31 March 2020

Get tips for dance in the classroom – Skills not Frills video series – Dance #3

Once the learners have some initial movements, your choreography can be developed further using some simple techniques.

Encourage them to work collaboratively, teaching each other their chosen movement or motif, and experimenting with ways to present the movements together. Develop a sequence of movements using repetition as a choreographic device.

With your encouragement learners can develop their confidence and independence to produce a dance that can inspire others!

Encourage the learners to make independent creative choices about how it is presented.

Download this blog as a resource sheet.

Dance #3: Developing a dance performance

ACTIVITY 1: Dancing together

  1. Start by asking each of your learners to choose just one of the movement phrases or motifs they developed earlier. This ensures everyone’s ideas are valued.
  2. Develop teamwork and collaboration by asking them to share and teach their motifs to others, either in partners or small groups.
  3. Explore different ways to perform the motifs by asking them to experiment with moving in:
    -cannon (which means one after another, like a Mexican Wave)
    -mirroring one another
    -contrasting with each other by performing two quite different motifs side-by-side.

ACTIVITY 2: Use repetition as a choreographic device

  1. Ask the learners to choose a first motif which the group will label ‘A’, and a second called ‘B’.
  2. Explain that they are going to perform these in an ‘ABA’ sequence, by repeating the ‘A’ phrase at the end.

An alternative to the ABA is known as a Rondo dance sequence:-

  1. Ask the learners to choose 4 different motifs (A, B, C and D).
  2. Explain that they are going to perform these in an ‘ABACADA’ sequence.

Both of these choreographic devices ask for the groups to choose a central motif which will be repeated (motif ‘A’). Encourage your learners to make choices and work together- which of the movements they have experimented with would they choose to be the most important/interesting to return to throughout their piece?

ACTIVITY 3: Performance and feedback

Present the pieces to each other and encourage the learners to evaluate and give constructive feedback.

Some self-reflective questions for feedback could be:

Does the order of the movements make sense and tell a story?
How does it begin and end?
Is there stillness in the piece? Why?
Is there a dynamic build-up/slow down in the piece?
How do they transition or link between movements?
How does the dance work as a whole?

In further drafts learners can make even more creative choices about how they present their work, e.g. music, rhythm, or silence. They could think about including poetry or text, costumes or props to bring their performance to life.

What next and where to find more help?

LINKS: Watch dance performances with your pupils

This is a series of 15 ‘Skills not Frills’ resource sheets, each accompanying a short video.
This is no #3 of 3 dance resource sheets and accompanying film.
A2 Connect Arts Champions are teachers who work with us to share their practice and expertise with other schools/teachers in the region.

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