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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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Organizing Idea
Foundational Elements and Principles: Dance literacy is developed through knowledge and application of foundational elements and principles.
Guiding Question
What are the roles of time and force in dance?
Guiding Question
How can time and force influence movement execution?
Guiding Question
How can improvisation contribute to how a dance is structured?
Learning Outcome
Students evaluate time and force as it relates to quality of movement.
Learning Outcome
Students analyze time and force in relation to the elements of dance.
Learning Outcome
Students examine the function of improvisation in dance.
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.
Time can determine when a movement begins or ends.

Duration of a movement can change when force or speed is applied.

Duration of a movement, phrase, pattern, or dance, can be short, long, or medium and include pauses and stillness.

The speed of a movement can be performed
  • quickly for a short time
  • slowly for a long time
  • to gradually get faster
  • to gradually get slower
Duration of a movement can create meaning in dance.
Time is the duration of a movement or dance.
Skills & Procedures
Demonstrate how to begin and end a movement pattern or phrase within an allotted time.

Combine movement phrases or patterns of varying durations to form a movement sequence.

Discuss how the duration of a movement can create meaning.

Identify how the duration of a movement can be influenced by force or speed.
Dancing to various kinds of music, to text, or with partners can enhance experiences with improvisation.

Improvisation is a technique to structure a movement phrase, sequence, or entire dance.

Choreographic forms that can incorporate improvised sections include
  • ABACAD (recurring theme)
  • call and response
Improvised movement phrases that have a clear beginning and ending contribute to the structure of the dance idea.
Improvisation is the spontaneous creation of movement.
Skills & Procedures
Explore movement ideas based on guided or free improvisation.

Observe dances that use improvisation as a choreographic tool.

Use improvisation within a choreographic form.

Incorporate a clear beginning and ending in improvised movements.

Explore how call and response can be used to generate improvised movements.
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.
The duration of a dance usually has a relationship to the duration of auditory stimuli that accompany it.

Auditory stimuli can influence how a dancer moves, including
  • music
  • spoken text
  • instrument sounds
  • vocal sounds
Timing refers to moving to the beat of the music and moving in relation to other dancers, including
  • before or after one another
  • in unison
Dance steps may have specific movements and timing, as seen in the basic triple step, including
  • waltz – has a slow-quick-quick step pattern
  • polka – has a quick-quick-slow step pattern
  • schottische – three steps and a hop
Movement and timing can vary
across styles of dance, including
  • jazz
  • ballet
  • hip hop
  • social dance
  • folk dance
Time can determine how a dancer moves in relation to a tempo, a metre, an accent, or a rhythm.
Skills & Procedures
Apply movements to the rhythm of music or spoken texts.

Explore various stimuli as a means to direct movement.

Observe a variety of styles and genres of dance to experience how a dancer moves in relation to tempo, metre, accent, or rhythm.

Experience how changes in tempo, metre, or accent may influence the duration of a movement.

Identify how accents can be illustrated using movement.

Recognize the timing required to successfully execute movements in unison or sequentially.

Sustain a steady beat when executing movement patterns.
The elements of dance can be applied to movements that are improvised.

Ideas expressed through improvisation can include anything a dancer wants to express.

Improvisation in dance can involve taking creative risks in the generation of movement ideas.

Creative risks can include
  • working individually or in groups
  • trying unfamiliar or new techniques
  • working outside one’s comfort zone
Improvisation can occur in response to
  • external stimuli, including music, props, images, sounds, texts, and artworks
  • internal stimuli, including preferences for movements, emotions, and thoughts
Music components can direct improvised movements, including
  • beat
  • rhythm
  • metre
  • accent
  • dynamics
  • forms
Warm-up activities in dance can include improvisational techniques.
Improvisation is a method of generating ideas in dance.
Skills & Procedures
Combine the elements of dance in the creation of improvised movement.

Share and demonstrate movement ideas discovered through improvisation.

Respond to a variety of stimuli in the improvisation of a dance idea.

Discuss how various stimuli can direct or influence movement.

Use vocabulary related to the elements of dance when discussing improvised movements.

Participate in warm-ups and cool-downs as part of the process of preparing the body for expression.
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.
Force influences the quality of a movement when energy, weight, and flow of movement are applied.

Energy of movements, including smooth, swingy, shaky, and sharp qualities, can be executed with weight and speed.

Weight can be described as
  • passive or heavy, when the body gives into gravity
  • active and energetic movement against gravity
Varying the weight and speed of movements creates various movement energies, including
  • sharp
  • smooth
  • swingy, involving a drop into gravity, including swing, sway, or rock
  • shaky, which creates force through vibratory movements, including wiggle, vibrate, or bounce
Force requires muscle strength to execute certain movements or to support the weight of another dancer.

Force, as an element of dance, can create flow movements described as
  • bound-flow movements, which are rigid and can be stopped easily
  • free-flow movements, which are fluid and not easily stopped
Force is the push-pull relationship between a dancer and gravity.
Skills & Procedures
Observe how force can be used to support the weight of others.

Combine weight, energy, and speed in the exploration of movement possibilities.

Explore movements that require passive or active weight.

Use dance vocabulary to describe the quality of a movement when force is applied.

Identify the amount of force the body requires for certain movements.

Experiment with bound-flow and free-flow movements.

Explore how to isolate force to specific body parts.
Improvisation is a skill that draws upon memory recall and problem solving in the moment.

Improvisation is a form of dance that
  • builds confidence and skills for performance
  • allows exploration of new movements without the pressure to perform.
Improvisation uses a creative process to create and refine movement ideas.
Skills & Procedures
Practise receiving constructive feedback to clarify improvisations in dance.

Discuss benefits and challenges related to improvising movements individually and in groups.

Participate in improvisation to refine movement skills and ideas.
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.
Force is felt in the muscles and is engaged by contracting the muscles.

The contraction of muscles is required to execute movement and maintain balance in dance.

Warm-ups and cool-downs assist in preparing the body for dance.

When applied to movement, force can highlight or reinforce parts of a movement, pattern, or phrase.

Force is used in movement through sustained and percussive flow.

Percussive flow is seen in movements that have sharp, sudden, and short bursts of energy.

Sustained flow is seen in movements that are slow, smooth, continuous, and even.
Force is not visible, but its effects can be observed through movement.
Skills & Procedures
Describe how force can be used to highlight a movement.

Experience various dance styles that use sustained and percussive flows of energy.

Recognize the role of muscle contraction in executing certain movements.

Participate in regular warm-ups and cool-downs in dance.
Organizing Idea
Creating and presenting: Ideas can be represented through movement and dance that draw upon foundational knowledge.
Guiding Question
How can message in dance reflect what we value and understand?
Guiding Question
How can a narrative contribute to creating and presenting movement and dance?
Guiding Question
How can narrative in dance contribute to understanding diverse stories and experiences?
Learning Outcome
Students represent message through artistic choices related to the elements of dance.
Learning Outcome
Students use narrative as a structure for organizing movements in dance.
Learning Outcome
Students represent narrative based on a variety of inspirations and through the application of artistic choices.
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.
A narrative in dance may or may not represent a sequence of events in the order in which they happened.

The elements of dance can be used to structure a narrative through
  • movement patterns or phrases
  • an entire dance
  • stillness, including tableau, where bodies create shapes to create an image
A narrative can be structured using various dance styles, which can include
  • ballet
  • creative dance
  • folk and social dance
Choreographic forms can give structure to a narrative, including
  • AB (binary form)
  • ABA (ternary form)
  • ABC (suite), which has three contrasting sections
  • narrative that follows a storyline
Inspiration for a narrative may come from a variety of sources.
A narrative in dance can be illustrated as a partial or whole representation.

A narrative can be factual or fictitious.
Skills & Procedures
Experiment with various ways to structure a narrative in dance.

Construct a narrative based on an inspiration.

Create movement patterns or phrases that can illustrate a part of a narrative.
The structure of a narrative in dance can include a beginning, problem, and resolution.

A narrative told through dance can be similar to the structure of a narrative in text.

Narrative can be represented individually or collectively.

Choreographic forms can give a narrative structure, including
  • ABA (ternary)
  • narrative
  • ABACAD (recurring theme)
Dance styles and genres from across history can be used to represent a narrative.

Narrative in dance can be enhanced by demonstrating the relationship between dancers using
  • flocking
  • contact improvisation
  • mirroring
  • tableau
  • groups moving opposite to each other
  • space, including proximity
  • movement and facial expression
A narrative in dance can describe past and present events and can be used to invent future possibilities.
Skills & Procedures
Perform dances based on a narrative in various styles, in various genres, and from different time periods.

Create sections of improvised movements within a given choreographic form.

Collaborate to create a narrative that includes a beginning, problem, and resolution.
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.
Points of view or perspectives can reflect
  • ideas or knowledge
  • feelings
  • experiences
  • culture
  • beliefs
Force can intensify, elaborate, or highlight the way that movements communicate perspectives, ideas, or feelings.

Facial expressions, body posture, and movement can contribute to how a narrative is expressed in dance.
A narrative can communicate points of view or perspectives of an individual or group.

The way in which the elements of dance are applied to movement can convey ideas, feelings, and perspectives.
Skills & Procedures
Create movement patterns that reflect a point of view or perspective.

Share and replicate movement ideas with others.
A theme or concept can help shape the narrative that a dancer wants to express.

Narratives in dance can be based on
  • imagination
  • personal experiences
  • stories, legends, and myths
  • poetry
  • historical or cultural events
A narrative in dance is represented in diverse ways and can provide connections to culture and history.

Narrative in First Nations, Métis, and Inuit dances can originate from the land, including the
  • wind
  • water
  • soil
  • animals
  • plants
A narrative in dance can communicate knowledge and understandings about the world.
Skills & Procedures
Explore how narratives are expressed through First Nations, Métis, or Inuit movement and dance.

Share a narrative that is based on a theme or concept.
A dancer and ensemble can shape a narrative through their movements, reactions, thoughts, and ideas.

Narrative in dance can be enhanced by demonstrating the relationship between
  • a dancer and the movement of others, including meeting and parting
  • a dancer and the music
  • a dancer and an object
Auditory, physical, or visual cues can direct when movements for a narrative begin or end.

Auditory cues can be given by the teacher or choreographer and can include
  • movement directions
  • feedback in the moment
  • counting beats aloud
  • directing when to start or stop a movement or dance
Visual cues can include the use of formations, pathways, and directions.

Physical cues can be given in dance through focus, facial expressions, and contact with other dancers.

Expression of a narrative in dance can be refined by applying creative processes.
A narrative in dance can be shaped by the dancer or ensemble.
Skills & Procedures
Collaborate with others when generating and representing a narrative through dance.

Make artistic choices when exploring how to represent narrative in dance.

Present narratives as an ensemble.

Discuss solutions to movement problems encountered when representing a narrative in dance.

Respond to various auditory, visual, or physical cues when dancing.
Artistic choices related to the elements of dance can be used by a dancer to revise and reimagine how a narrative is expressed.

Parts of a narrative in dance may be excluded, leaving the audience to assume what happened before and after the narrative was presented.

Presenting dance to an audience can include considerations about
  • the selection, sequencing, addition, or omission of movements
  • the use of props
  • the choice of music

Creative processes related to developing a narrative in dance can include
  • generation of an idea
  • problem solving
  • receiving feedback
  • reflection
A narrative in dance can take an audience on a journey by entertaining and persuading.

A narrative in dance may be perceived by an audience in a way that differs from what the dancer intended.
Skills & Procedures
Make artistic choices in the development of a narrative.

Evaluate the effectiveness of artistic choices when communicating a narrative in dance.

Practise giving and receiving feedback in the creation of a narrative in dance.

Participate as an audience member and as a performer in dance.
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
How can an understanding of culture contribute to learning about dance in ancient Rome and New France?
Guiding Question
What is the role of culture in shaping dance from medieval Europe, medieval Islam, and Alberta?
Guiding Question
How was societal change reflected in dance during colonial Canada, the Renaissance, and the Protestant Reformation?
Learning Outcome
Students compare and contrast dance cultures of the past with modern-day dance.
Learning Outcome
Students relate how culture is reflected in dance across various times and places.
Learning Outcome
Students investigate how change influenced dance throughout history.
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.
Culture can be enhanced when members of a dance community participate, communicate, engage, and share responsibilities.

Vocabulary related to dance can be used to objectively describe movement.

The culture of an artistic community can support the caring and respectful inclusion of all participants.

Perspectives can be developed by experiencing the dances of other individuals, including folk dance and social dance.
When communities unite through the arts, culture can be learned.

The culture of an artistic community is about shared ways of being together and reaching common goals.
Skills & Procedures
Participate as a performer and an audience member in an artistic community.

Demonstrate how artistic roles and responsibilities contribute to a sense of community.
Change that occurred in societies of the past has influenced how dance is performed and shared today.

European dances were introduced to the Canadian landscape with the arrival of settlers from France in the 1500s and Britain in the 1600s, and can include
  • folk dance
  • en rond rouette, circle, and partner dances
  • ballet
  • longways dances and square dances
First Nations and Inuit traditional cultural practices and traditional dances were banned by the Canadian government.

First Nations, Métis, and Inuit continued to practise traditional dances in secret as an act of resistance.

Some traditional First Nations dances were modified to align with European styles of dance and can include
  • men’s fancy dance
  • women’s fancy dance
  • women’s fancy shawl dance
Métis jigging is a dance form of French-Canadian, Scottish, and First Nations origins.

Settlers danced in their new Canadian and Albertan communities for a variety of reasons, including
  • to feel connected to their homeland
  • to socialize with other members of the community
  • to have fun
  • to pass along cultural traditions and a sense of place to younger generations
Dance has changed over time as communities and cultures have evolved.

New dance forms can emerge based on the blending of cultural dance practices.
Skills & Procedures
Explain how dance was used by European settlers in Canada.

Experience traditional dances from colonial Canada.

Examine the similarities and differences between dance steps within various cultures.
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, Métis, and Inuit dance can
  • represent cultural stories and traditions
  • show gratitude and reverence
  • demonstrate reciprocity
  • mimic elements of the natural world, including animals and water
  • reflect spirituality
  • contribute to healing
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
First Nations, Métis, and Inuit dances can reflect the history and traditions of communities that are indigenous to Alberta, and can include
  • Métis
    square dance
  • First Nations
    round dance
    powwow dances
Dances in Alberta can reflect the history and traditions of communities and other areas of the world and can include
  • French-Canadian dances
  • Ukrainian dance
  • Irish dance
Dance in Alberta can reflect the culture of those who came before us and those who live here now.
Skills & Procedures
Discuss examples of knowledge that First Nations, Métis, and Inuit can share through dance.

Observe a variety of dances found in Alberta.
The Renaissance era was about all people bettering themselves through education, literature, science, and the arts.

Jugglers from the Middle Ages transitioned into dancers and were highly sought after as dance masters.

Dance masters instructed the nobility on dance steps, posture, and etiquette.

Choral circle dances were choreographed into double lines and influenced the creation of ballet as a style of dance.

The Renaissance is responsible for modern-day dances such as
  • ballet
  • jazz
  • ballroom dance
Queen Elizabeth I enjoyed dance and encouraged English country dances in her court.

European courts participated in a variety of dances, which can include
  • basse danse
  • pavane
  • galliard
  • volta
  • tarantella
During the Protestant Reformation, some religious groups opposed dance because of its non-religious (secular) nature.

Social dancing was forbidden in some societies during the Protestant Reformation.
Dance went through a significant change during the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation.
Skills & Procedures
View and participate in dances inspired by the Renaissance era.

Discuss the implications that banning dance could have in society.
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.
Pagan dances were performed in relation to rituals or ceremonies that celebrated gods.

Common dances performed in medieval Europe can include
  • Midsummer Night’s Eve dance
  • the roundel, a slow dance performed in a circle
  • the carole, a circle dance performed in mid-summer festivals
  • the farandole, a lively dance where dancers form a chain by linking hands
  • the cushion dance, where a dancer drops a cushion in front of a dance partner as an invitation to dance
The Catholic Church in medieval Europe disapproved of certain kinds of dance, including pagan dances.

Religious (sacred) dances in medieval Europe were performed as part of rituals and ceremonies and can include
  • liturgical dance as a form of movement used to pray and worship
  • May dances performed on May 1 or during mid-summer celebrations
  • Dance of Death, known as the Dance Macabre
  • dance epidemics, such as the Tarantella, were performed with the belief that it could cure diseases
Non-religious (secular) dance was a part of court life in many medieval kingdoms and could include
  • dances that were a form of entertainment at gatherings
  • dances that were a source of fun and relaxation for participants
  • dances of the noble courts, which included Basse/Saltarello
Attitudes toward dance varied among different places within medieval Muslim communities.

During medieval times, Muslim men and women were divided into two groups for dancing—one for men and one for women.

Muslim dances included the Whirling Dervish, which is characterized by fast movements and spinning.

The Silk Road provided a means for the spread of Islam to Spain and western Europe.

Flamenco dance originated in India and was inspired to some extent by Arabic music and culture.

Culture was revealed through dances of the middle ages.

Dances in the middle ages may have reflected religious beliefs.
Skills & Procedures
Participate in various medieval dances.

Discuss the purpose of various dances in medieval times.