Exploring Dance Film

Unit Overview

Context:

This unit focuses on the genre of dance film. Students will use a literary source as a stimulus and, using their pre-existing knowledge of the elements of dance, they will create a choreography for film.

Summary:

Beginning with the exploration of dance film and how it differs from dance movies and live performance, students will have the opportunity to create a dance piece inspired by a literary source. In groups, students will create a storyboard, outlining how they would like to film their dance. Groups will then film and edit their dance piece, following the storyboard, to create their own dance film.

Overall Expectations

A1. The Creative Process: use the creative process, the elements of dance (body, space, time, energy and relationship), and a variety of sources to develop movement vocabulary.

A2. Choreography and Composition: combine the elements of dance in a variety of ways in composing individual and ensemble dance creations.

A4. Performance: apply dance presentation skills in a variety of contexts and performances.

B1. Critical Analysis Process: use the critical analysis process to reflect on and evaluate their own and others' dance works and activities.

B3. Continuing Engagement: demonstrate an understanding of the purpose and possibilities of continuing engagement in dance arts.

Unit Guiding Questions

How does dance film differ from live performance?

Lesson Guiding Questions

Lesson 1: What is Dance Film?

What mediums can be used to show dance? 
How does dance film differ from dance movies, recorded performances, and music videos?
What techniques are used in film?
How are these techniques useful for dance film

Lesson 2: Developing a Theme

How are the ideas, thoughts, feelings and emotions that are associated with each of the identified themes expressed in movement?

Lesson 3: Creating and Planning

How will your group use the elements of dance and choreographic forms to convey your chosen theme?
What are the techniques used in dance film?  
As choreographer how can you use these techniques to manipulate what the viewer will see?

Lesson 4: Creating the Storyboard

How will your group present your ideas? 
What choices will your group make in regards to film techniques?
What does your group want your audience to see and experience?
How do you plan the choreography and filming before filming takes place?

Lesson 5: Rehearsing and Filming

How does it feel to perform when you are filming?
How is performing for the camera different than performing live?

 

Assessment and Evaluation: How will students demonstrate their learning?

Assessment of learning

Culminating Performance Task

Students will work in groups to create a dance film inspired by a source. This will be evaluated using a rubric.
Assessment for Learning

Checkpoint #1/Lesson 1

Teacher observation
Side coaching

Checkpoint #2/Lesson 2

Teacher observation
Side coaching
Peer feedback

Checkpoint #3/Lesson 3

Teacher observation
Side coaching
Peer feedback

Checkpoint #4/Lesson 4

Self-assessment (storyboard checklist)
Self-assessment (rubric)

Checkpoint #5/Lesson 5

Peer feedback

 

Unit Lessons: How will assessment and instruction be organized for learning?

Approx. Duration 1 class= 80

minutes

Lesson 1

What is Dance Film?

Students will view dance films and explore the differences between dance film, dance movies and videos of live dance performances.
2 classes
Lesson 2

Developing a Theme

Students will use a children's storybook as the inspiration to create an individual movement sequence.
2 classes
Lesson 3

Creating and Planning

Students will work in a small group to create a dance piece based on the individual movement pieces they created. Students will have a chance to give and receive peer feedback.
3 classes
Lesson 4

Creating the Storyboard

As a class, students will examine the role storyboards play in filming. Groups will then create a storyboard for their dance piece.
2 classes
Lesson 5

Rehearsing and Filming

Students will rehearse their dance piece and then carry out the filming plan using their storyboards.
3-4 classes

Lesson 1: What is dance film?

Critical Learning

Guiding Questions

Dance film is its own genre, different from dance movies or live dance performances.

What mediums can be used to show dance? 
How does dance film differ from dance movies, recorded performances, and music videos?
What techniques are used in film?
How are these techniques useful for dance film?  

Curriculum Expectations

Learning Goals

Reflecting, Responding and Analysing

B1. Critical Analysis Process: use the critical analysis process to reflect on and evaluate their own and others' dance works and activities.

B1.1 use the critical analysis process to compare and contrast two Canadian choreographic works; and

B1.2 develop and use aesthetic criteria to evaluate both the content and the fluency or expressiveness of student compositions.

Learning Goals
(Unpacked Expectations)

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define dance film and how it is different from dance movies, music videos or live performance
  • develop criteria to evaluate dance film.

Instructional Components

Readiness

Students should have some previous experience using the critical analysis process to analyze dance works. They should be familiar with the elements of dance.

Terminology

Elements of dance
Placemat

Materials

Dance film excerpts.
Dance movie excerpts
A recording of a live dance performance
Chart paper
Tape
Markers
Student notebooks

 

Approximately 10 minutes

Minds On

Pause and Ponder

Whole Class > Setting the Context

Have a piece of chart paper on the wall, titled: "Where do we see dance".  Lead a whole class brainstorm. After brainstorming, lead a whole class discussion narrowing in on Dance Film. If the students identify dance film and dance movies, ask them what the difference is between the two? If they don't identify dance film, but do identify movies, music videos or recordings of live dance performances, ask them about dance film. Have they seen it before? Do they think it is the same?  What is the difference? At the end of the discussion introduce the lesson. "Today we will be looking at the medium of dance film and we will create a definition and a criteria for evaluating dance film."  

Assessment for Learning (AfL)

Do a diagnostic assessment of students knowledge of dance film during whole class brainstorming and discussion.
Assess students criteria for evaluating dance film.

Differentiation (DI)

Apply teaching strategies as necessary to encourage student participation in class discussion, and group work. Provide graphic organizers as needed to assist students to create written lists and to give verbal feedback,

Quick Tip

Create a list of criteria before the lesson based on the examples that you have chosen. If the students are having difficulty identifying criteria for evaluation pause the film at predetermined points and prompt discussion.

Link and Layer

Link the questioning to the students previous work on composition, performance and stagecraft, including the elements of dance. 

Hyperlinks in the Lesson

Kaeja films has several dance film trailers posted at http://www.kaeja.org/films.html .  These films are available for purchase for institutional use.

Other sources include:

Dance Film Australia
http://www.dancefilmsassn.org

Reel Dance
http://www.reeldance.org.au

Media and Dance
http://www.media-dance.com/


Sources for information on dance film techniques: 

http://www.mediaknowall.com/camangles.html, 

http://www.skwirk.com

Approximately 120 minutes

Action!

Whole Class > Viewing Dance

Show students an excerpt of a dance film, a dance movie and a dance performance recording. 

Possible Example for Dance Film: Any film by Kaeja Films. (see hyperlinks).
Possible Example for Dance Movie: Any recent mainstream dance movie, ie. Step Up, Save the Last Dance.
Possible Example of Dance Performance Recording: Any dance that was intended for a live audience but was recorded. 

Small Group > Place mat

Put students in groups of four with a place mat. Pose the question: "How are the dance films different from dance movies, dance performance recordings?" Ask each student to write his/her own ideas in one section. Once each student has filled their own section of the place mat, ask them to share their ideas with their group. In each group students will circle any ideas that are common between sections, using these common ideas, ask groups to answer the question and fill in their answer in the centre of the place mat. Have each group share their responses with the class. From these answers, create a definition for Dance Film. Post the place mats on the wall for future lessons.

Whole Class > Quote

After hearing the definition that the class created, share the following quote from the Kaeja website: When referring to Kaeja Films "the final artistic invention is a new choreographic creation that guides what the viewer watches, creating an intimate experience between dancer and spectator.The medium of film allows the choreographer/director to create a unique performance determined by the camera's gaze."  Ask the class to respond to that quote. Prompt: Did any of the ideas in the quote come up in their definitions?    

Introduce the basics of film techniques. Use various sources depending on the students experiences with film. (See hyperlinks for suggested resources). Review the techniques with the class, what moods do they create? 

Whole Class > Viewing Dance Film

Watch more excerpts from dance films. (See hyperlinks). This time, ask each student to write a list of criteria to evaluate dance film. Prompt: Think about the film techniques and choreographic choices that are effective?

Approximately 15 minutes

Consolidation

Whole Class > Creating Criteria

After viewing the dance films and creating individual lists of criteria, gather the students in front of another piece of chart paper. Use a student volunteer(s) to be the recorder(s). Students will give the criteria from their lists to make a master, Criteria for Evaluating Dance Film List.

Lesson 2: Developing a Theme

Critical Learning

Guiding Questions

Literary sources, such a children's books, often have vivid themes that provid an excellent stimulus for dance. Students will explore themes through improvised movement to create short movement phrases.

How are the ideas, thoughts, feelings and emotions that are associated with each of the identified themes expressed in movement?

Curriculum Expectations

Learning Goals

Creating, Presenting and Performing

A1. The Creative Process: use the creative process, the elements of dance (body, space, time, energy and relationship), and a variety of sources to develop movement vocabulary.

A1.1 use the elements of dance to create and perform increasingly complex dance phrases inspired by a theme.

A2. Choreography and Composition: combine the elements of dance in a variety of ways in composing individual and ensemble dance creations.

A2.2 create a complex dance composition that explores a self- or teacher-selected theme; and

A2.3 use a variety of compositional approaches to express a broad range of ideas and moods through dance.

Reflecting, Responding and Analysing

B1. Critical Analysis Process: use the critical analysis process to reflect on and evaluate their own and others' dance works and activities.

B1.2 develop and use aesthetic criteria to evaluate both the content and the fluency or expressiveness of student compositions.

B3. Continuing Engagement: demonstrate an understanding of the purpose and possibilities of continuing engagement in dance arts.

B3.3 develop and maintain a traditional or digital dance portfolio that demonstrates the depth and breadth of their learning.

Learning Goals
(Unpacked Expectations)

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • identify themes in the literary source;
  • express the ideas, thoughts, feelings and emotions associated with those themes through short movement phrases;
  • give feedback to their peers based on established criteria
  • reflect on their learning

Instructional Components

Readiness

Students will need to have had some previous improvisation experiences.  Students should already have a method in place for giving and receiving peer feedback in a constructive manner. 

Terminology

Elements of Dance
Body
Space
Time
Energy
Relationship

Materials

Copy of a storybook to explore, i.e. The Fox and The Hound, Original novel by Daniel P. Mannix.  Shorter versions and animated films are available.
Student notebooks
Pens or pencils
Chart paper
Tape
Markers

Suggested resources: Dance Composition - An Interrelated Arts Approach with music CD, Janice Pomer.

 

Approximately 45 minutes

Minds On

Pause and Ponder

Whole Class > Exploring a Storybook

Read a children's book that has a moral that you would like to explore. The Fox and The Hound is suggested source if you choose to explore the theme of multiculturalism, friendship, and harmony. After reading the story, brainstorm a list of themes evident in the story. Have a student record the ideas on a piece of chart paper or the board. Narrow the themes down to four or five central ideas or umbrella words that will encompass the students responses.

Whole Class > Identifying the Task

At this point you may wish to specify a dance technique that you want the class to work in. This could be contemporary dance, ballet, another world dance form or a combination of styles. Explain to students that they will be creating short movement sequences based on the themes identified. Tell students that they will be working in a individual focused manner to create their own responses to this work. Prompt: We have many themes to work through so be honest with your physical response to the themes, you can apply the  elements of dance (space, body, time, relationship and energy) as you feel appropriate in your response.

Assessment for Learning (AfL)

Do a diagnostic assessment of the students responses during class discussion.
Side coach and give feedback as necessary.

Assessment as Learning (AaL)

Asses journal responses written by the students. Give written feedback as needed.
Assess peer feedback - "I saw ...." statements.

Differentiation (DI)

Allow students the opportunity to volunteer ideas. Having the students write their own list, or a small group list to read from allows them to be prepared before being asked questions in a large group.  

Quick Tip 

If needed, review behaviour expectations for class improvisation.  Prompt the class as needed while they are improvising their movement. If the class is having difficulty working in silence play random pieces of generic music in the background. You can also prompt the students with other words that the students said were related to that theme (i.e. fear, surprise).

Link and Layer

Remind the students of their previous improvisational work, and methods of responding to others work as needed.

Approximately 80 minutes

Action!

Individual > Creating a Movement Sequence

Have the students spread out around the room. Working independently ask them to work with the first theme and to create a three to five movement sequence in the time given. Prompt: Begin in neutral stance, either standing or lying on the floor. You will be creating a three to five movement sequence based on the first theme (e.g.: friendship). Close your eyes and think about friendship. What does this mean to you, how do you feel when you think about friendships, what are the positives and negatives associated with this theme? When you are ready begin your movement.

As the students work give them an indication of how much time they have left. Circulate and side coach as necessary. Give them a warning for the last minutes of available time. If the class appears to need more time you may extend the allotted time. When the time is up bring the students to a neutral stance. 

Whole Class > Sharing Works in Progress

Ask all of the students to sit in place (spread out around the room). Split the class in half.  Ask half of the students to remain seated. Ask the other half to stand and perform their movement sequence beginning and ending in neutral stance.  Ask for one or two students responses beginning with "I saw...."  Repeat the process with the other half of the class.

Individual > Creating Movement Sequences

Repeat the same process for for each of the remaining themes. Depending on the ability of your class, you may want to have them explore just two themes, or as many as four or five. 

Approximately 30 minutes

Consolidation

Individual > Reflection

After the themes have been explored ask the students to write down the one or two themes with which they identified with the most and which themes they had the most difficulty interpreting through movement and why in their dance journals and submit it. This information will be used when they begin work in their groups. 

Teacher note: Use the responses that they wrote to guide the groups creation for their film assignments. If the groupings are clear then this may be done in the consolidation time. If necessary this can be done before the next lesson, taking into consideration the abilities of the students, making the groups balanced based on the students strengths and weaknesses.

Lesson 3: Creating and Planning

Critical Learning

Guiding Questions

The elements of dance and choreographic forms can be used and manipulated to convey an idea of feeling. Dance film techniques can also be used to convey an intended message.

How will your group use the elements of dance and choreographic forms to convey your chosen theme?
What are the techniques used in dance film? 
As choreographer how can you use these techniques to manipulate what the viewer will see?

Curriculum Expectations

Learning Goals

Creating, Presenting and Performing

A1.use the creative process (see page xx), the elements of dance (body, space, time, energy, and relationship), and a variety of sources to develop movement vocabulary;

A1.1 use the elements of dance to create and perform increasingly complex dance phrases inspired by a theme;

A1.2 create and perform increasingly complex phrases that combine and manipulate the elements of dance in a variety of ways;

A1.3 use the elements of dance to generate and perform increasingly complex dance vocabulary through improvisation and experimentation with a partner or in a group

A2.combine the elements of dance in a variety of ways in composing individual and ensemble dance creations;

A2.1 use a variety of choreographic forms, structures, and techniques to create and perform increasingly complex dance works;

A2.2 create a complex dance composition that explores a self- or teacher-selected theme; and

A2.3 use a variety of compositional approaches to express a broad range of ideas and moods through dance.

Reflecting, Responding and Analysing

B1. Critical Analysis Process: use the critical analysis process to reflect on and evaluate their own and others' dance works and activities.

B1.2 develop and use aesthetic criteria to evaluate both the content and the fluency or expressiveness of student compositions.

Learning Goals
(Unpacked Expectations)

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to: 

  • create movement sequences based on their theme, using the elements of dance and choreographic forms to communicate their idea
  • plan how they would like to film their movement and consider how this may shape their choreography
  • give and receive peer feedback

Instructional Components

Readiness

Students will have created a definition for Dance Film.

Students will have created a set of criteria for evaluating Dance Film.

Students will have explored themes found in a storybook (i.e.The Fox and The Hound)

Terminology

Elements of composition
Canon
Repetition

Materials

Definition of dance film (from lesson 1)
Criteria from lesson 1

BLMs

 BLM #1 Your Task

 

Approximately 20 minutes

Minds On

Pause and Ponder

Whole Class > Introducing the Task

Handout BLM #1. Inform students of their groups (based on the feedback from the previous lesson), and provide assignment instructions to students. Prompt: Today you will be developing the content for your dance film. You will be working on developing ideas, organizing staging and creating choreography based on your groups theme, setting the overall mood or message of the piece.

Assessment for Learning (AfL)

Circulate as the students work through the BLM task to gauge their understanding of the task. Prompt with additional information as necessary.
Assess the groups planning on BLM #1
Assess the students work in progress.
Feedback cards BLM #2 can be used to guide the following lessons 

Differentiation (DI)

Groups should be created so that students with various strengths are grouped together. Give cues to students who are having difficulty remembering compositional tools.

Quick Tip

Circulate throughout the class and if necessary pause the class to clarity concepts or details. 

Link and Layer

Remind the students of their previous improvisational work, and methods of responding to others work as needed.  

Hyperlinks in the Lesson

More information on the elements of composition can be found at

http://www.artsalive.ca/en/dan/make/toolbox/chtoolbox.asp 

Approximately 170 minutes

Action!

Small Groups > Choreography

Have students work in their groups to do the BLM #1 content worksheet. If necessary, review group tasks and strategies before beginning the lesson. Circulate between groups. When the worksheets are filled out, guide the students to teach each other their movement phrases from the previous lesson. Coach students to work together to blend the movement sequences. Remind the students of various elements of composition, ex. use of solo, duet, canon, repetition. Have the students rehearse their movement sequences, planning how they would like to film the movement.  

Small Group > Sharing Movements with the Class

When the groups have had time to rehearse their choreography, stop the class and ask each group to select a short movement sequence they would like to share with the class.

Have each group share a movement sequence with the class. They should perform it, then they should verbally tell the class how they would film it.
Approximately 20 minutes

Consolidation

Individual > Feedback Cards

Ask each student to complete a feedback card (See BLM #2responding to each groups' sharing of their work in progress. Review the exit cards so you can distribute the feedback to the groups the following day.

Lesson 4: Creating the Storyboard

Critical Learning

Guiding Questions

Planning is a vital part of dance film as it helps to ensure that the message of the piece is appropriately conveyed.
How will your group present your ideas?
What choices will your group make in regards to film techniques?
What does your group want your audience to see and experience?
How do you plan the choreography and filming before filming takes place? 

Curriculum Expectations

Learning Goals
Reflecting, Responding and Analysing

B1. Critical Analysis Process: use the critical analysis process to reflect on and evaluate their own and others' dance works and activities.

B1.2 develop and use aesthetic criteria to evaluate both the content and the fluency or expressiveness of student compositions.

Learning Goals
(Unpacked Expectations)

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • create a storyboard for their dance film
  • give feedback on their peers' storyboards

Instructional Components

Readiness

Students will have completed all of BLM #1 Your Task.

Students will have created the choreography for their dance films.

Terminology

Storyboard
Dance Film

Materials

Large and small paper for story boards
Pencils, pencil crayons ex.
Scissors
A small box for each group

BLMs

BLM #1 Your Task
BLM #2 Feedback Cards
BLM #3 Rubric
BLM #4 Storyboard Checklist

 

Approximately  15 minutes

Minds On

Pause and Ponder

Whole Class > Discussing Storyboards

Lead a whole class discussion on storyboards. Prompt: When are they used? Why are they used? Review the elements of Dance Film and BLM #3 Rubric, (created in part from the students' responses in lesson one).
Assessment for Learning (AfL)

Do a diagnostic assessment of student responses to whole class discussion. Observe the students as they are developing their storyboards.

Assessment as Learning (AaL)  

BLM #4 Storyboard Checklist

Differentiation (DI)

Encourage the groups to continue to each use their skills to add to the group task. Remind the students that each person has a unique skill set.

Quick Tip

Encourage the students to try different orders and to experiment with the sequencing before deciding on a final sequence.

Link and Layer

Relate the experience of organizing the film to organizing a dance for live performance.

Hyperlinks in the Lesson

Storyboard Resources:

http://teaching-strategies-mentorship.suite101.com/article.cfm/what_is_a_storyboard

http://xinsight.ca/tools/storyboard.html

Camera Shots and Angels:
http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/resources/educational/lessons/secondary/television_radio/camera_shots.cfm

http://www.mediaknowall.com/camangles.html


http://www.mediacollege.com/video/camera/angles/

Approximately 110 minutes

Action!

Small Group > Creating a Storyboard

Ask students use their ideas from the previous two lessons to create a story board. Students should draw and/or write each part of their film on a small square of paper. The group should manipulate the different squares to create the sequence of their dance film.  This manipulation of squares allows the students to experiment with the planning of their films. For example, it may cause them to do the sections of choreography in a different order then they had originally planned. Once the students have the order that they would like for their dance film, they should glue the squares onto a larger piece of paper creating the final storyboard. Have students fill in any other important information regarding filming, number of dancers, type of shot (close up, pan etc). Circulate and side coach as necessary. Students should use BLM #4 Storyboard Checklist to guide their creation of the storyboards.
Approximately 15 minutes

Consolidation

Whole Class > Gallery Walk

Ask each group to display their storyboard in a different part of the room.  Students will do a gallery walk around the room with feedback cards (See BLM #2). Students will complete at least one card for each group and will place the card in the groups' box. Collect the boxes and review the cards before distributing them to the groups. The groups may choose to use this feedback in future lessons to revise their storyboards.

Lesson 5: Rehearsing and Filming (presenting storyboards)

Critical Learning

Guiding Questions

Students will experience the difference between performing dance for film and performing dance live.

How does it feel to perform when you are filming?
How is performing for the camera different than performing live?

Curriculum Expectations

Learning Goals

A1. The Creative Process: use the creative process, the elements of dance (body, space, time, energy and relationship), and a variety of sources to develop movement vocabulary.

A2. Choreography and Composition: combine the elements of dance in a variety of ways in composing individual and ensemble dance creations.

A4. Performance: apply dance presentation skills in a variety of contexts and performances.

B1. Critical Analysis Process: use the critical analysis process to reflect on and evaluate their own and others' dance works and activities.

B3. Continuing Engagement: demonstrate an understanding of the purpose and possibilities of continuing engagement in dance arts.

Learning Goals
(Unpacked Expectations)

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • revise their dance pieces based on peer feedback
  • film and edit their dance pieces

Instructional Components

Readiness

Students should have completed their storyboards.

Students should have all the materials that they need to create their dance film with them (costumes, music , etc.).

Terminology

Think/Pair/Share
Three stars and a wish

Materials

Storyboards
Video cameras

BLMs
BLM #3 Rubric

 

Approximately 10 minutes

Minds On

Pause and Ponder

Individual/Pairs/Whole Class > Think/Pair/Share

Using Think/Pair/Share review presentation skills. Prompt: What makes a good performance?  What do they like about their favorite performers?
Assessment for Learning (AfL)

Use the responses in think/pair/share as a diagnostic tool of students understanding of performance skills.
Observe as students are preparing their work for filming.
 

Assessment as Learning (AaL)

Peer feedback "Three stars and a wish."
Students can use BLM #3 Rubric to self evaluate their films.

Assessment of Learning(AoL)

Evaluate the Dance Films and/or Storyboard presentation using BLM #3 Rubric

Differentiation (DI)

Students can present in smaller groups before presenting in the larger groups to help build confidence.

Quick Tip

If the students are struggling to give feedback you can give the first feedback. Modelling the vocabulary and tone that should be used by the students.

Link and Layer

Link the methods of giving feedback to earlier lessons and the concept of creating a safe and supportive working atmosphere.

Approximately 200 minutes

Action!

Small Group > Rehearsal

Give groups time to rehearse for filming. They should be focusing on the ideas from the Minds On activity while rehearsing. 

Whole Class > Sharing Works in Progress

Have each group present two -three movement sequences to the class. Have the class give verbal feedback on the performance skills using "three stars and a wish" strategy. Student responses must identify three things that went well (stars), and make one wish (area for improvement). Students are not allowed to use names in this exercise. Have students go back to their groups and continue to rehearse, keeping in mind the feedback that they received.

Small Group > Filming

Give students time to film their dance films. They will use movie maker, imovie or a similar program to edit their films. Circulate and side coach as necessary.

Approximately 70 minutes

Consolidation

Whole Class > Sharing Dance Films

After rehearsal and filming, students will present their films. If the school does not have the equipment or if there is no time to film the works, then the students will present their dance pieces and storyboards to the class. In this case the presentation of the storyboard will need to be well rehearsed as they will need to perform the choreography and explain how it would be filmed according to the groups storyboard.