Music and Movement

Grades 6-8

2-3 days

Focus Questions:

  1. What is choreography? How can it impact a production?
  2. How do music and dance reflect the storyline in a scene? 
  3. How do the dance skills and talent level of performers dictate a production? 

Instructional Resources:

  • The Shaw Festival: Behind the Curtain
  • Video and music from past school productions
  • Video and musical scores from possible future school productions


On occasion a local theatre production needs to be altered from its original national format (i.e.,Guys and Dolls, All that Jazz and Oklahoma). Sometimes the musical score will be used as scripted but the choreographer may need to make changes, in dance or movement, based on actor talent and skill levels. Theatre productions are both art and science. The artistic aspect to a production is the performance of the choreography (art) and the technical aspect to a production is the choreography planning (science). It’s a balancing process that producers must go through.  Most likely, there would be a choreographer to do this work alongside the producer.

Watch the video on choreography from the Shaw Festival’s Guys and Dolls production. Students should be paying attention to movement, musical score and the storyline in the play. Listen and watch for tempo, script and/or song lyrics, dialogue, placement and movement of the actors on stage. After the production review, have a discussion with students based on the above Focus Questions.

Useful Links:

Download Icon Music and Movement (170.4 KB) Classroom Activity (PDF)
Shaw Festival production of Ragtime

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