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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 5
Grade 6
Organizing Idea
Foundational Elements and Principles: Dance literacy is developed through knowledge and application of foundational elements and principles.
Guiding Question
How can improvisation contribute to how a dance is structured?
Guiding Question
How can improvisation broaden dance experiences and knowledge?
Learning Outcome
Students examine the function of improvisation in dance.
Learning Outcome
Students evaluate improvisation as a means to organize and combine movement ideas.
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.
Improvisation draws upon the use of the elements of dance and variations in body, space, time, and force.

Parts or whole sections of dance can be improvised using choreographic forms, including
  • ABACA (recurring theme)
  • broken form that combines unrelated ideas
  • chance dance, where movements are creating by responding to a stimuli like the roll of a die or an image
Improvisation does not require a dance idea to be performed the same way multiple times.

Improvisations may not be interpreted in the way the dancer intended.
Improvisation is a choreographic method used for creating, representing, and interpreting dance.
Skills & Procedures
Combine movement ideas using the elements of dance.

Demonstrate an understanding of vocabulary related to the elements of dance and choreographic forms.

Structure and share improvisations within a variety of choreographic forms.
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.
Improvisation in dance is spontaneous and requires thinking quickly in the moment.

Problem-solving skills can be applied in the moment to avoid errors in dance formations, timing, or execution of movements.

Thinking ahead while improvising movements can contribute to well-sequenced movements.
Improvisation is responding and adapting appropriately to the unknown, to the environment, and to unexpected situations.
Skills & Procedures
Apply problem-solving skills when moving individually and in groups.

Discuss challenges related to improvising movements individually and in groups.
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.
Improvisation can happen individually, with partners, or in groups.

Contact improvisation occurs when one dancer explores the elements of dance with another dancer.

Contact improvisation requires collaboration and physical contact between dancers.

Improvisation includes opportunities to experiment and explore different techniques in a non-judgemental atmosphere.

Improvisation can result in the discovery of new movement ideas.
Improvisation fosters social interaction and development of perspectives.
Skills & Procedures
Observe contact improvisation in dance.

Collaborate in the creation and refinement of movements and dance.

Share and demonstrate new movement ideas discovered during improvisations with other dancers.
Organizing Idea
Creating and presenting: Ideas can be represented through movement and dance that draw upon foundational knowledge.
Guiding Question
How can narrative in dance contribute to understanding diverse stories and experiences?
Guiding Question
How can intention strengthen communication of movement ideas?
Learning Outcome
Students represent narrative based on a variety of inspirations and through the application of artistic choices.
Learning Outcome
Students express intention as an integral part of artistic expression in dance.
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.
Structure and organization in dance is achieved through
  • choreographic forms
  • a clear beginning, middle, and end
  • collaboration
  • cues from other dancers, music, or stimuli
  • rehearsal and performance processes including use of on- and off-stage areas
Repetition, contrast, and emphasis can help structure movement ideas.

Some dances are structured intentionally to highlight features of a dance or dancers, including solos, duets, or small and large ensembles.
Intention becomes evident to the dancer and audience when dances have structure and organization.
Skills & Procedures
Choose how to structure a movement idea, phrase, or dance.

Incorporate a clear beginning, middle, and end into dance ideas.

Demonstrate how to follow cues when rehearsing and performing dance.

Collaborate when on and off stage during rehearsals and performances.

Rehearse movement ideas and dances prior to sharing with an audience.

Participate as a dancer and as an audience member in a variety of dance experiences.
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.
Intention can be communicated in dance through planned or improvised choreography.

Dance can intentionally communicate meaning in the way that movements are executed and organized.

Movements executed with intention may be symbolic of mood, character, or theme.

Movement can intentionally and symbolically represent meaning through
  • the use of space, including proximity, direction, levels, size, and pathways
  • gestures and postures
  • facial expressions
  • force, weight, and flow
  • creating shapes with the body
  • stillness and balance
Styles of dance can be appreciated for the intentional use of dance steps, sequences, or stylistic features.

A variety of stimuli can be used to focus intention.

Music, as a stimulus for dance, can be chosen to highlight movement possibilities.
Intention refers to what a dancer means to express.

Intention can be linked to the purposeful creation, expression, or appreciation of dance.
Skills & Procedures
Create and perform dances based on a variety of inspirations.

Experiment with how the elements of dance can be used symbolically.

Explore various styles of movement and dance.

Respond to a variety of stimuli in the creation and exploration of movement and dance ideas.
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.
A dancer’s artistic intention can be enhanced or refined by
  • viewing the dances of other dancers
  • practising movement skills
  • participating in dance activities and warm-ups that prepare the body for expression
  • creative processes
The creative process can be enhanced by taking creative risks, including
  • working with various partners
  • trying unfamiliar or new movements or skills
  • implementing feedback
  • working outside one’s comfort zone
Learning a new dance skill or movement takes practice.

Artistic intention involves the process of decision making, problem solving, and reflection in the creation of dance.
A dancer’s intention may emphasize process over product.
Skills & Procedures
Practise movement skills to strengthen artistic expression in dance.

Participate in regular warm-up and cool-down activities in dance.

Create and present dance for enjoyment.

Create movement and dance ideas with the intention to explore new skills or movements.

Describe how feedback was incorporated to clarify or enhance artistic intention.

Evaluate the effectiveness of artistic choices when communicating intention 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 was societal change reflected in dance during colonial Canada, the Renaissance, and the Protestant Reformation?
Guiding Question
How did societal change influence dance during the Enlightenment, French Revolution, and throughout the history of the United States of America?
Learning Outcome
Students investigate how change influenced dance throughout history.
Learning Outcome
Students relate change to historical events and appreciation of dance practices.
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.
Appreciation can shape individual artistry, curiosity, and engagement in dance.

Responses to and appreciation for dance can reflect personal preferences and perspectives.

Appreciation of dance can change with experience and inform future decisions regarding participation as a dancer and as an audience member.

Artistic traditions have changed over time to reflect popular (pop) culture as a form of expression from the people for the people.

Appreciation of movement and dance can change through active reflection and experience with dance.
Skills & Procedures
Investigate how popular culture from the past and present may influence appreciation of dance.

Use dance vocabulary when responding to or sharing opinions about dance.
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.
Stylistic features and functions of dance from ancient societies influenced the evolution and creation of dance forms during the Enlightenment.

The Enlightenment saw the emergence of ballet as a valued art form, separate from opera and theatre.

During the Enlightenment, ballet used narrative and music to communicate stories.

Marie Salle was the first notable female ballet dancer to wear ballet slippers and a shortened skirt in order to perform more-complex ballet moves.

Ballet evolved from a social dance of the French royal courts, characterized by graceful arm and upper body movements, to being a timeless art form performed on a stage.

Ballet d’action was a popular form of dance during the French Revolution and was characterized by movements that conveyed character and emotion.

Dance during the French Revolution expressed narratives related to equality, freedom, and brotherhood.

The way in which dance is understood and appreciated today has changed throughout history.
Skills & Procedures
Observe different types of ballet as an inspiration for talking about and creating dance.
Before the colonization of the United States of America, the Indigenous people had rich and historical traditions of dance that continue to be celebrated today.

As the United States of America became colonized, people brought with them a large and varied tradition of dance, which became known as folk dance.

During the Harlem Renaissance, social dancing became a way for the Black community to come together and celebrate being with one another.

The fusion of African and European dance traditions formed dances, such as the Lindy Hop, in which dance partners separated to improvise movements in an individualized manner.

The Lindy Hop became a dance culture enjoyed by many races of people and that influenced the creation of other popular dance forms, including the jive, jitterbug, and boogie woogie.
Dance traditions existed prior to the colonization of the United States of America, and evolved as more people came to the land.
Skills & Procedures
Experience various dances that emerged from the United States of America.