Dance ED Tip #36:
FREE Composition Lesson Plan!

July 24, 2018 - Olivia Mode-Cater

 
Yesterday I posted videos on my Instagram story showing the composition class I was leading during a summer intensive. Several of you asked me for my lesson plan, so here it is!
 
Teaching choreography is challenging because you need to give your students the right balance of freedom and structure. If you give too much freedom, your dancers won’t know how to start and will be at a loss of ideas, or they will default into the typical movement that they know and do regularly. If you give too much structure, your dancers will feel confined and uninspired. I think this lesson is a good balance of the two. It gives them enough structure so they know what the expectations are and are forced to step out of their comfort zone, but it also gives them enough room to play and experiment.
 
Give this lesson a try and let me know what you think! Happy teaching!
Olivia
 
 
Learning Objectives:
 
By the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

 

1. Create a movement score using movement cards

2. Create a phrase using a movement score and descriptive effort words

3. Embody descriptive effort qualities in their choreography

4. Create a duet using existing movement phrases and spatial relationship terms

Materials:

 

- Movement cards

- Paper

- Pens/pencil

Lesson Description:
 
1. Introduce students to the concept of movement score

 

- Explain what is

- Explain its uses

- Explain that you write out a movement score from the bottom to the top

2. Pass out paper and pen/pencil to each student

3. Have students visit the movement cards that are laid out on the floor

- Students must pick 12 different verbs from the cards and write it on the back of their paper

- Then, on the front of the paper, students will write down the order that they want the verbs to be in. The first verb must go at the bottom of the page, the next one above it, and etc.

4. The teacher will then read out the following description effort words. The students must place the first descriptive word next to their       first verb. The second descriptive word should go next to their second verb and etc. The descriptive words for verbs 11 and 12 can       be dancer’s choice.

- Bubbly

- Carefree

- Droopy

- Soft

- Bold

- Sharp

- Heavy

- Sticky

- Smooth

- Bumpy

5. Students will then work independently to create their own movement phrases.

6. Students will then perform their solos in small groups.

7. Students will be asked to find a partner and to sit together with their paper and pen.

8. Students will be asked to write down the following spatial relationship terms:

- Over

- Under

- Around

- Through

- In Front

- Behind

- Beside

- Toward

- Away

9. Students must create a cohesive duet using at least 4 of the spatial relationship terms. Students SHOULD NOT be teaching each           other their choreography. The students should be performing their own choreography in the duet.

- Teacher will fishbowl an example using 1 pair of students.  

- Once students understand the task they will work in their pairs.

- The teacher will circulate around the room providing suggestions and feedback.

10. Students will show their choreography in their pairs.
11. Students and teacher will circle up for a class discussion and discuss the following questions:

 

- What was your creative process like when you were working independently with your score and the descriptive words?  

- How would your choreography have been different if you didn’t have the movement score?

- What is the difference between a duet and two solos happening next to each other?

- How did the space words affect the creation of your duet?

- How do you think this type of creative process could help you in the future?