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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 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 broaden dance experiences and knowledge?
Learning Outcome
Students evaluate improvisation as a means to organize and combine movement ideas.
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.
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 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 intention strengthen communication of movement ideas?
Learning Outcome
Students express intention as an integral part of artistic expression in dance.
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.
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.
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 did societal change influence dance during the Enlightenment, French Revolution, and throughout the history of the United States of America?
Learning Outcome
Students relate change to historical events and appreciation of dance practices.
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.
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.