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Lesson Eight: Planet Dance

Unit of Study: Interactive Gateway

Theme: Site Specific Dances

Sub theme: Dance Reflecting Nature

Grades: 9-12th grade

Materials: CD player, music, outdoor location

“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.”

- Rachel Ryan

Brief Description of the Lesson:

Students continue their exploration in alternative spaces for dance. In this lesson students create an outdoor site-specific work. The class discusses Anna Halprins philosophies on nature and dance and perform one of Anna Halprins Planet Dances. Then, the students go outside and find an environment that inspires them to create a dance based on the natural design, dimension, levels, surface, texture, line, structure, and atmosphere of the location.

Learning Outcomes:

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

demonstrate their ability to perform a Planet Dance created by Anna Halprin demonstrate an understanding of Anna Halprins philosophies of the use of dance to heal the body and as a response to natures beauty create a site specific that reflects the nature and physical elements of the environment selected

The Lesson:


a.) The instructor discusses Anna Halprins philosophies, choreographic message, and impact on dance in the 1960s and today (Reading #8).

Movement Exploration #1: Planet Dances

a.) The instructor guides the students through one of Anna Halprins Planet Dances using the Planetary Score handout (Appendix J). As the students perform the Planet Dance the instructor reads a poem (Appendix K). Afterwards the students discuss some of the emotions and feelings they experienced while performing the dances and their thoughts on dance as a form of therapy.

Movement Exploration #2: Site Specific

a.) Environment Examination: The class is divided into three groups. The groups then explore the campus and find a site that inspires them to create a dance based on the environments design, dimension, levels, surfaces, textures, structures, and atmosphere. Students are encouraged to attend to the wind, sky, sun and trees as they move in the environment.

b.) Creating a Site Specific Work: The students have about twenty minutes to work.

c.) Showing: Then the class travels to each site to watch everyones site-specific work. The students discuss their experience and compare the various approaches to the same assignment.


a.) Student Reflection #8: Students write a reflection about this experience and answer the question, How has this investigation into alternative spaces, everyday movement, and props changed your perception of dance?

Assessment Strategies:

After learning Anna Halprins Planet Dance, were students able to discuss her philosophies on the relationship of dance, therapy, and nature? Did students work collaboratively to create their own site-specific work and did students make choreographic choices that reflected the nature and the design of the environment? Did students homework assignment demonstrate their ability to imagine using a new alternative space for dance?

Preparation for this Lesson:

Reading Assignment #9: Students read Anna Halprins Bio and philosophies. Students turn in Assignment #8.

Lesson Resources:

Planet Dance Score, an Interactive Gateway handout (Appendix J) Commitment a poem from the World Peace Society Website by Ariella Shira (Appendix K)


Halprin, Anna. Stinson, Allen. Circle the Earth Manual. 1987.

Shira, Ariella. Commitment. World Peace Soceity.

Women Environmental Directory. Anna Halrpin.

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