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Dance is both a physical activity and a mode of artistic expression in which ideas are expressed and shared. It is an art form in which the dancer is the instrument and movement is the medium. As students cultivate and refine dance skills and techniques, they develop both verbal and non-verbal communication through which they can create, present, appreciate, respond, and connect to the world around them. Creative movement and dance is developed through purposeful engagement with the elements of dance, choreographic forms, devices, and principles. Through creative processes, students learn that individual and collaborative dance fosters the expression of ideas, feelings, and experiences. Cultural literacy in dance is gained through the exploration of historical and contemporary dance forms and traditions.
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Grade 1
Grade 2
Grade 3
Organizing Idea
Foundational Elements and Principles: Dance literacy is developed through knowledge and application of foundational elements and principles.
Guiding Question
What is the connection between body and movement?
Guiding Question
How can awareness of body and movement contribute to dance?
Guiding Question
What are the roles of time and force in dance?
Learning Outcome
Students examine how the body can influence movement in dance.
Learning Outcome
Students examine the capabilities of body and movement through dance.
Learning Outcome
Students evaluate time and force as it relates to quality of movement.
The way the body moves varies among all people.

Body, as an element of dance, includes
  • body parts
  • relationships to space, people, and objects
  • balance
Different body parts can be used to balance the body.

Safe dance practices for the body can include
  • warm-up and cool-down activities
  • moving through general space with an awareness for self and others
The body is unique to each individual.
Skills & Procedures
Experiment with moving the body in relation to space, people, and objects.

Participate in a variety of dance activities to warm up and cool down the body.

Identify ways to safely use various body parts as a base for balancing.

Use different body parts and body sections when responding through movement.

Reflect on the strengths of one’s own body movements.
Planning movements ahead of time helps the body move intentionally.

A dancer can learn to intentionally start and stop body movements by
  • counting beats aloud or internally
  • following music or other auditory cues
Various stimuli, including images or text, can be used to direct or inspire intentional movement.
The body moves intentionally in dance.
Skills & Procedures
Create a movement phrase within a set number of beats.

Demonstrate how to maintain a steady beat through a movement phrase.

Plan and practise a movement phrase before sharing it with an audience.

Respond with movement to various kinds of stimuli.

Use counting as a way to direct when movements should begin and end.
Time is measured by how many beats a movement or stillness lasts in dance.

Speed refers to how fast or slow the body moves through space.

Rhythm includes the pulse or constant, even beat also known as the underlying beat.

Movement patterns can include quick or slow steps performed in a sequence, which are often repetitive.

Time can be explored in relation to various stimuli, including music, instruments, or the spoken word.

Counting aloud or internalizing the number of beats in a movement pattern or dance can help a dancer know when to start and stop a movement.
Time is an element of dance that refers to the speed and rhythm of movement.
Skills & Procedures
Alter movement by varying speed and responding to different rhythms.

Demonstrate how to move to a steady beat at various speeds.

Experience counting beats silently or aloud to direct movement.

Identify the number of beats in various movement patterns.

Participate in dances that are performed to music or the spoken word.

Respond to various stimuli in the exploration of time in dance.
Balanced movements can be performed individually or with others.

Objects or props can aid balanced movements.

Balancing the body may be required to create a shape in stillness.
Balance of the body in dance is important for safety and creative movement.
Skills & Procedures
Explore movements that would require balance.

Use people, props, or objects to support balanced movements.
Strength, flexibility, and safety are promoted through warm-ups, cool-downs, and awareness of the body.
Dance requires an awareness of physical safety when moving individually and with others.
Skills & Procedures
Participate in warm-up and cool-down activities for the body.

Discuss how to solve problems or challenges related to moving safely within general space.
Concepts of time can be combined with other elements of dance, including
  • space: place, size, levels, directions, pathways, and focus
  • body: body parts; relationships; shapes, including symmetry and asymmetry; and balance
  • force: energy, weight, and flow
Time can be explored in relation to other elements of dance.
Skills & Procedures
Combine element of time with other elements of dance in movement exploration.
Bodies can create shapes while moving or still.

Formations for a dance can incorporate many bodies to create shapes, including circles and lines.

Shapes can be created with the body by adjusting
  • levels, including high and low
  • size, including small and big
  • position of body parts
Shapes can be created with the body, individually or with others.
Skills & Procedures
Observe how the body can form shapes when moving or still.

Create shapes while still or moving.

Create body shapes individually and with others.

Experience how to create and sustain circle and line formations when dancing in a group.

Investigate how changing the size, level, or position of the body can create shapes.
Symmetrical body shapes are created through body positions.

Maintaining symmetrical formations when dancing in circles and lines requires awareness of other dancers.

The body can create shapes individually, with others, or with objects to reflect various positions (prepositions).
Movement can be used to create symmetrical body shapes.
Skills & Procedures
Create symmetrical body shapes independently and with others.

Sustain dance formations while moving in groups.
Force is an element of dance that includes energy and weight.

Force has energy that can be described using qualities, including
  • smooth or sustained energy that is continuous
  • sharp energy that produces force through sudden movements and ends quickly, including slash, punch, jump, or kick
Movements executed with strong weight require more muscular force.

Movements executed with light weight require little muscular force.

Applying force to locomotor and non-locomotor movements requires
  • a warm-up to prepare muscles
  • body control
  • awareness for safe movement practices
Music qualities can direct how a movement is performed, including
  • accents
  • patterns
  • speed
  • dynamics
Force is the amount of energy the body uses and releases in dance.
Skills & Procedures
Differentiate between smooth and sharp energy.

Discuss the importance of awareness for others when applying force, speed, and change of direction during movement along various pathways and in various formations.

Identify how the quality of a movement can vary when strong or light weight is applied.

Participate in warm-ups that prepare the body’s muscles for executing force.

Perform movements that reflect the qualities of energy in various pieces of music.
Movement can occur in personal space (self space) or in shared space (general space).

The body can travel from one place to another (locomotor).

The body can move in personal space and not travel (non-locomotor).

Movement can occur to a steady beat.

Counting beats aloud can help direct when a movement should begin and end.

Movement speed can be fast or slow.

The body can move using various pathways, including
  • zigzag, curved, and straight
  • direction
  • levels
  • sizes
Movement can be performed individually or in groups.
Skills & Procedures
Differentiate between self space and general space.

Respond to vocabulary related to movement.

Explore locomotor and non-locomotor movements.

Investigate the various ways in which the body can move.

Recognize and demonstrate how to move to a steady beat.

Reproduce movements of others as a way to develop movement skills in dance.
Intentional movement of the body can communicate ideas.

The meaning of a movement or dance can be enhanced by incorporating
  • props
  • music
  • facial expressions
  • costumes
Locomotor and non-locomotor movements can communicate meaning.

Narrative is a choreographic form that uses story to give meaning to movements.
Movement conveys meaning in dance.
Skills & Procedures
Create movement phrases that express feelings or ideas.

Describe how movements can convey meaning.

Reflect on artistic choices in communicating an intended meaning.
Force can communicate feelings and ideas when applied to locomotor and non-locomotor movements.

When applied to movement, force can intensify or emphasize parts of a movement, pattern, or phrase.
Force can communicate meaning through movement.
Skills & Procedures
Investigate how meaning can be communicated when force is applied to locomotor and non-locomotor movements.

Observe a variety of dances to investigate how movement qualities can change when force is applied.

Experience how a force can emphasize a movement.
Movement can communicate thoughts, feelings, and ideas.

Dancers can choose how to move the body in order to communicate an idea.

Movements can include facial expressions, posture, and gestures.

Music and props can inspire movement.

Movements can convey the actions of animals, people, and the environment.
Movement is used to communicate and express oneself through dance.
Skills & Procedures
Discuss how certain movements can communicate feelings.

Share thoughts and feelings about the movement ideas of oneself and others.

Identify various ways to represent animals, people, or the environment through movement.

Respond with movement to music and props.
Practise or experience can influence an individual’s capabilities in dance.

Exploring various ways the body can move can reveal new skills and discoveries.

Creative risks can include trying new and unfamiliar movements.
Movement in dance can improve through practice, exploration, and experience.
Skills & Procedures
Build movement fluency and skills through exploration and experience.

Take creative risks when exploring movement and dance.

Observe live or recorded dance performances as an inspiration for talking about and experiencing dance.
Movement phrases can be performed within a certain number of beats.

Counting beats aloud or internally can help direct when a movement should begin and end.

Movement phrases can be short or long.
Movements can be combined to create phrases in dance.
Skills & Procedures
Combine individual movements into long and short phrases.

Practise counting beats when executing movements.

Recognize how many beats a movement phrase can last.
Organizing Idea
Creating and presenting: Ideas can be represented through movement and dance that draw upon foundational knowledge.
Guiding Question
How can idea be expressed in dance?
Guiding Question
How can a message be represented through movement?
Guiding Question
How can message in dance reflect what we value and understand?
Learning Outcome
Students construct ideas through the exploration of movement patterns.
Learning Outcome
Students experiment with how message can be expressed in and through dance.
Learning Outcome
Students represent message through artistic choices related to the elements of dance.
Phrases in dance can be created by combining movements.

Dance ideas can be expressed using
  • body shapes of different sizes, levels, and positions
  • locomotor and non-locomotor movements
  • stillness and balance
  • various body parts moving individually or together at the same time
  • pathways, levels, speed, force, and direction
  • music
  • props
  • costumes
Inspiration for a dance idea can come from
  • other dancers and dances
  • stories
  • artworks and images
  • imagination
  • the environment
  • props
  • music or sounds
  • costumes
Artistic choices can help clarify an idea in dance and can be related to how and where the body moves.
An idea in dance can be expressed through movement.

A dancer is an individual who can create, appreciate, and perform dance.
Skills & Procedures
Respond to a variety of inspirations when generating an idea for dance.

Demonstrate how an idea can be expressed by creating shapes with the body.

Experiment with the degree of control needed for balanced movements.

Create movement phrases to express an idea.

Experiment with artistic choices when representing ideas through movement.
Verbal communication of a message can be expressed through lyrics or vocal sounds.

Non-verbal communication of a message can be communicated through the body and movement, including
  • body language, gestures, and facial expressions
  • locomotor and non-locomotor movements
  • body shapes, sizes, and levels
  • use of stillness and balance
  • pathways and directions
  • weight and energy
  • body positioning, including proximity
Feelings can be represented through a dancer’s movements.

Non-verbal communication requires an awareness of moving the body safely through personal and shared spaces.
A message can be communicated verbally and non-verbally through dance.

A message conveyed through movement and dance can communicate feelings and experiences.
Skills & Procedures
Investigate how a message can be communicated non-verbally through movement.

Create movement phrases to convey a message.

Explore the use of movements in communicating an intended message.

Represent mood or feelings through movement.
Intentional artistic choices are made by dancers to express a message using
  • locomotor and non-locomotor movements
  • space, including use of proximity, levels, size, direction, and pathways
  • body, including body parts; body shapes; balance; and relationships to other dancers, including prepositions
  • body shapes and balance
  • force
  • speed
Movement ideas are shared effectively when they have a clear beginning and end.

Choreographic forms can structure how a message is conveyed in dance, including
  • AB (binary form)
  • ABA (ternary form)
Dancers intentionally choose ways to effectively share a message.

The elements of dance can be combined in an infinite number of ways to create a message through movement.
Skills & Procedures
Make informed artistic choices to share a message through dance.

Evaluate the effectiveness of artistic choices in communicating a message through movement.

Explore movements within a variety of choreographic forms.

Create a dance phrase that can be repeated and has a clear beginning and ending.

Experiment with movement possibilities when the elements of dance are combined with locomotor and non-locomotor movements.
Ideas in dance can reflect feelings, interests, and preferences.

Brainstorming is the process of generating ideas.

Collaboration is required to share dance spaces and to perform dances in groups.

Observing and participating in a variety of dances, including folk dance, circle dance, and line dance, can help develop movement ideas.

Movement ideas can be learned by following and mirroring others.

Shadowing is imitating and following the movements of another dancer from behind.

Mirroring is imitating and following the movements of another dancer by facing each other.

Participating as an audience member or a dancer includes expectations or rules (artistic protocols and etiquette).

An idea in dance can be presented to a small or large audience.
An idea in dance can come from brainstorming and collaboration.
Skills & Procedures
Collaborate with others when generating and representing movement ideas.

Explore personal space and shared space needed for small- and large-group dance experiences.

Participate as an audience member and a performer in a variety of dance experiences.

Recognize how to follow expectations or rules when participating as an audience member and a performer.
A message in dance can be generated, sent, received, and interpreted.

Performances can be informal events, including dance classes.

Performances can be formal events, including dance concerts or productions.

Structure in a dance can help an audience know when the dance begins and ends.

Choreographic forms, including narrative, can be used to structure communication of a message.

Practising dance movements before performing for an audience can help clarify roles and refine skills and movement.

Expectations for participating in dance, known as artistic protocols and etiquette, can change depending on the context in which the dance is experienced.

The sharing of a message involves the dancer and the audience

Audience members can feel differently about a dance presentation.
Skills & Procedures
Create movement that incorporates a clear beginning and end.

Rehearse dances before performing for an audience.

Analyze how movement communicates messages.

Participate as an audience member and a performer in a variety of dance experiences.

Demonstrate an understanding of artistic protocols and etiquette within dance experiences.
Messages can represent a variety of things, including ideas, experiences, or feelings.

A message in dance can be created in response to a variety of stimuli.

The clarity of a message communicated through movement and dance can be enhanced by
  • moving to a steady beat
  • planning movement patterns
  • practising movement skills
  • combining movements with a purpose
The circle is a symbol that can communicate messages in dance, including unity.

In powwow dances, the spiritual centre of the powwow is the circle where
  • unity and equality of participants is valued
  • everyone can see each other in the circle
  • there is no leader and everyone follows
The Round Dance is social dance often held by First Nations communities, where participants move in a clockwise direction in a circle to the beat of a drum while holding hands.

Creative processes can help develop and clarify a message in dance, including
  • reflection
  • giving and receiving feedback
  • refinement
  • rehearsal
A message is at the centre of communication in dance.

Messages can represent what a dancer means to communicate through movement.

An audience can receive and interpret a message communicated through dance.
Skills & Procedures
Respond to a variety of stimuli in the creation of movement and dance.

Experience and discuss the significance of a Round Dance.

Participate as an audience member and as a performer in a variety of dance experiences.

Practise giving and receiving feedback with others.

Rehearse movements and dance before performing for an audience.
Practice can help create a clear beginning and ending to a dance or movement phrase.

Practising dance skills and movements can involve repetition.
Developing an idea in dance may take practice.

Problems or challenges related to practising dance can be solved by asking for help.

Skills & Procedures
Extend movement skills to include clear beginnings and endings.

Identify ways to solve movement problems or challenges.

Rehearse dance ideas before performing for an audience.
Creative processes can help develop a message and can include
  • practice
  • generating an idea
  • giving and receiving feedback
  • reflection
Generating an idea may involve creative thinking and problem solving.
Development of a message in dance can involve creative processes.

Messages can be clearly communicated when movements are combined with a purpose.
Skills & Procedures
Apply creative processes when creating movement.

Discuss how the purposeful use of movement can strengthen communication of a message.

Reflect on personal strengths and areas for growth as a dancer.
Organizing Idea
Appreciation: Recognizing beauty, goodness, and truth in dance can be developed by understanding the complexity and richness of great works of dance, the artists who create and perform them, and the historical and cultural contexts from which they originate.
Guiding Question
What function did dance serve in ancient China, ancient Egypt, and prehistoric times?
Guiding Question
How might cultures from the past and present contribute to an appreciation of dance?
Guiding Question
How can an understanding of culture contribute to learning about dance in ancient Rome and New France?
Learning Outcome
Students investigate the function of dance in ancient times and present day.
Learning Outcome
Students investigate culture in relation to dance from ancient Greece and present day.

Students examine culture through First Nations, Métis, and Inuit dance.
Learning Outcome
Students compare and contrast dance cultures of the past with modern-day dance.
From ancient times to present, dance communicates ways of life, including
  • spiritual and religious beliefs
  • ways of war
  • healing
  • culture
Dance can have a specific function in a community.
Skills & Procedures
Discuss where dance can be experienced in a community.

Share a personal experience with dance.
Experiences with dance can include learning about dances from the past and the people who created and performed them.

Ancient Greeks valued dance and believed that it was the most beautiful part of life.

Ancient Greek dance was inspired by gods and goddesses.

The god Dionysus valued fast and lively dance, whereas the god Apollo valued slow and ceremonial dance.

The formations and pathways of dances in ancient Greece included the circle, line, and serpentine.

Circle dances, known as ring dances, were commonly performed in ancient Greece, with dancers holding hands as they danced around a musician.

Singing was an important part of dance in ancient Greece and is still used in dance performances today.
Culture is what people do and a way of thinking.

Dances from various times and places can be representative of a culture.
Skills & Procedures
Demonstrate movement that reflects slow and energetic styles as related to ancient Greek gods.

Participate in dances using formations used in ancient Greek dance.

Examine ancient Greek dance as an inspiration for talking about and creating dance.
From historical times to today, cultures may have valued dance for ritual or cultural expression, entertainment, and learning.

Folk dance is a dance form that reflects the lives, traditions, or customs of a group of people from a specific country, region, or culture.

Folk dance and social dance can function as a means of participation, entertainment, and cultural expression.

Using vocabulary related to dance can contribute to and guide discussions about dance.

Artistic protocols and etiquette may change based on the community, culture, presentation, and location of a dance performance.
Dance can be valued differently across cultures throughout history.

An artistic community is a venue for artistic expression within various cultures.
Skills & Procedures
Describe how dance can be valued in one’s life and culture.

Participate in a variety of folk and social dances.

Use dance vocabulary when responding to and discussing dance performances.

Demonstrate artistic protocols and etiquette in various dance experiences.
Dance is depicted in ancient carvings and other records, including
  • India, 9000 years ago
  • Egypt, 6000 years ago
  • China, 3000 years ago
The function of a dance communicates a particular style.

The Chinese Dragon Dance is used during festivals and celebrations as a way to welcome good luck to a community.

The purpose of tumbling and acrobatics in ancient Chinese dance was to reflect military training of warriors.

Ancient Egyptians loved music and dance, and used them for entertainment and celebrations.

Dance formations in prehistoric times and ancient Egypt included
  • circle
  • line
  • procession
  • serpentine
Egyptian dances performed in circles helped dancers move in unison and to the same beat.
Ancient societies used dance for a variety of functions.

Knowledge about people who lived a long time ago can be learned through dance.
Skills & Procedures
Explore movement using Egyptian formations.

Observe various styles of dance as an inspiration for talking about and creating dance.
First Nations powwow dances can be performed to honor and demonstrate a connection to land.

Inuit drum dances are cultural practices that are practised for a variety of reasons.

First Nations, Métis, and Inuit dance is holistic in nature and can have individual and collective benefits, including
  • social well-being
  • physical health
  • spiritual connection
  • emotional and mental well-being
  • intellectual development
Métis jigging reflects cultural styles related to French-Canadian and Scottish dance.
Culture can be revealed through First Nations, Métis, and Inuit dances.

First Nations, Métis, and Inuit dances can establish a sense of community and well-being among participants.
Skills & Procedures
Observe a variety of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit dances as an inspiration for talking about dance.

Observe a variety of Métis jigs and compare the movements to French-Canadian and Scottish dances.

Discuss how dance experiences can benefit individuals or communities.
Wealthy people in ancient Rome did not dance, but instead hired lower-class people to dance for them.

Dance in ancient Rome reflected Greek culture, including celebrating Mars, the god of war, where dancers would carry a shield and wear a full set of armor while they danced.

Some dances in ancient Rome had protocols that specified who could dance, when dances were performed, and who the dances were performed for.

Pantomime was considered a popular form of dance in ancient Rome.

Pantomime is non-verbal style of communicating dramatic stories using gestures, music, costumes, and masks.

Dance formations and pathways in ancient Rome can include
  • choral
  • line
  • circular
  • processional
Ancient Roman culture was reflected through dance traditions and beliefs.

Dance was used as a means of entertainment, cultural adornment, or as a status symbol in ancient Rome.
Skills & Procedures
Create movement and dance within formations and pathways common to dance in ancient Rome.

Explore pantomime as a dance form.
First Nations dances in New France reflected the traditions, ceremony, and rituals of the people who lived on the land for hundreds of years prior to European settlement.

European settlers introduced many folk dances, styles, and traditions to New France, including
  • jigging
  • the Pavane
  • la ronde
  • the menuet
  • le quadrille
  • la danse de la Galette
  • square dance (les contredanses en carré)
People in New France valued dance for the significance, meaning, and function that it had in their lives, and it could be performed by anyone.
Dance in New France reflected a combination of culture and traditions.
Skills & Procedures
Observe a variety of cultural dances as an inspiration for talking about dance.

Participate in a variety of dances from New France.