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Fine Arts - Dance Curriculum
Dance - 5th Grade
Course Preface Course Preface
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Core Standards of the Course


Standard 1
The student will identify and demonstrate knowledge of the body and movement skills in performing dance.

Objective 1
Participate safely and regularly in warm-up activities followed by strengthening, endurance, and flexibility exercises.

  1. Recognize and avoid possible room or outdoor hazards.
    Strategy Example:
    Talk about possible dangers, concrete or tile floors, cold or hot rooms, slippery floors, equipment in the way. Practice taking safety measures to prevent injuries; e.g., wear tennis shoes, drink water, stay away from equipment, etc.
  2. Recognize and implement safe dance practices; e.g., warm up the body before stretching, land toe-ball-heel, never bounce on a stretched muscle or force a stretch. After strengthening exercises are complete, stretch that same muscle group to keep it healthy and in balance.
  3. Discuss and understand personal and group space.
    Strategy Example:
    Alternate walking and stretching for 16, 8, and 4 counts. Be aware of others while traveling through the space.
  4. Show an increase in strength, endurance, and flexibility.
    Strategy Example:
    For strength, do leg raises to the front; for endurance, increase repetitions over time; for flexibility, roll down the spine beginning with the head, hold for 8 slow counts, then "unroll" the spine to standing.
  5. Demonstrate proper alignment and balance; e.g., with feet in parallel position, bend knees over toes, back straight, straighten knees, rise on half toes, balance, lower heels.
  6. Identify two areas of individual dance strengths; e.g., concentration, upper body strength, flexibility, balance. Identify one area to improve; e.g., range of motion, stretching feet, focus, concentration. Commit to improve.
  7. Assess progress relative to personal goals. Note improvements and recognize feelings toward that accomplishment.

Objective 2
Identify and execute axial and locomotor steps.

  1. Explore axial movements of reaching, stretching, bending, twisting, turning, and balancing.
  2. Review and demonstrate basic locomotor steps: walk, run, hop, jump, leap, skip, slide, and gallop.
  3. Design and execute a combination of locomotor steps; e.g., skipping and galloping with legs extended to the side, and sliding backwards.
  4. Design and execute basic locomotor steps using a combination of various body parts; e.g., skipping with torso twisting side to side, and sliding with arms circling.


Standard 2
The student will identify and demonstrate movement elements in performing dance.

Objective 1
Expand dance vocabulary with movement experiences in time.

  1. Accent the first beat of every measure in 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, and 6/8 meter with one or more body parts or by changing the shape of the whole body. Expand the exploration of accents by changing and/or combining the direction, level, or energy qualities.
  2. Clap and move on the beat of slow, medium, and fast tempi. Move twice as fast or twice as slow in each tempo, making the movement larger or smaller.
  3. Explore, in a small group, creating a 16-count rhythm pattern, performing the patterns in place, moving through space, and changing the floor pattern and spatial relationships among the dancers.
  4. After seeing a dance, discuss the element of time. Consider replicating one of the rhythm patterns.

Objective 2
Expand dance vocabulary with movement experiences in space.

  1. Create a series of shapes on low, middle, and high levels. Include shapes that have a narrow base; e.g., balancing on one foot, knee, or a wide base, or balancing on two hands and one foot.
  2. Design transitions between the shapes; e.g., slow motion and sustained, or sudden and percussive.
  3. Design various spatial relationships among the dancers while meeting, parting, passing, leading, following, and mirroring.
  4. Create a sequence using three different body parts as focal points while changing levels and directions.
  5. After seeing a dance, identify spatial qualities.
    Strategy Example:
    Discuss use of focus, range of motion, and use of space. Discuss also how the dancers met, parted, followed, and mirrored.

Objective 3
Expand dance vocabulary with movement experiences using the basic qualities of energy and motion.

  1. Create a combination of two or more movements with extreme energy changes; e.g., sustain/percussive, suspend/collapse, vibratory/swing.
  2. Create a movement sequence demonstrating energy changes involving body parts, directions, and levels; e.g., turn with sustained quality, and fall with the force of gravity in a sudden collapse.
  3. After seeing a dance, recall a movement phrase that used a particular kind of energy. Identify the energy quality.


Standard 3
The student will improvise, create, perform, and respond to movement solutions in the art form of dance.

Objective 1
Explore the process of making a dance.

  1. Explore a movement sequence by selecting a visual or verbal image and abstract it into movement; e.g., pictures, objects, phrase from a story or poem, metaphor, or simile.
    Strategy Example:
    Abstract through exaggerate/diminish, going faster/slower, make the movement bigger/smaller, change the energy qualities, change direction/levels, distort, repeat the action with a different body part, or backwards.
  2. Explore in groups the spatial relationships of meeting, parting, passing, leading, following, gathering, scattering, and mirroring.

Objective 2
Create and perform movement solutions derived from movement explorations.

  1. Create and set sequences by recalling phrases from the above improvisations.
    Strategy Example:
    Perform one or more movement solutions to a selection of music. Discuss how music complements movement or detracts from it. Discuss movement solutions of classmates.
  2. Create a composition with a partner.
    Strategy Example:
    Explore feelings with a partner through movement such as irate, melancholic, and resplendent. With a partner, explore the energy qualities of the above words. Explore, plan, create, and perform composition for the class.
  3. Discuss the amount of energy; compare and contrast; discuss how working with a partner often generates new ideas and unique responses in movement.
  4. Observe and discuss movement solutions of other classmates/ dancers.
    Strategy Example:
    Describe unique or creative movement the dancers used.
  5. Discuss moving from the exploration to making choices to the composition or choreography.
  6. After seeing a dance, recognize the formal properties that are combined in that dance.
    Strategy Example:
    List ways dancers moved differently from what one would expect of people in everyday life. Identify how the choreographers changed the elements of space, time, and energy to abstract the movement; e.g., variety, climax, transition, balance, sequence, repetition, unity, and contrast.
  7. Discuss observations: determine how well the dancers maintained concentration and followed directions; identify skills dancers need such as strength, flexibility, agility, sensitivity.
  8. Discuss production aspects after seeing a concert; e.g., lighting, music, costumes, scenery, props.


Standard 4
The student will understand and demonstrate dance in relation to its historical, cultural, and personal origins.

Objective 1
Perform and understand dances from different time periods and cultures. (See Social Studies Core.)

Button to show lessons.
  1. Learn and perform folk dances from North, Central, and South America.
  2. Learn and perform a social dance; e.g., fox trot, waltz, and polka. Determine when and where each was created and discuss the difference in music and style associated with each.
  3. Learn and perform a social dance; e.g., fox trot, waltz, and polka. Determine when and where each was created and discuss the difference in music and style associated with each.
  4. Attend a live concert or observe a guest artist perform (ballet, modern dance, or jazz). Discuss how the dance form developed, its style, and role it plays in culture today.
  5. Create dances which reflect cultural or historical ideas; e.g., participate in choreographing a group dance inspired by a historical period or region in the United States. Perform the dance for an audience.

Objective 2
Recognize and understand the universal language of dance in a world culture—past and present. (See Social Studies Core.)

  1. Research the dances of the people who have immigrated and contributed to the rich and diverse American historical culture.
  2. Discuss how dance impacted the development of American society.
    Strategy Example:
    Describe how dances from Europe and Africa were affected, adapted, or assimilated into the new society. Discuss how ballroom dances, such as the waltz and polka, affected social behavior and etiquette; study the development of dance as entertainment in the movies and popular theatre; discuss how tap and jazz dance developed.
  3. Compare traditional folk or ethnic dances found in different regions of America.
    Strategy Example:
    Consider Appalachian, Southwestern, Mexican-American, Native American, etc. Classify the form and compare the style and role various dances play in each culture.

Objective 3
Make connections between dance and other disciplines.

  1. Create a dance project from another art form.
    Strategy Example:
    Clap the rhythm, identify the texture, weight, volume, tone color, and melodic line to give character to the movement. Create a movement sequence which expresses the character and note value/rhythm of the phrase. Suggestion: Brahm's "Lullaby," Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker," etc.
  2. Create a dance project through literature or poetry.
    Strategy Example:
    Haiku poetry. Explore movement of a few poems. Discuss images, words that paint pictures or depict sound. From movements explored, create movement patterns.
  3. Create a dance project through science.
    Strategy Example:
    Choose certain bones and their joint connections and explore movement of those areas. Move chosen bones away and toward the center of the body, travel through space, explore range of motion. Create movement phrases from improvisation.

UEN logo - in partnership with Utah State Board of Education (USBE) and Utah System of Higher Education (USHE).  Send questions or comments to USBE Specialist - Cathy Jensen and see the Fine Arts - Dance website. For general questions about Utah's Core Standards contact the Director - DIANA SUDDRETH .  
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