Please provide a summary of the project/program as demonstrated in the case study:
This dance residency explores the language of dance within a historical context. Students learn to identify and use the elements (or building blocks) of dance including time, space and energy. They examine a dance by given group of people in a specific period of time and ask- How does this dance express their shared experience or culture? What does it tell me about their beliefs, environment, social structure, etc…? Students are introduced to primary sources of a historical period including text and video as well as preserved reenactments based on primary sources. Students consider the context including social, economic, environmental and political influences and analyze how they manifest in the dance. By learning the dances, students get an opportunity to physically experience the choices while reflecting on their motivations. This helps students to enter history and empathize with the people of that time. Students make relevant connections to their personal lives in 2013 by using the language of dance to create their own dances based on the same motivations of the historical dances (ex. a social dance, a dance of resistance, a work dance, a mythological story dance, etc…). In the end, students share the traditional and their original dances with their community.
The curriculum was specifically designed to engage students in a variety of ways to support their understanding, exploration, creation and personal connections. Students experienced: mini-lectures, explored dance concepts in their bodies, viewed and discussed observations of both historical dance videos and students dancing; learned both contemporary popular dance and historical dances; created their own dances based on a overall inquiry question shared by the historical dances; completed a dance study based on their observations outside of the school; performed historical and original dances for community. This case study explores how these activities wove together to provide a more holistic learning experience. In middle school students can vary in learning styles as described by Howard Gardner. Some are kinesthetic, spatial, mathematical, verbal, intrapersonal, interpersonal… Our hope was that by using a variety of techniques it would provide a broad platform of entry points for students to successfully engage them in the learning.