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Lesson Six: Speak Out!

Unit of Study: Interactive Gateway

Theme: Issue Dances

Sub theme: Feminism, Vietnam, And Civil Rights

Grades: 9-12th grade

Materials: CD player, music, pens, paper, images and text on the 1960s

“An aspect of this project that has been most rewarding is the building of historical content. Often dancers learn repertory but merely dabble on where it comes from, what it stands for or even why it was explored. By doing research, reading books, looking at pictures and brainstorming each of us are given the chance to understand a time in history.

- Lona Lee

Brief Description of the Lesson:

Students learn about Yvonne Rainers Trio A, which was considered a dance of the people. Students then continue working on their struggle dances (began in the previous lesson). Struggle dances are based on prevalent issues from the 1960s (i.e. Feminism, Vietnam, and Civil Rights). To help develop their dances, students conduct research on the issues and employ their choice from the choreographic structures investigated in previous lessons. The purpose of this lesson is to empower students to express their concerns about real world issues within their own choreography.

Learning Outcomes:

Upon the completion of the lesson, students will be able to:

identify the main factors of 1960s issues such as: Feminism, Vietnam, and Civil Rights demonstrate their ability to revise and add on to a dance originating from the analyses of struggle demonstrate their ability to create movement studies collaboratively share their dances with the class and observe and assess their peers in discussion

The Lesson:


a.) The instructor reminds the students about the political and social events, activist groups and peaceful protests that occurred in the 1960s. The instructor describes how the Judson Dance Theater choreographers used their art as a method of activism. An example of this was Yvonne Rainers Trio A where the minimalist nature of the work, and its conflict in dynamics, signified it as the dance of the people. Trio A was once performed with the dancers wearing only the American Flag around their neck in opposition to the Vietnam War.

Movement Exploration #1: Issue Dances

a.) In their groups, the students review their dances from the previous lesson.

b.) The groups conduct additional research on their topics using books and articles on the 1960s. Students organize their research by creating a concept web map with the main issue in the center of the page and related research stemming out from the main issue.

Using the concept web map the students revise and add on to their dance investigations. The students expand upon the original guidelines, but now they must incorporate ideas, images, and text found in their research. The final dance should be an issue dance that makes a clear, strong, statement that provokes the audience to consider all the elements of the issue. Student dances must include:

a conflict that develops elements of opposition shapes and abstract movement that represents struggle an ending, either a resolution or confrontation use of text, images, and ideas that identify the specific issue The students may use any of the choreographic strategies investigated in this unit

c.) Once the groups have completed their issue based movement study, the three pieces are combined (facilitated by the instructor) to create a class dance encompassing all three issues.

d.) Issue dances are then shared with another class.

Closure: Discuss

a.) Students reflect on this approach to choreography as opposed to other methods and discuss how dance can be used as a means of expression.

b.) Student Reflection #6: Students reflect on the lesson and answer the following question, How did this method of choreography empower you as a choreographer and activists?

Assessment Strategies:

Did the students use their research on issues of Feminism, Civil Rights, and Vietnam to create their dance? Did the students issue dances project a strong clear protest statement about their issue? Were the students reflections thoughtful and address how dance can be used as a powerful means of expression to make a statement about political/social issues?

Preparation for this Lesson:

Reading Assignment #6: Students review the history timeline on the Interactive Gateway Website. Students participate in the previous lesson on Twister as a metaphor for struggle.



Reading Assignment #7: For Lesson #7, students read the article on Happenings. Homework Assignment 7: Choose an issue that that is relevant in todays society and that you are passionate about and describe a choreographic structure that could be used to make your statement for your issue.


Interactive Gateway Website: Historic TimeLine and Scrapbook

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