“The truest expression of a people is in its dances…Bodies never lie.” ~Agnes De Mille
“Dance is the only art in which we ourselves are the stuff of which it is made.” ~Ted Shawn
Dance as art represents creative self-expression through the medium of human movement. The essence of dance is to feel, create, compose, interpret, perform, and respond. Dance is the physical expression of an idea developed through a process of research, inquiry, and movement discovery. As students inquire into dance, they gain skills in creating, performing, viewing, and responding. Improvisation and selection lead to the product of dance works using traditional materials or the latest technologies. Participation in dance endows students with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century workforce. For example, dance-making or doing choreography involves beginning with an intent or inspiration followed by framing the intent as a movement problem to be solved – a set of skills that can be extended to problem-solving in other aspects of life. Dance students also display skills in world and historical dance, educational dance, aesthetic education, and expressive dance together with the characteristics of determination, self-direction, perseverance, dedication, risk taking, and team work that are the hallmarks of the dance artist.
The purpose of dance education in preschool through high school is to broadly educate all students in dance as an art form and to promote physical activity for fitness. Students demonstrate competence and confidence in a variety of genres and styles. They perform across cultural and professional boundaries. They communicate and inspire. They take responsibility and show initiative at the expected moment. Investigating the meanings and significance of the works of artists, choreographers, and technicians across time and space provides for the examination of ideas across disciplines. Students connect the concepts of dance to history, science, politics, religion, literature, drama, music, visual arts, and physical fitness. Dance can provide connections with any subject matter and help students to understand concepts important in other disciplines. Analyzing and critiquing dances – past and present – supports understanding of the relevance of the work in its time and culture.
Aesthetic inquiry leads students to make discriminating choices about what they do and see in dance. Appreciating aesthetic values increases a student’s capacity to perform with expression, create dance with clarity and authenticity, and communicate verbally and in writing the intent and context of dance works. Students participating in school-based dance programs gain confidence in communicating and defending their ideas and decisions. They demonstrate a strong sense of self-worth and satisfaction.
- Apply Technical Dance Skills and Language of Movement to retain and execute choreography.
- Apply kinesthetic awareness to develop lifelong and safe movement practices.
- Participate in the dance production process in multiple roles.
- Apply elements of dance in movement improvisation.
- Compose a dance study applying the knowledge of the Elements of Dance and Principles of Choreography within the creative process.
- Research, perform, identify and differentiate the Language of Movement from various cultures and eras.
- Investigate and synthesize how dance developed in terms of the culture or era in which it is experienced.
- Critique, analyze, reflect upon, and understand new works, reconstructions and masterworks using the Language of Movement.
- Analyze connections between all content areas, mass media and careers.
Standards are the topical organization of an academic content area.
The four standards of dance are:
- Movement, Technique, and Performance
The goal of this standard is to develop students’ competence and confidence during a performance. In exploring movement vocabulary and developing skill and technique, students gain a better understanding of their bodies in relation to space, time and energy. Technical expertise and artistic expression through reflective practice, study, and self-evaluation of one’s own abilities and the abilities of others is essential to developing movement skills for performance.
- Create, Compose and Choreograph
Creating in dance involves using the dance elements of space, time, and energy to explore, improvise, and develop movement phrases, sequences and dances. Choreography is the art of dance making using meaning, intent, and principles of structure and design. In dance, there are a number of levels or stages in the creative process that define and are involved in solving artistic problems in order to present a completed work of art. These stages include: observing or studying the stimulus or intent, becoming engaged with that intent; tapping into feelings, memories and the imagination that relate to the intent, problem solving by creating a shorter dance study or longer dance, and using critical thinking skills to analyze and evaluate the finished product.
- Historical and Cultural Context
This standard focuses on understanding the global and cultural relevance of dance. The goal is to understand how dance shapes and reflects cultures and history over time, and acknowledge dance in society as creative, expressive, communicable, and social.
- Reflect, Connect, and Respond
This standard focuses on reflecting upon dance, connecting it with other disciplines, responding to it to discuss and analyze dance as art. Critique and analysis of new dance works, reconstructions, masterworks allows for distinguishing and understanding of aesthetic values and artistic intent.
Purpose of Fundamental and Extended Pathways in Dance
Fundamental Pathway – When approaching the revision of the Colorado Academic Standards for Dance, all subcommittee members were adamant that instruction in dance is fundamental to the education of all students preschool through high school. The fundamental pathway is meant to enrich each student in movement literacy and expression and to be accessible to anyone entering the pathway at any stage of their education. Graduate competencies for the fundamental pathway ensure that all graduates have dance in their personal repertoire to apply toward life-building decisions and experiences.
Extended Pathway – The extended pathway is intended to provide students who are seeking a possible career in dance opportunities to be better prepared to meet the requirements relative to postsecondary options such as university, professional, and apprenticeships. Graduate competencies for the extended pathway ensure that public school graduates in the state of Colorado are competitive in their field for further advancement.