Submitted by Evette Calhoun Clemons, Winston-Salem/Forsyth Schools

Lesson Title
Dance Transitions that Incorporate Free-flowing Movement Qualities

Grade Level or Course
High School Dance II

Time Allotment
3 to 4 (45) minute lessons

Targeted Goals and Objectives from the 2000 North Carolina Arts Education Standard Course of Study and Grade Level Competencies, K-12:

2.07-Employ the choreographic principles of unity, variety, contrast, repetition and transition in a movement study.

5.02-Examine and describe the role of the dancer in society as an expressive artist, performer, participant, and creator of artistic values.

Targeted Goals and Objectives from the North Carolina Standard Course of Study and Grade
Level Competencies, K-12
for other content areas.

English Language Arts-reflective/expressive writing
Social Studies-impact of Isadora Duncan on dance history

Alignment with NC High School Exit Exam:


  1. Evaluate information and ideas to make informed decisions

Processing Information:

  1. Evaluate information, explanations or ideas by identifying and applying criteria to draw conclusions or make predictions

Problem Solving:

  1. Plan logical steps and organize resources to accomplish a task within a given time frame.


Lesson Objective(s):

The students will work cooperatively in groups of 4 in order to create a dance phrase that incorporates clear, free-flowing transitions. The students will then reflect on the entire process through discussion and writing.

Materials/Equipment Needed:

Boom Box/remote; Music (Music that fits the theme of free flowing movement. Preferably a multicultural piece of music); Dry Erase Board;
Worksheet/Handouts: A work sheet of 12 different shapes or dance illustrations so students can transition between the different illustrations.
(EX. 12 different pictures of Isadora Duncan); Corset or girdle: enough for students to share or a class set.


Lesson Procedure:

Lesson 1 (45minutes)

The teacher will incorporate free-flowing movement qualities within the warm up. The teacher will then introduce and define transitions with an emphasis on free-flowing movement qualities. Next, the teacher will demonstrate a movement phrase, and have a group discussion about free-flowing movement qualities and transitions. The teacher will teach the students a simplistic 8-count dance phrase that incorporates free flowing movement qualities that's repeatable. Students will individually explore different ways to move throughout the body using free flowing movement qualities stemmed from the 8-count dance phrase. Next, the students will wear either a corset or girdle while dancing the 8-count dance phrase so they can experience what it feels like to be restricted in their movement. Afterwards, students will reflect in their journals and describe how they felt moving with a corset or girdle as compared to without a corset or girdle.

Lesson 2 (45 minutes)

The teacher will divide the students into groups of 4 and give each group a worksheet illustration, (e.g., Isadora Duncan worksheet illustration). The teacher will then introduce and explain the worksheet. In groups of 4 the students will be assigned to a specific spatial area on the floor in order to explore different ways to transition between illustrations. Students will rearrange the illustrations in any order of operation that the group agrees on. Next, the students will physically take the shape of each illustration only once and transition through each different illustration, (the shape). Students will then explore various ways to transition between illustration/shape to illustration/shape and refer to the worksheet throughout the entire process. The students will create a 24 count repeatable dance phrase using all 12 illustrations. Finally, students will perform their dance phrases at the end of class.

Lesson 3 (45 minutes)

The students will combine the original 8 count dance phrase, and 24 count dance phrase from the worksheet together with a 4 count transition in between for a total of 36 counts of choreography. Next, the students will perform their 36-count group choreography to the class one group at a time, once with a corset or girdle, and once without. After each group performance there will be a short discussion and reflection between the audience and performers. The students will also be given an opportunity to write and reflect individually in their journals.


Teacher observation of choreography and journal entries by students.

Special Considerations:

This lesson should be completed after students have studied various movement styles from dance history, such as Isadora Duncan's style. Inform students they will perform at the end of the lesson.

Be sure to incorporate lots of cues such as:

  1. Imagine the wind blowing through your hair.

  2. Imagine a leaf swept up by the wind.

  3. Think of yourself as having endless roots reaching out in all directions, into the ground, the sky, and the horizon.

  4. Don't remain trapped within the movement like you're in a box break through and reach beyond the box.

  5. The movement should not be poses, like in still photography. Instead, move smoothly through the pictures.


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