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The Harlem Renaissance was a time when black culture flourished. This lesson explores how modern dance developed during this era by focusing on the lives of important choreographers and dancers whose work was impacted by the constraints and possibilities of the time.

Grade Level: High School

Subject Area: The Arts, Language Arts


  1. Students will view examples of modern dance.
  2. Students will conduct Internet research on the Harlem Renaissance.
  3. Students will create a presentation based on their research.
  4. Students will read and discuss a Langston Hughes poem.
  5. Students will research the lives of African-American modern dancers and choreographers.
  6. Students will engage in reading and writing activities.
  7. Students will create an artistic rendering based on what they have learned from the film and the lesson.

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Knows how characteristics of the arts vary within a particular historical period or style and how these characteristics relate to ideas, issues, or themes in other disciplines.

Knows ways in which various arts media can be integrated.

Knows various roles that musicians perform (e.g., entertainer, teacher, transmitter of cultural tradition) and representative individuals who have functioned in these roles.

Contributes to the overall effort of a group.

Understands how movement choices are used to communicate abstract ideas and themes in dance (e.g. isolation, relationships, poverty, the environment). Understands how interpretations of dance can be influenced by personal experience.