“Dance education that is developmentally appropriate and culturally sensitive empowers students as they acquire diverse skills and an understanding of physical literacy and aesthetic literacy while meeting provincial curriculum standards and outcomes (PHE Canada Dance Program Advisory Committee, February, 2013)”.
Note: Some cultures do not permit dancing so be sensitive to those children who may not want to participate for various reasons.
There may also be some reticence from some of the shyer students so consider matching them up with students who are less inhibited.
International Dance Day occurs on April 29th every year. This day, which was introduced in 1982 by the International Dance Committee of the UNESCO International Theatre Institute, recognizes the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre. Noverre was a choreographer who was significant in bringing about important changes in ballet.
Since 2005, the Canadian Dance Assembly issues an important message in conjunction with International Dance Day. The 2021 message, delivered by internationally renowned ballet dancer Friedemann Vogel was “Everything starts with movement – an instinct we all have – and dance is movement refined to communicate.” Read more at: International Dance Day Message 2021 by Friedemann Vogel.
Perhaps the most important part of the message is: “Much as flawless technique is important and impressive, it is ultimately what the dancer expresses inside the movement that is the essence.”
Check out some messages from Canadian dancers here: https://www.cda-acd.ca/en/programs-services/international-dance-day/index.htm
The official website for International Dance Day offers a wealth of information and background on this celebration, including performance videos contributed by dance companies around the world.
Dance is an important part of many cultures. Sometimes it accompanies a special celebration, religious tradition, or a significant date. Ask your students to share what they know about any specific dances that are part of their cultural heritage. Students might also enjoy researching dances they are familiar with or curious about.
Play some fun and active music and observe what students do. Ask:
Explain that our bodies love to move. They were made to wiggle and jiggle and jump and spin. Put the music back on and lead students around the room asking them to move to the music. When they are back as their seats, ask:
Encourage students to dance on their way to school, at home, and when walking or playing in their community.
Note: When your students start to droop at their desks, have some upbeat music on standby and get up and dance! You too, teachers!
Discuss responses to the following questions:
Explain that you want students to plan and deliver a short dance routine either alone or with a partner or small group.
The only rules are:
Select a song that has a simple but good beat and allow students some time to prepare their movements to the music.
Allow students time to practice, perform, and ask:
Close by suggesting: Dance more. Dance every day. Love the dance!
Explain that dance is an important way to exercise the body and mind through movement. It promotes creativity and a love of music and movement, and helps to improve memory, communication, and thinking skills. Most importantly, dancing is fun!
Tell students that they are going to work alone or in pairs, or in a small group to prepare and perform a short dance routine. They may choose their own music but if so, it must be cleared by you to make sure that it is appropriate for classroom use.
The only rules are:
Review several different types of dance with students, from hip-hop to tap, ballet, line dancing, Irish or Scottish dancing, etc. Search online for examples to view together.
Remind students that any form of creative movement can be dance. It does not have to fit into a category.
Allow students time to prepare, rehearse, and share. Debrief by asking:
What skills do you think are needed to be able to dance such a routine?
Does this discussion and experience help you to appreciate all forms of dance?
Close by encouraging students to dance more, move their bodies more, and to learn to appreciate the skills involved in many forms of dance.