Submitted by Tiffany Rhynard, Wake County Public Schools

Lesson Title
Solo Dance Composition-Final Exam

Grade Level or Course
9-12, Advanced Modern Dance (Dance IV)

Time Allotment
1 (45 minute) lesson for presenting project objectives
3 (1 hour, 20 minute) lessons for composition process minute)
1 (1 hour, 20 minute) lesson for critical feedback
1 (1 hour, 20 minute) lesson for performance/evaluation

Targeted Goals and Objectives from the 2000 North Carolina Arts Education Standard Course of Study and Grade Level Competencies, K-12:

1.01-Demonstrate kinesthetic awareness with a high level of consistency and reliability through the use of proper body alignment while performing dance.

1.03-Demonstrate a high level of consistency and reliability in performing advanced modern dance technique.

1.04-Revise, refine, and evaluate for accuracy the performance of a selected dance.

1.05-Choreograph a dance featuring the use of basic dance elements.

2.03-Validate the selection and use of stimuli in personal choreography.

2.04-Improvise, create, and perform dances based on own ideas and concepts from other sources.

2.05-Utilize and manipulate various structures and/or forms of dance in dance compositions.

3.01-Integrate movement with choreographic intent to communicate ideas with individual style and clarity.

3.03-Critique how effectively technical/theatrical elements in personal choreography and works of others affect the meaning of dance.

4.01-Critique the creative process used in choreographing a dance articulating what was lost or gained by artistic decisions made.

4.02-Formulate and justify a personal set of aesthetic criteria for dance.

8.02-Demonstrate the use of concentration and focus with a high level of consistency and reliability as part of the role of a performer of dance.

Alignment with NC High School Exit Exam:

Processing Information:

  1. Analyze information by comparing, contrasting, and summarizing to make informed decisions.
  1. Synthesize information from several sources to apply that information to a new situation.
  1. Interpret multiple sets of data to determine the best course of action.

Problem Solving:

  1. Plan logical steps and organize resources to accomplish a task within a given time frame.

  2. Evaluate situations to determine conflict and resolution.


Lesson Objective(s):

Through the course of study in dance composition, students will conclude the semester with an individual movement study utilizing basic elements of dance and choreography previously covered in class. Students will choose from three choreographic prompts presented a few days before giving them class time to begin their process. In addition, students will choose from a music bank of 5-7 selections ranging in length from 1&1/2 to 3 minutes. They will be required to use the entire length of the selected piece of music. These music options will allow the students to work at their own pace and take on only what they deem obtainable goals. Halfway through the choreographic process, students will present their unfinished solos to the class to receive critical and constructive feedback. Students will complete a self-evaluation rubric created with the teacher during class discussions. The instructor will complete an additional rubric to evaluate the student's final performance of their solo and to assess fulfillment of the project's objectives. Finally, students will perform the final draft of their solo and turn in a typed 1-2-page summary stating their choreographic intentions, their means of achieving these intentions, and areas where they feel need further development, if any.

Materials/Equipment Needed:

Several boom boxes set up throughout the dance studio; space for all students to be able to work at the same time in the studio; video camera/blank tapes for the works in progress showing and the final performance.


Lesson Procedure:

Lesson 1 (45minutes)
Preparation/Present Initial Assignment

  1. Present proposed composition project at the beginning of the week prior to the week allotted for project development. Hand out list of choreographic prompts that the students will be asked to choose from. Prompts could range from producing an animal study to dancing with an inanimate object to creating a physical/spatial handicap. Give them until the end of the week to think about and decide which prompt they will focus on.

  2. At the end of the week they should have chosen the prompt and acquired the necessary materials. For example: A student choosing the inanimate object prompt should bring in their object for your approval. At this time present the selections from the music bank that you have chosen in advance. Selections should cover a range of moods, tempos, and cultural backgrounds.

  3. Model the process. Offer the students examples and options for the presented prompts and ask for suggestions from the class. Make a list on the board of possible ideas. Begin to brainstorm with the students' ways to translate some of these ideas into themes for their dances.

  4. Through this discussion, develop with the students a self-evaluation rubric that the students will use to evaluate their performance. Using the rubric as a reference, build a parallel with basic compositional elements such as sequence, phrasing, rhythm, unity, and spatial design.

  5. Review and clarify the project objectives and expectations so students are clear about the intentions of the assignment from the beginning. Discuss typed summary of choreographic intentions due at the final performance. Summary should state original intentions, any changes made to these, the influence of peer and teacher feedback, areas, if any, where they feel need further development

  6. Explain time line while discussing expectations. Inform them of the amount of time they will be allotted for creative development and due dates for the works in progress showing, the 1-2-page typed summary, the self-evaluation, and the final performance.

Lessons 2 & 3 (1 hour & 20 minutes each lesson)
Class time for creative development

Set up 2-3 boom boxes throughout the classroom. Group students together who are using the same piece of music. Review expectations and objectives with the class. Provide students ample class time to work on their compositions. Be available to answer questions and offer feedback. Walk around the room observing their compositions from different angles and make yourself accessible to all students.

Lesson 4 (1 hour & 20 minutes)
Works in progress showing

  1. Set up video camera and blank tape.

  2. Call randomly from the roll for students to present the rough draft of their solo. You may choose to ask the students to state the prompt they have chosen, their choreographic intentions, and present any questions they may have for their audience.

  3. Once the student has presented his or her solo, ask for feedback from the class. Encourage students to ask questions, present observations, and support their ideas. Offer your input in the form of praise, open-ended questions, and constructive suggestions. Refer to the prompt objectives and the evaluation rubric throughout these discussions. Bring to their attention weaknesses in choreographic structure (clear establishment of them, development, and a sensible conclusion), commitment to executed movement vocabulary, and specificity in facial focus.

  4. Inquire about their intentions for concluding their solo and establish what areas need the most attention. Finish the class with a discussion addressing the key elements mentioned above and additional areas needing clarification that may have become apparent during the showing. Remind students of final writing assignment and self-evaluation rubric due the day of the final performance of their solo.

Lesson 5 (1 hour, 20 minutes)
Final class time for creative development

  1. Briefly review project objectives and self-evaluation rubric.

  2. Provide students with time to revise, complete, and polish their compositions.

  3. Offer feedback and make yourself accessible to the students.

Lesson 6 (1 hour, 20 minutes)
Final Performance of Projects

  1. Set up video camera and blank tape. Have students present the final draft of their solo to the class.

  2. Have students hand in self-evaluation rubric and written summary of choreographic project.

  3. Moderate discussion on the value and success of the project. Ask students to offer feedback and suggestions for what could make the assignment stronger and clearer.

  4. Fill out evaluation rubrics for each student during or after the final showing.

Assessment: (See Assessment Item aligned with this Lesson Plan for rubrics)

Individual Self-Assessment:

  1. Students will evaluate their progress during development of the piece and the final outcome of the choreographic project on the self-evaluation rubric created during the initial class discussions.

  2. The teacher will evaluate the students using a rubric that incorporates the guidelines set up at the beginning of the project that the students are familiar with.

Special Considerations:

Students should be equipped with a clear understanding of some of the basic compositional elements in dance (variety, contrast, unity, transition, repetition, and sequence). They should know how to use creative and critical thinking skills to problem solve, explore movement possibilities, execute advanced modern dance vocabulary, and establish a cohesive theme that ties the composition together. Students should be able to justify the reasons for their artistic decisions and formulate a personal set of criteria for how they perceive dance. The teacher can be expected to modify, adapt, or add to the proposed lesson plan depending on the level and skill of the students. This lesson may take more than 6 class times due to variance in class schedule, class size, and the needs and ability of the students.


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