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Explore Dance!

Students will investigate different types of traditional dance. They will create a poster or informational video to share what they learned. As part of their presentations, they will either show a video of people performing the dance or perform the dance themselves.

PROCESS:

  1. Divide the class into small groups. Have each group select a traditional dance style. Instruct them to find a video showing people performing that dance. As they watch the video, challenge students to identify elements of the dance, other than the steps, that are important. 
  2. Instruct groups to conduct research to learn more about the dance. What culture does the dance come from? Why is the dance important to that culture? Does it tell a story? If so, what is the story about? Has the dance changed over time? If so, how and why?
  3. Have groups create a poster or record a video to share what they learned. Encourage them to share a video or perform the dance live for the class as part of their presentation.

ASSESSMENT: 

As groups make their presentations, encourage classmates to look for similarities between dances from different cultures. Challenge them to identify specific elements that are the same. Discuss reasons why these similarities might exist.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:  

Grades 3-4:
Prior to conducting this activity, identify several traditional styles of dance from different countries. Divide the class into small groups. Assign each group a traditional dance. Circulate among groups and provide suggestions as they conduct research. Then have groups create posters that tell about important elements of their assigned dances. Have each group share its poster and a video of the dance with the class. If necessary, point out similarities as students learn about the different types of traditional dance.

Grades 5-6:
As a class, conduct research to identify several traditional styles of dance. Be sure to include dances from different countries. Then divide the class into small groups. Assign each group a traditional dance. Instruct groups to create a poster that shows where the dance is performed, explains the significance of the dance to a particular culture and displays pictures of costumes and props used during the dance. Have each group share its poster and a video of the dance with the class. Challenge them to identify key similarities between dances from different cultures. 

Grades 7-8: 
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to select a type of traditional dance. Review selections to ensure that there are no repeats and that the dances chosen come from a variety of different cultures. Instruct groups to conduct research to learn more about the dance, including how to perform the steps. Have groups create an informational video about their dance. Give them the option of including group members performing the dance in the video or having them perform live for the class. After all presentations are complete, challenge students to identify common themes found in dance around the world. 

Grades 9-10:
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to select a type of traditional dance. Review selections to ensure that there are no repeats and that the dances chosen come from a variety of different cultures. Instruct groups to conduct research to learn about the history of their dance and the role it plays in a particular culture. Tell them to also learn how to perform the steps. Have groups create an informational video about their dance. As part of the video, have them include a tutorial in which group members teach others how to perform the dance or have them give live lessons to the class. After all presentations are complete, challenge students to identify stereotypes associated with particular types of dance. Discuss reasons why the stereotypes exist and why they may or may not be an accurate reflection of the dance or the culture it represents.