Typhani Harris | September 2014

Standard 2: Lessons & Assessments

This month we will be looking at Anchor Standard 2: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.  Standard_2: Lessons & Assessments

Standard 2: Lessons & Assessments, Education Closet Standard 2: Lessons & Assessments, Education Closet Screen shot 2014-09-14 at 8.18.50 PM Standard 2: Lessons & Assessments, Education Closet

Anchor standard 2 focuses on the artistic process of creating with the component of planning.  The enduring understanding is utilizing the elements of dance, dance structures, and choreographic devices as both foundational and departure points for creating movement.  Although the anchor standard does not change as the grade level progresses, the expectation continues to advance.

To begin, lets take a look at some key definitions associated with this standard.

Elements of Dance:  The most fundamental elements of dance are Body, Energy, Space, and Time (BEST).  Diedre Moore presented a wonderful strategy session on BEST at our summer connectivity conference.  Click here to see her presentation Moving Matters.
Body refers to the movement of the body, either axial (in place) or locomotor (through space)
Energy is how movement looks and feels.  There are many energies of the body a few are heavy/light, smooth/sharp, loose/bound.
Space has multiple layers.  Space can refer to a dancers personal space or the shared general space.  It can refer to levels, high, medium, and low, or shape and size.  It can also reference directions such as forward, backward, sideways, diagonal, or it can describe a pathways in which you move through space.
Time is the tempo at which the movement is occuring.  This can be fast, slow, suspended, frozen.

Although there are quite a few ways to work with energy, space, and time, these are just a few to get you started. The following list has been adapted by the Dance Glossary from the School Curriculum and Standards.

Dance Structures: how the movement is organized or put together.  There are many structures, the following are just a few:
AB/Binary: two separate sections of movement put together
ABC/Ternary: three separate sections of movement put together
ABCBA/Arch: three separate sections of movement put together with section C being the climax or highest point and then repetition of the first two sections
ABACAD…/Rondo: this structure has a section that is repeated throughout

There are also different choreographic forms that can be introduced with the structures such as narrative, collage, call and response, cannon, theme and variation, some of these are also considered devices.

Choreographic Devices: are the many ways a choreographer can manipulate movement.
Cannon: A choreographic device that reflects the musical form of the same name in which individuals and groups perform the same movement phrase beginning at different times.
Motif: A movement or gesture or short movement phrase which has the potential to be developed in the dance/work. A movement motif functions as choreographic device within the choreography. It can contain the essence for the completed piece and is usually repeated with integrity and manipulated throughout the dance.
Contrast: A choreographic device where dance elements are altered to create oppositions, thus making contrasts such as high/low, big/little.
Accumulation: A choreographic device where new movements are added to existing movements in a successive manner.
Repetition: A choreographic device whereby a movement or motif are repeated exactly for emphasis or to gain interest.
Reversal: The performance of the movements of a motif or sequence in reverse order (but not in a backwards direction). For example, 8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1.
Retrograde: The movement phrase is performed backwards, as if rewinding a video
Inversion: A choreographic device used in creating choreography that produces variations on a movement phrase. Inverting the movement phrase would mean executing it as if ‘looking in a mirror’.
Fragmentation: A choreographic device where only a part of the movement sequence/motif is manipulated. A movement is broken down into smaller units.
Embellishment: A choreographic device where detail is added to the original movement sequence.

For a thorough and comprehensive list of dance terminology check out:

Maryland State Department of Education Dance Glossary Dance_Glossary_
School Curriculum and Standards Dance_Glossary_

Lesson Seed

The way this standard has been composed the lessons & assessments are written right in the performance expectations.  For example Grade 2 Improvise a dance phrase  with a beginning, a middle, and a clear end.  Working backward, lessons & assessments should include instruction on building a phrase of movement, integrating structures and devices, and building criteria for critiquing the phrase.  One idea for incorporating this into a lesson, choose a theme that students are working on in class.

This could be a theme from a story they are reading, a scientific concept, a historical event, etc.  As a class, map out the concept by having students throw out words  that are associated with the theme.  To start the students improvising movement, have them move throughout the space based on how the different words make them feel.  Separate students into small groups and have them choose three words from the class map, one that depicts the beginning, middle, and end of the concept.

As each group stands up to improvise movement based on their three words, call out different energies, tempos, and devices for them to integrate into their movement.

Lesson Plan/Assessment

Grade: 9-12
Materials: newspapers or electronic access to current events
Pre-Instruction: students should have a concrete understanding of structures, devices, and composition of artist statements.

Title: My World

Established Goals: 
a. Collaborate to design a dance using choreographic devices and dance structures to support an artistic intent. Explain how the dance structures clarify the artistic intent.
b. Develop an artistic statement for an original dance study or dance. Discuss how the use of movement elements, choreographic devices and dance structures serve to communicate the artistic statement.

Enduring Understanding:  What influences choice-making in creating choreography?

Essential Question:  How does the use of choreographic structures and devices articulate artist intent?

Objectives: students will be able to translate current events into movement that articulates their stance on the issue chosen.

Performance Task:  Through a movement sample and a defense of choreographic choices via an artists’ statement, students will demonstrate understanding of the use of structures and devices to depict a stance on a current issue.

Learning Activities:
1.  Have students research current events that they are passionate about.
2.  Either individually or in small groups, have students choose one event to depict their stance through movement.
3.  Build an artist intent based on their stance.  What comment do they wish to make about the issue?
4.  Have students make artistic choices based on their stance.  What structure would work best to articulate their opinion?  What elements will enhance their perspective?  What devices will communicate their thoughts?
5.  Have students build movement revolving around their intent.
6.  Once the study has been composed, have students write an artist statement describing and defending their decisions.
7.  Finally, have students perform their studies.

With so many things occurring in our contemporary world, this is a wonderful opportunity to get students talking about their stance on issues through movement vocabulary!

Next Week: Teacher Talk

Where’s the Balance: Care vs Prepare

As educators, we strive to both care for our students emotionally and prepare them for their futures mentally, but this can often become a blurred line.  How do we find the balance between ensuring we are caring for our students but in a way that does not hinder their preparation for the future?

About the Author

Dr. Typhani Harris, author of Putting the Performance in Performance Task and Stop Teaching, brings over 2 decades of educational experience to The Institute. Originally a high school English Language Arts teacher, Dr. Harris transitioned into a dance educator who cultivated an award-winning collegiate style dance education program at a public school in California. Prior to joining the Institute, she was an educational leader and instructional coach specializing in preparing new teachers in secondary urban schools.  As the Executive Director of Academic Affairs, Dr. Harris maintains courses, conferences, and the accredited certification program at The Institute.