Dance benchmarks for seniors

May 30, 2017

Historical and cultural


A. Explain the historical, cultural and social context of an individual work in the arts. (View the film “Oklahoma!” and write a review centered on Agnes de Mille’s choreography.)

B. Relate works in the arts chronologically to historical events (e.g., 10,000 B.C. to present). Compare and contrast the evolution of tribal dances, folk dances, ballet, modern, break and hip-hop dances.

C. Relate works in the arts to varying styles and genres and to the periods in which they were created (e.g., break dance, hip-hop, crunk dance).

D. Analyze a work of art from its historical and cultural perspective (“The Nutcracker”).

E. Analyze how historical events and culture impacts forms, techniques and purposes of works in the arts (e.g., Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” and the ballet choreographed upon this master work).

F. Know and apply appropriate vocabulary used between social studies and the arts and humanities (e.g., the Flamenco — A Moorish based dance perfected by Spanish Gypsies. Research the history of Spain, Gypsies and Andalusia).

G. Relate dance to geographic regions: Africa, Asia, Australia, Central America, Europe, North America, South America.

H. Identify, describe and analyze the work of Pennsylvania artists in dance. (Paul Taylor, Joan Myers Brown, Judith Jamison, Phildanco, PA Ballet, Rennie Harris-Puremovement, Jeanne Ruddy Dance, Danse4Nia.)

I. Identify, explain and analyze philosophical beliefs as they relate to works in dance (e.g., classical ballet, folk dance, Native-American dance, hip-hop).

J. Identify, explain and analyze historical and cultural differences as they relate to works in the arts (e.g., African dance/Celtic dance, Russian dance/Greek dance, Jewish dance/Thai dance).

K. Identify, explain and analyze traditions as they relate to works in the arts (e.g., country western dance vs. ballroom dance).

L. Identify, explain and analyze common themes, forms and techniques from works in the arts (e.g., Copland and Graham’s “Appalachian Spring” and Millet’s “The Gleaners”).

Critical response

A. Explain and apply the critical examination processes of works in the arts and humanities.

Compare and contrast



Form and test hypotheses

Evaluate/form judgments

B. Determine and apply criteria to a person’s work and works of others in the arts (e.g., video the choreography of a dance learned in class and use a rubric to evaluate troop unity, timing and execution of dance techniques).

C. Apply systems of classification for interpreting works in the arts and forming a critical response. (Co-create rubrics for evaluating choreography and dance techniques with students.)

D. Analyze and interpret dances from different societies using culturally specific vocabulary of critical response (e.g., African dance/Celtic dance, Russian dance/Greek dance, Jewish dance/Thai dance).

E. Examine and evaluate various types of critical analysis of works in dance.

Contextual criticism

Formal criticism

Intuitive criticism

F. Analyze the processes of criticism used to compare the meanings of a dance in both its own and present time. (Richard Strauss’ “Salome’s Dance of the Seven Veils” 1905 premiere, created great scandal — in Philadelphia it caused the press to demand that the mayor block the production of this so-called immoral dance. Today it does not raise an eyebrow.)

G. Analyze dance performances by referencing the judgments advanced by arts critics as well as one’s own analysis and critique.

Aesthetic response

A. Evaluate an individual’s philosophical statement on a choreographed dance and its relationship to one’s own life based on knowledge and experience. (Research a well-known choreographer and learn of his/her thinking related to a particular project. Relate this project to one’s own life experiences.)

B. Describe and analyze the effects dances have on groups, individuals and the culture.

C. Compare and contrast the attributes of various audiences’ environments as they influence individual aesthetic response (e.g., viewing traditional Irish dance at a county fair versus the performance of the river dance in a concert hall).

D. Analyze and interpret a philosophical position identified in dance (e.g., classical European dance, Native-American dance, contemporary American dance, tap, electric slide, foxtrot, swing dance, jitterbug, hip-hop, ethnic dance — Mexican dance, Greek dance, Celtic dance, Thai dance, Hawaiian dance, Royal Court Cambodian dance, Indian dance).

Some dance icons for high school research projects

Judith Jamison, Madonna, Alvin Ailey, Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine, Roy Kaiser, Isadora Duncan, Agnes De Mille, Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Loletha Elaine Falana, Arthur Murray, Michael Jackson, Gene Kelly, Ana Ricardi, Pandit Uday Shankar and Amala Shankar, Rennie Harris, Gregory Hines, Antonio Gades, Doris Batcheller Humphrey, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelly, Chita Rivera, Bob Fosse, Gwen Verdon, Tommy Tune, Mark Morris, Jean-Marc Généreux, Charles Weidman, Jack Cole, Bill Robinson (Bojangles), Sammy Davis Jr., Katherine Mary Dunham, Josephine Baker, Henry LeTang and Janet Collins.

Students can also chose from Gower Champion, Peter Gennaro, Michael Bennett, Ralph Lemon, Kenneth Ortega, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rudolf Nureyev, June Taylor, Ted Shawn, Ruth St. Denis, Peter Martins, Gelsey Kirkland, Joaquin Cortes, Joan Myers Brown, Ronen Koresh, Manfred Fischbeck, Jeanne Ruddy, Antoinette Coward-Gilmore, Rebecca Davis, Shawn-Lamere Williams, Raphael Xavier, Jamie Merwin, Roko Kawai, Barbara Weisberger, Radio City Rockettes, Philadanco, American Ballet Theatre, Rennie Harris Puremovement, New York City Ballet, Kirov Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Rock School of Dance, and Ballets Russes.

For more information visit www.philasd.org.