fills in the space that partner B has created. Repeat until both partners have had 3 or 4 opportunities to fill the negative space.
Extensions for Junior Grades:
Pairs will join another pair, creating groups of 4. Each student will be given a number from 1-4. Call out a number and that student will take a frozen position that takes up as much space as possible. Repeat with students 2-4. Give each group a word related to the theme of “ a journey” (arrival, adventure, lost, flight etc.). Groups continue in the same way, using the word they have been given to motivate their movements. Invite half the groups to watch while the other groups work and vice versa. Side coach for students to experiment with different levels, work in silence, use their whole bodies etc.
**Adapted from Swartz, Larry; Nyman, Debbie (2010) Drama Schemes, Themes & Dream: How to plan, structure and assess classroom events that engage all learners.
Connections: Encourage students to think about the other elements of dance while they are creating (e.g. what levels can they use, what body bases, are they using big shapes or small shapes etc.)
Assessment for learning: Circulate and side-coach as necessary. Determine if you need to do more work on using the elements of dance.
Small Group > Creating Tableau: “Your Way Begins on the Other Side”
Divide students into small groups for a discussion.
Key Questions for Discussion:
What does it means to take a journey?
Why do people take journeys?
What animals take journeys? Why?
What is the difference between taking a journey and travelling?
Ask students to record their answers on the mural paper. Display the quote from the poet Rumi “Your way begins on the other side” on mural paper. Invite groups to create a tableau that expresses the quote.
Creating Partner Dances > Meeting and Parting
Ask students to create a dance phrase. Teacher prompt: You will create a phrase that communicates the idea of meeting and parting. You will have 8 counts each to travel into your frozen image. Where in the space will you travel from? Will you travel at the same time or one at a time? What kind of pathway (straight, zigzag, curved etc.) will you use to get there? Will you travel sideways, backwards, forwards into your frozen image? You will have 8 counts to leave your image. Will you travel together or one at a time? Where will you travel in the space? What kind of pathways will you use to get there?
Give students time to play with these elements and rehearse. Side coach students with questions about the elements of dance. Teacher prompt: What happens if one partner moves quickly and the other slowly? Once you are in your frozen image, what happens if you both try melting slowly for 8 counts? What happens if you present you movement phrase in one spot without travelling? Once movement phrases have been created, invite students to experiment with the elements of dance further by adding the line of text, trying different formations, synchronization etc. Invite groups to share their movement phrases 3 or 4 groups at a time.
Extension: “I am from” poems
Explain to students they are now going to do some thinking and writing about who you are, what makes them unique, what memories are important to them. Model writing with prompts (see BLM #3: I am From Writing Prompts). Students will complete BLM #3: I am From Writing Prompts and write their own “ I am from” poems
*Adapted from Christensen, Linda (2000) Reading, Writing and Rising Up: Teaching About Social Justice and the Power of the Written Word **Teacher Note: This can be done as a shared writing activity for primary students. Students will share their final drafts with a partner or whole class.
Small Group > Stations: The Journey of Artifacts/Dotmocracy
Place photographs of artifacts from the Aga Khan Museum’s permanent collection around the room. Assign a colour to each of the images (you may wish to mount them on coloured construction paper). Give students a strip of different coloured stickers, each of which will represent the different images displayed around the room. Ask students to walk around the room looking at the pictures and select one they want to know more about. Post a chart paper with students’ names on the wall. Invite students to place the sticker with the colour that corresponds to their chosen image next to their name. Create groups based student interest. (If there is a large number of students who have selected the same image, this may be broken down into smaller groups). Ask students to discuss their chosen image with their group.
Key Questions for Discussion:
Why did you choose this object?
What is it about its shape/colour/form that interested you?
What might this object have been used for?
Who may have used this object?
Where do you think it might be from?
What questions do you have about the object?
Small Group > Mapping the Journey of an Object: Collective Drawing
On a large piece of mural paper, sketch a map of the world. Give each group of students a picture of their object and ask them to place it on the map to indicate where they think this object originated. Ask each group to consider the journey of this object. Teacher prompt: Where do you think this object has travelled and why? How might it have gotten there? Where did it end up? Ask each group to use a marker to show the journey of the object on the map.
Pairs > Dancing the Journey of an Object
In pairs, students will create a dance piece using the collective map and BLM #4: Dancing the Journey and History of an Object as a guide. For primary students, select 2 or 3 elements to focus on and guide students through the process as a whole group.
Connections: Review or introduce the elements of tableau. As an extension, student could record a list of what they infer about the object’s history and write an “ I am from” poem for their object and share with the class. You can reveal the history/background of each object and its significance in the Aga Khan Museum collection and Muslim Society/Culture and/or visit the museum.
Differentiation: Students may use assistive technology to record their “I Am From” poems.
Assessment for learning: Side coach students as necessary. Provide descriptive feedback on tableau and elements of dance to ensure students have the skills necessary to complete the culminating activity. Co-construct assessment criteria for dance piece.
Whole Class > Sharing of Dance Pieces
Invite pairs to share their dance pieces with the class. This may be done one pair at a time, several pairs at a time or invite half the class to perform and half the class to be audience members and then switch. How you wish to share will depend on time and student readiness.
Assessment of learning: Student dance pieces may be assessed using co-constructed criteria.