Brianne Gidcumb | August 2016

Creating Classroom Arts Centers: Dance

In any arts integrated classroom, implementing arts integration strategies like Arts Centers Dance, aligning content standards organically with standards in the fine arts, and crafting quality arts integrated lessons is key. However, there is room to allow for open-ended, creative expression of content through the arts. With that in mind, we’d like to offer some parameters for creating centers for exploration and investigation in and through each of the arts areas.

Understandably, much of what is feasible for any given classroom is dependent on many factors: space, budget, access to supplies and materials, etc., but we offer this today in the hopes that it will spark some investigation into how you might create a space for student-driven exploration in the arts.

Through this series, we are highlighting each arts area to provide some ideas as to how you might set up each center in your classroom, as well as some ideas for how you might use these centers to provide your students with opportunities for open-ended exploration. This week, we focus on Arts Centers Dance education.

The Intention: So many of our students are kinesthetic learners, and allowing students an opportunity to explore concepts in a kinesthetic manner. Students can connect concepts learned through visual and auditory means by utilizing a more “hands-on,” bodily approach, strengthening those connections, increasing comprehension and retention.

The Setup: All you really need for this center is some open space, some music, and a few resources. You might provide a general rubric for Arts Centers Dance performance so that other students might provide feedback or a student might be able to self-assess their own performance or choreography. You might include props such as ribbons or scarves to add a little drama to choreography. Finally, you might include dance or movement cards to allow students a little assistance in sequencing their own choreography, including levels, pathways, and movements.

Activities: Students might create tableaus or sequences related to a story, an image, or a historical event. Students may choreograph cycles (life cycles, the rock cycle, the water cycle, etc.). If you’re studying geometric concepts, students may create movements to demonstrate their understanding of shapes, perimeter, etc. Students may create dances to convey the meaning of vocabulary word, or they may use movement to communicate emotions and other, more subjective, concepts.


  • Stereo
  • Musical Selections
  • Dance/movement cards
  • Rubrics related to body, energy, space, time, sequencing
  • Props (scarves, ribbons)
  • Elements of Dance poster

How do you use Arts Centers Dance in your classroom?

About the Author

Brianne is a former music educator from Chicago and current graduate class instructor with EdCloset’s Learning Studios. She earned her Masters degree in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music and has over a decade of experience in the elementary general music classroom. With her experience in the performing arts, Brianne is dedicated to building connections between the arts and Common Core Standards, 21st century learning skills, inquiry and project-based learning. In addition to her work with EducationCloset, Brianne is a yoga instructor in the Chicagoland area. You can also find Brianne here: