Vignettes: Middle Years - Shall we dance?

From Term 1 2017, Victorian government and Catholic schools will use the new Victorian Curriculum F-10. Curriculum related information is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.

For more information on the curriculum, see:
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 - VCAA

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Vignettes – Middle Years – Shall we dance?

Back to Principle 3 - Vignettes: Middle Years


Shall we dance?

Michael’s 5/6 class is exploring a range of dances that reflect the diversity of cultural backgrounds within the classroom. He uses the students’ own experiences as a starting point to understand dance from a cultural perspective by inviting his students to bring dance-related resources from their local communities to present to the class. Michael also encourages the students to demonstrate familiar dances and/or talk about their personal experiences of celebrations and festivals. He focuses the class discussion by asking ‘Why do we dance?’

Key ideas are written on wall charts for reference. Through brainstorming and strategic research, the students build a vocabulary of dance terms around the concepts of movement, music and costumes. The students view audiovisual material of different types of traditional and popular dances performed at local celebrations and festivals; and identify the main features of the dances. They use ‘pair and share’ strategies and concept maps to structure their understandings. Michael organises an excursion to a local cultural festival that stimulates discussion about individual observations and dance, music and costume preferences. Michael asks the students substantive questions that require analysis, synthesis and evaluation.

Students extend their practical understanding of dance by learning a simple, vibrant folk dance from a member of the local community. Prior experience and knowledge enables the students to integrate discussion about steps, features, purpose and safe dance practices within the lesson. Michael videos one of their rehearsals. After viewing the video he encourages the students to comment on the dance and suggest modifications. They refine the folk dance and further develop their awareness of basic performance skills, culminating in participation in a local schools’ cultural festival.