CCSS & Dance: Using the Common Core Standards to inspire Dance Literacy

3 Min Read  •  Dance

Arts integration is extremely valuable in the core classroom, but what about integrating core subjects into the arts classroom?  The use of the Common Core ELA standards can greatly foster dance literacy.  There is already such a nice symbiotic relationship between dance literacy composition and language composition, so integrating dance and ELA can be seamless.

The new national core standards for dance literacy harness the energies behind making art; ideas like generating, conceptualizing, interpreting, and critiquing art are the foundational elements of these new standards. Even the epistemology of the word choreography comes from koreo, to dance and graphy, to write so essentially every piece of movement is grounded in the fundamental ideology of writing the dance literacy. Let’s take a look at some samples:

Grade 1

 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

Anchor Standard 1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.

We can marry these standards through an activity on parts of speech. Have students write an adjective on the left, a noun (more specifically a body part) in the center, and a verb on the right. Then create movement phrases depicting each row.

Adjective (energy) Noun (body part) Verb (action)
smooth arm wave

You can take this further by having students describe stories they are reading in ELA through adjectives and verbs that depict the story. Add in some body parts and now they can create movement about the story. You can assess their understanding of the story as well as their ability to generate movement inspired by the story.

Grade 5

Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.

Anchor Standard 2: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work

Have students create movement based on the themes represented in stories they are reading. Map out the choreography by placing the theme in the center and adding words that come to mind when thinking about the theme and the story. Have students create movement that depicts each word then put it together. Students now have a dance inspired by a piece of literature.

Grade 8

Analyze how differences in the points of view of the characters and the audience or reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) create such effects as suspense or humor.

Anchor Standard 6: Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work

A fun activity connecting dance literacy and ELA is analyzing character gaits.  Have students analyze the origin, energy, and initiation of how a character might walk.  This reveals the students comprehension of character analysis as well as provides inspiration for movement.  You can turn this into a competition in class by having students guess what character is being performed.

Beyond movement, writing, analyzing, and articulating is imperative to creating smart artists.  At the secondary level, there are many opportunities to build knowledge through informational text.  You can have students analyze historical recounts of art, choreographers, art critiques, and articles on dance.

Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.

Anchor Standard 11: Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural and historical context to deepen understanding.

Click here to see my previous articles on the 4 Read strategy, SBAC styled assessments, and the ARTISTIC critique for ideas on writing in the dance studio.

There is such a natural connection between dance and ELA, so be sure to take a look through those ELA standards and let them inspire greatness in your dance studio!

Next Week: Strategies
Lesson Samples for Dance Arts Anchor Standard 2

Next week will be the second of 11 articles highlighting each of the anchor standards for Dance literacy. Each article will provide lesson seeds, samples, and assessments for the new national core standards for the arts!