top of page

Lesson Seven: Anytime, Anywhere, Anything

Unit of Study: Interactive Gateway

Theme: Redefining Dance As Happening Anytime, Anywhere, Including Any Movement

Sub theme: Happenings

Grades: 9-12th grade

Materials: CD player, music, a new space to dance

“I like how aware of the space around me I have become. I am much more aware of the stage as well as the dancers around me because of this experience. I’ve also learned how to better dance with others as a group as opposed to dancing as an individual.”

- Lona Lee

Brief Description of the Lesson:

This lesson focuses on environmental dances and specifically the Happenings of the 1960s. Students read and discuss a short article on Happenings. Students investigate a new space (environment) and then use this investigation to build an improvisational structure for their own Happening. Through the participation in a Happening, students experience the 1960s concept that dance which can happen anywhere, anytime, and include any movement.

Learning Outcomes:

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

demonstrate multiple solutions when creating a Happening create a Happening that reflects the environment selected demonstrate an awareness of Judson Dance Theater choreographers definition of dance which could happen anytime, anywhere, and include any movement

The Lesson:


a.) Introduction: The instructor engages students in a short discussion on Space, an excerpt from Time and the Dancing Image by Deborah Jowitt (Reading #7). Then the teacher hands out two articles about Happenings (Appendix H and Appendix I), which the students read. The students discuss why Happenings (in art, theater, music, and dance) were created and their purposes.

Movement Exploration #1: A Happening

a.) Environment Examination: The class takes a field trip in the school. Students discuss what details about the space stand out immediately, then they examine more intimately the design, dimension, levels, and surfaces of the space.

b.) Self-exploration: Each student moves around the new space, exploring their environment and its possibilities for a Happening. The class is encouraged to use the space, sit on the furniture (if there is any), and contemplate choreographic ideas involving space.

c.) Creating a Happening: The class forms two groups. Students discuss their findings from the self-exploration and then brainstorm the structure and theme for their Happening. An example of a structure might be to move all the chairs in a classroom into a new configuration (sideways, backwards, on top and right side up around the classroom) or plotting a traffic-jam on the stairwell. Each group then executes their Happening in the space while the other group watches.


a.) Student Reflection #7: Students reflect on the lesson and answer the following question, Write about your experience in todays lesson, focusing on how the space supports the re-definition of where dance can happen and when dance can occur. If todays workshop changes your definition of dance then revise your definition of dance to include todays concepts.

Assessment Strategies:

Did the students Happening reflect a theme and reflect the environment selected? Did the students written reflection address the concept of dance being performed at any time, anywhere, and include any movement? Did this experience change any of the students definition of dance?

Preparation for this Lesson:

Students turn in Assignment #8. Reading Assignment #7: Students read Spaces, an excerpt from Time and the Dancing Image by Derborah Jowitt.

Lesson Resources:

Happenings, an Interactive Gateway handout (Appendix H) What Happens at a Happenings? an article written by Jack Anderson (Appendix I)


Reading Assignment #8: For Lesson #8, students need to read an article about Anna Halprin. Homework Assignment #8: Choose a location either that youve seen or imaged, that you think would be an interesting place to perform. Explain how you would use the environment to structure the choreographic composition.


Anderson, Jack. What happens at a Happening?. Dance Magazine: August 1966.

Jowitt, Deborah. Time and the Dancing Image. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988.

Law, Lisa. A Visual Journey: Photos 1965-1971.

Schneemn,Carolee. Ladies with Attitude: Tactics and Strategies of the Womens Movement.

bottom of page