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TPL    THE PERFORMANCE LAB Interactive Residencies    LESSON PLANS DEV'T & FEEDBACK  ›  SUNY<-->IDDS(MN) Moderators: RAH, Di, Di Aldis, dale schmid, gloria mclean, Administrators (DANA)
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May 2, 2007, 11:06pm Report to Moderator
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Proposed Interaction: May 3, 2007

Teaching and Lesson Authors: Students in the Arts for Children Program, S.U.N.Y. College at
Brockport; Brockport NY
Learners:  4th and 5th Graders from Inter District Downtown School, Minneapolis, MN; teacher
Linda Iserman; resident artist Diane Aldis

BIG IDEA: The Nature of Curves


PURPOSE: To foster interactive learning of McLean dance techniques and skills using curves

1.     Desired Understandings for Elementary Learners:

-     To learn from others about American dance history and how the body can move and be trained (technical skills)
-     To see and feel that bodily movement creates curved pathways in space
-     To sense that the core of the body can be primary to initiating and controlling movement
-     To understand that an exchange of ideas and learning can take place live across great distances through interactive technology

2.     Predictable Misunderstandings:

     Students may:

-     Display an inability to understand the full potential of interactivity.
-     Display an inability to focus on improving interpersonal and intrapersonal skills.
-     Experience spatial disorientation.
-     Experience incomplete cognitive perception of undercurve and overcurve pathways as demonstrated in pelvic (core) experiments.
-     Not experience full body integration of the pelvic pathway in movement phrases.

3.     Essential Questions:

-     How can you move making under and over curve pathways?
-     Where do we see curved pathways in the world around us?
-     Where in art can we find works that show curved pathways?
-     How can we improve learning using interactive exchanges?
-     Where can you learn more about Gloria McLean and Erick Hawkins?

LESSON TITLE:                      Overcurves and Undercurves


INTERCONNECTED DISCIPLINES:      Art, Science, Technology

TARGETED GRADE LEVEL(S):           4th and 5th

Knowledge of how to move safely using self control in personal and general space.

The student will…

Perform basics of Hawkins/McLean dance technique with clear demonstration of undercurve and overcurve pathways initiated from the core of the body and repeated in patterns.

Define personal space by dancing with those in close proximity and in relationship to distant interactive participants by correctly performing the following dance/interactive vocabulary: in unison, pass through (hand off), call and respond, advance and retreat, together and away, follow the leader, mirror, touch the screen, and touch the camera.

Cooperatively work with others to refine a McLean dance phrase for performance accuracy.

Respond to movement experiences by using correct dance and interactive terminology.

Respond to observed dance through movement.



Practice and include overcurve and undercurve principles in personal and group compositions.

Identify movement principles in dance masterworks created by Gloria McLean and Erick Hawkins.

Transfer  dance principles to understandings in physics (dynamics of movement along curved pathways), biology (skeletal and muscular anatomy), visual art (curved designs applied through various media), and technology (applying the interactive process to other lessons in any subject area).


I. Performing
1.     Body
     a.     Anatomy (1)
     b.     Body Organization (2)
2.     Movement Skills
     b.     Non-Locomotor/Axial Movement
     c.     Technical Skills (1)
3.     Elements of Dance
     a.      Space (2, 5, 6)
     b.      Time (3)
4.     Performing Values
     a.      Focus and Awareness (4)
     b.      Replication, Reflection, Refinement, Revision (1)

II. Creating
1.  Apply Choreographic Principles, Structures, and Processes
     c.      Constructive Cooperation (1)
2.   Create and Communicate Meaning
     a.    Communicate in Dance

III.  Responding
1.    Use Dance Terminology
      a.      Observing and performing dance
2.    Observation and Response Skills
      d.   Respond to observed dance through movement

IV.  Inter-connecting
3.     Connect Dance and Other Disciplines
      e.    Experience technology with dance.

INTELLIGENCES FOCI: Kinesthetic, verbal, visual/spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal


1.     Students will demonstrate desired understandings through the following authentic performance tasks:

- performance of undercurve and overcurve pathways initiated from the core of the body
- dancing while demonstrating correct vocabulary and relationships with others at home and at a distant site
- creating and responding to observed dance through movement

2.     Understandings will be judged using the attached Dance Assessment Rubrics.

3.     Students will demonstrate further understanding through discussion responses while interconnected and afterward by posting to The Performance Lab Bulletin Board.


Materials and Resources-

Japanese art print of ocean waves: The Great Wave Off Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai
Aids for introduction- masks, signs
Human skeleton
Fish and dragon puppets

Teacher Preparation-

Identify a technology team to monitor interconnectivity during the session.
Appoint a camera person(s) for live camera shots and for documentation of the work.
Identify puppeteers.
Prepare attention device (if needed).
Coordinate logistical arrangements with learning site leaders.

Vocabulary Listing-

Dance Content Words:
Body parts- pelvis, core, hips
           Concepts: overcurve, undercurve, looping, scooping, arching, floating, waves,
pathways, smoothe flow, call and respond, chorus, rushing
Synonyms to reinforce dance concepts:
Overcurve:- arc, arch, rainbow, throw
Undercurve- scoop, swing
     Dance history: artists Gloria McLean and Erick Hawkins
Interconnectivity teaching words and directional cues: (These words enhance rapport and relational awareness between the teaching and learning sites.)
          Pass through (hand off)
Call and respond
As with partner dancing- advance and retreat, together and away, follow the
leader, mirror
Touch the screen or touch the camera
Unison or movement chorus
The Performance Lab

Safety Considerations:  
Emphasize and monitor safety when moving.


Anticipatory Set

A.     Cameras have a pre-set focus. NY camera focus is on the Japanese print The Great Wave Off Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai. The art print is of ocean waves.

B.     To establish a community of teachers and learners across distant studios, members of each class should sit in a “U” shaped formation on the floor. The open part of the “U” faces the interactive screen. Together, the two classes create a circular formation.

C.     When ready, introductions begin from the NY site. Introductions will be aided by signs, floating masks, puppets, and leaders (Leah and Professor McGhee).

D.     The first action (waving) will be introduced. Leah will guide variations in waving including changing size and speed.

E.     Students will be asked to stand and conduct several pass through (hand off) waves from NY to MN and back again. (This concept is similar to a “stadium wave”.) Variations in the pass through will involve the whole body or body core. Students will be introduced to the concepts of overcurve and undercurve through practice. Emphasis will be drawn to the shape of the movement pathway (arching or scooping). Students at both sites should work together to establish a smoothe flow.

F.     An attention device is established to quiet and still the action of the class. The action is a call and response that includes the cues: scoop, scoop, stamp, stamp, undercurve, zip. Any clever
device may be used here. This device will be used as needed through the lesson.

G.     Practice the call and response.

Body of the Lesson

Continued Development of Concepts and Vocabulary

A.     While standing and emphasizing the action of the pelvic core, both classes begin to experiment (improv) with the scooping action. “See if you can make 3 or 4 scooping waves connected together. We can call these scooping waves undercurves. Your floating pathway may look like the waves you saw in the art work before we started the lesson. Let your scooping waves carry your body away from the group. Fill the whole studio space with your bodies. Go.”

B.     Students practice the movement going away from the “U” formation.

C.     Students are directed to make waves carrying their bodies back to home position. This moving away and returning to “home” position will be repeated and the actions refined. Students will be asked to explore the general space drawing attention to safe movement practices. (Even the puppets may be seen scooping and looping.)

The Human Skeleton

D.     Students are shown a human skeleton and attention is given to identifying the pelvis, the center of the core and action.

Introduction to Gloria McLean

E.     Students are directed to a scooping and floating fish (puppet) by the name of Gloria McLean. “Our puppet is named after the famous dancer from NY who taught our class how to dance overcurves and undercurves.”

F.     Puppet Script-
Gloria: Look! Look! We’ve found another way to scoop!
     [Erick the big fish swims by.]

Erick! Erick! Hey everybody. This is my teacher Erick Hawkins. When I was just a little fish in the big pond of dance, Erick helped me become a really good dancer! I learned to under curve, over curve, and loop!

Erick:     Scoop abundantly, my dear!
     [He swims away demonstrating the dance concepts and all the puppets follow.]

Dancing Together Yet Apart

G.     A NY leader is appointed to teach a movement phrase. (It is part of a movement phrase taught by Gloria McLean and the entire phrase can be viewed on the TPL web site.) It is introduced using mirror imaging. The demonstrator (Lauren) changes to follow the leader technique and faces her back to the group. Students in MN follow and repeat the demonstrated dance actions.

H.     Teachers in MN or NY may start and stop the dancers as needed. Emphasis is placed upon both class sites dancing together as mirrored reflections of each other.

I.      A NY leader or someone in MN may touch the screen to choose a partner to dance with. Several  dancer duets may be identified.

J.     The NY leader identifies the learned movement phrase as a “movement chorus” that will be used  in making a larger group dance.

Group Dance: Under the Sea
(Anne in NY will lead the dance making activity.)

K.     “We are going to make a dance together. It will use the movement you have just learned and  other movements that are scooping, looping, and rushing (forward and backward or side to side). To make the short dance, we’ll need to divide each class into 2 parts- an Under Water Dragon group and a Fish group.” The performing groups are identified.

L.     Instructions for the dance continue. The order of our dance will be —

#1- “We’ll all move together repeating the Gloria sequence we learned. Go back and forth, back and forth. That is our chorus. We’ll repeat it again later.”

#2- “Dragons in NY will rush forward advancing on those in MN. Dragons in MN retreat by rushing backwards. Then Dragons in MN rush and advance on NY. NY Dragons retreat. Dragons let’s try it!”

M.     Groups practice. “If you are not a Dragon then ride the waves in place by looping with the pelvis.”

#3- “Everyone should be back in their home position and now we repeat the chorus all together.” The chorus is practiced in unison (mirrored).

#4 “Fish in NY make loops while dodging and darting around others in the room. Fish in MN answer by doing the same in your space. Come to look at us up close to the camera. Go back home. If you are a Dragon, you are in place riding the waves by looping.”

N.      Groups practice.
#5 “The Chorus is repeated again. This is the end.”

O.     “Let’s dance the whole thing but this time I won’t talk. Make your loops very big and clear. Let’s be totally together on the chorus parts. Show me a very good beginning.  Ready…” All dance in unison (mirrored).


P.     (Leah leads discussion.)     “Let’s sit down for a moment and recap. Who can tell me some of the action words we used today. [Allow responses to be generated.] That’s right!”

“We learned our dance movements from dancer Gloria McLean. You can meet the real Gloria, who is a very nice woman, not a fish. When we go off screen, Diane Aldis can give the information to you teacher to find Gloria and some of this kind of dance on The Performance Lab website. I hope you will write to us there.”

Q.     “Thanks for your good dancing today. Who can give me a hi-5? Come forward and try it with me.” (Leah points to someone in MN. She tries the action. She repeats this with a couple more children.)

R.     This is our final goodbye. Can you mirror us? (All give a big slow wave.)

If Time Permits…

Solicit feedback and ask essential questions to gain understanding of the dance and interactive experiences learned in this lesson.

Interactive Lesson: Overcurves and Undercurves
Dance Assessment Rubrics
(Based on NDEO Standards for Learning and Teaching Dance in the Arts- Quick Reference Charts)
Fourth & Fifth Grade

I. Performing: Execute original or existing dance movement or works of art using elements and skills of dance.

Improvement     Meets
Standard     Outstanding
1. Body
a. Anatomy:
(1) Demonstrate isolated and coordinated dance movement for the pelvic core               
b. Body Organization
(2) Body Patterning: Demonstrate movement initiated from the core                
2.  Movement Skills
b. Non-Locomotor/Axial Movement: Demonstrate and identify non-locomotor/axial movements: swing (scoop)               
d. Technical Skills
(1) Articulation of movement: Demonstrate ability to move with clarity of motion.               
3. Elements of Dance
a. Space:
(2) Pathways: curved                
(5) Personal Space: Define one's personal space in relation to the personal space of other dancers.               
(6) Relationships: Dance in a defined spatial relationship to others using dance (and technology) vocabulary.               
b. Time
(3) Patterns: Repeat a rhythmic pattern of movement.               
4.  Performing Values
a. Focus and Awareness:
(4) Dance with awareness of movement relationships:  proximity; interconnectedness between dancers.               
b.  Replication, Reflection, Refinement, Revision:
(1) Repeat movement, dance phrases, and patterns for performance accuracy.               


II. Creating: Express ideas, experiences, feelings and images in original and artistic choreography.

II. CREATING     Needs
Improvement     Meets
Standard     Outstanding
1.  Apply Choreographic Principles, Structures, and Processes
d. Constructive Cooperation:
(1) Demonstrate the ability to work cooperatively with a partner or group of dancers.               
2.  Create & Communicate Meaning
a. Communicate in Dance: Improvise and perform dance movement based on concepts               

III. Responding: Demonstrate critical and analytical thinking skills in the artistic response to dance

Improvement     Meets
Standard     Outstanding
1.  Use Dance Terminology (movement vocabulary, verbal vocabulary, dance notation, the elements of dance)
a. Observe or perform dance and identify movements using dance terminology.               
2. Observation and Response Skills
e. Respond to an observed dance through movement.               

IV. Inter-Connecting: Relate and transfer ideas, meanings, and experiences from other disciplines and areas of knowledge to dance and movement experiences; relate and transfer dance and movement experiences to other disciplines and areas of knowledge.
Improvement     Meets
Standard     Outstanding
3.  Connect Dance and Other Disciplines
e. Experience the use of technology with dance.

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