In this unique performance documentary, DANCE IN AMERICA travels home with Jose Manuel Carreño (Cuba), Angel Corella (Spain), Vladimir Malakhov (Ukraine), and Ethan Stiefel (America), exploring the dancers' personal backgrounds and formal training. Viewers are treated to a work specially created for the four dancers by acclaimed choreographer Mark Morris, set to the music of Robert Schumann. Using Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences Theory to explore the behind-the-scenes glimpses of the dancers' rehearsal process and the culminating performance of the Mark Morris work in its entirety, this lesson helps middle school-aged students appreciate the discipline, craft, and intricacies of elite male ballet dancing in America. |
Six to eight class periods plus homework time.
Dance, History, Writing, Technology
1. Take effective and useful notes from a video documentary.
2. Synthesize information from a variety of sources.
3. Research and create an oral report about a main aspect of the video.
4. Express an understanding of the personal background of each dancer and unique characteristics of each person.
5. Understand the basic elements of movement, dance, and choreography.
6. Create a short dance to demonstrate an understanding of and appreciation for the basic elements of dance and choreography.
7. Respond to the performance piece in a meaningful manner and discuss opinions.
8. Write a persuasive essay defending a point of view.
Standard 1, Level III: Identifies and demonstrates movement elements and skills in performing dance.
1. Understands various movements and their underlying principles (e.g., alignment, balance, initiation of movement, articulation of isolated body parts, weight shift, elevation and landing, fall and recovery).
4. Transfers a rhythmic pattern from the aural to the kinesthetic (e.g., reproduces a rhythmic pattern beaten on a drum by using movement).
6. Memorizes and reproduces movement sequences.
7. Understands the action and movement elements observed in dance, and knows appropriate movement/dance vocabulary (e.g., level, direction).
Standard 3, Level III: Understands dance as a way to create and communicate meaning.
2. Understands how different accompaniment (e.g., sound, music, spoken text) can affect the meaning of a dance.
4. Creates dance that communicates topics/ideas of personal significance.
Standard 4, Level III: Applies critical and creative thinking skills in dance.
2. Knows the critical elements that contribute to a dance in terms of space (e.g., shape, pathways), time (e.g., rhythm, tempo), and force/energy (e.g., movement qualities).
Standard 1, Level III: Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process.
1. Prewriting: Uses a variety of prewriting strategies (e.g., makes outlines, uses published pieces as writing models, constructs critical standards, brainstorms, builds background knowledge).
2. Drafting and Revising: Uses a variety of strategies to draft and revise written work.
3. Editing and Publishing: Uses a variety of strategies to edit and publish written work.
5. Uses content, style, and structure (e.g., formal or informal language, genre, organization) appropriate for specific audiences (e.g., public, private) and purposes (e.g., to entertain, to influence, to inform).
Standard 4, Level III: Gathers and uses information for research purposes.
2. Uses card catalogues and computer databases to locate sources for research topics.
5. Determines the appropriateness of an information source for a research topic.
6. Organizes information and ideas from multiple sources in systematic ways (e.g., time lines, outlines, notes, graphic representations).
8. Uses appropriate methods to cite and document reference sources (e.g., footnotes, bibliography).
Standard 7, Level III: Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts.
3. Summarizes and paraphrases information in texts (e.g., arranges information in chronological, logical, or sequential order; conveys main ideas, critical details, and underlying meaning; uses own words or quoted materials; preserves author's perspective and voice).
4. Uses new information to adjust and extend personal knowledge base.
6. Draws conclusions and makes inferences based on explicit and implicit information in texts.
7. Differentiates between fact and opinion in informational texts.
Listening and Speaking
Standard 8: Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes.
1. Plays a variety of roles in group discussions (e.g., active listener, discussion leader, facilitator).
2. Asks questions to seek elaboration and clarification of ideas.
7. Makes oral presentations to the class.
Standard 9, Level III: Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media.
1. Understands a variety of messages conveyed by visual media (e.g., main concept, details, themes or lessons, viewpoints).
6. Understands how symbols, images, sound, and other conventions are used in visual media.
National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), Standards 3-7, 12
Standard 3: Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts.
Standard 4: Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
Standard 5: Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
Standard 6: Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
Standard 7: Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and nonprint texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.
This lesson was prepared by Courtenay Carmody.