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Development Strategies

Arts Tasks in This Report

Grade 12
A Dance Performing Task

This task demonstrates how students were given context and guidance to create and perform. Trained dancers or dance educators read the script to students and timed the task. The task required students to work with partners to create a movement sequence based on the idea of metamorphosis and using different elements of dance composition.

As you read the task script below, notice that

  • students are invited into the task by being told exactly what they will be doing;
  • as in a dance class, time is allowed before the task for students to warm up their muscles in a way appropriate to the task and to prepare to dance;
  • the task is broken down into sections so students are not asked to do too much at once;
  • all task sections are carefully timed for students;
  • preparation and collaboration are encouraged by the script;
  • a poster is available to remind students of task requirements during preparation time;
  • students are familiarized with the "stage" area prior to being asked to perform; and
  • an attempt is made to reduce student self-consciousness during the performance.

View a list of task materials and a description of how the task was set up to allow videotaping of student performances.

Text in bracketed italics is intended for assessment administrators.

Metamorphosis Dance Task Script

For this dance activity, you will work in pairs to create, or choreograph, your own dance. Choreographers base their ideas for dances on many different things, for example, movements from different dance traditions, movements from nature, or events in their own lives.

The dance you will choreograph today will be based on the idea of metamorphosis. Metamorphosis means a change from one shape or form to another. Examples of metamorphosis are when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, when a solid block of ice melts into flowing water, or when a raging fire burns something into a pile of ashes. You may know about metamorphosis from the stories and legends of many cultures, and also from movies, where you may have seen human beings change into animals or other forms.

You will work with a partner to create and perform a dance that shows metamorphosis. Use the kinds of metamorphosis I have mentioned to help you think about what kind of metamorphosis you would like to show in a dance. What change do you see in your mind when you think about metamorphosis? How could you show that change happening in a dance? What movements do you think of?

You will each create, practice, and then perform your metamorphosis dance in the taped spaces here. Notice the two Xs in each space. Your dance must start at the X in the far corner of the performing space [facilitator walks to and stands upstage right corner of the performance space, marked with a taped X] and end in the near corner where the second X is [facilitator walks to and stands downstage left corner, marked with a taped X].

This means you should think of your dance as a three-part dance. Your dance should have a part A that includes a clear beginning, a part B including a metamorphosis that happens along the way, and a part C that shows the change you have made and includes a clear ending.

You must include the following in the structure of your dance [Facilitator points to the poster on the wall listing the criteria below and reads it out loud.]

CHECKLIST! YOUR TRANSFORMATION DANCE MUST:

* BEGIN with a CLEAR, STILL POSE

* DEVELOP using

  • TWO different SHAPES (using the whole body)
  • THREE different LEVELS (high, middle, low)
  • ONE pair of MOVEMENT TYPES (sharp and smooth),

* END in a CLEAR, STILL POSE.

Take some time to think again about what change you see in your mind when you think about metamorphosis, and how could you show that change happening in a dance. As you work, try to develop those movements as we did in the warm-up. Use the checklist to help you create your dance, so that you include all the requirements being asked for.

I will assign each pair to a space. Your dance must stay within the space to which you are assigned. [Facilitator assigns students to two pairs, and then each pair to a space. Facilitator should be aware if students dance outside of the taped space and should advise them to stay within the area.] Work to create and practice performing your dance in that space.

You will have ten minutes to create a metamorphosis dance with your partner. We will help you keep track of the time you have to work. Make sure you use part of the time to practice your finished dance, so that you can perform your dance together with smoothness, focus, and expression. You must also be able to remember your dance because you and your partner will be asked to perform your dance the same way twice. After you perform, we will ask you to tell us what kind of metamorphosis you were showing.

Begin creating your dance now. Please work only with your partner.

[Students have ten minutes to create their partner dances. Camera should be on and filming students as they work together. Facilitator announces the time remaining.]

You have six minutes more.

You have three minutes more; make sure to practice performing your dance from start to finish.

You have one minute more.

OK, everyone please stop working and come over here. [Facilitator gathers students near one of the performance/practice areas.] Each pair will now perform its dance twice. You must stay within the taped area as you perform. This pair will go first. [Facilitator chooses one of the pairs to go first. The facilitator then addresses the following to the nonperforming pair:] So that you won’t be influenced by watching other students perform, please sit in these chairs facing away from the performance area. The other pair of students will do the same while you are performing. [Facilitator turns on video camera and makes sure students are correctly placed in the performing area and that the camera can capture the pair.]

When you are performing, remember to focus on what you are doing and to express your dance fully. Please begin your dance when I say "begin." Get ready. Begin.

I will tape your dance one more time, so please go back to your starting places. When you are performing, remember to focus on what you are doing and to express your dance fully. Please begin the dance when I say "begin." Get ready. Begin.

Now that you are done, can you please tell us what kind of metamorphosis you were showing in your dance?

[When first pair is done, they should be asked to sit with their backs to the performing area until the second pair is done. Facilitator addresses the following to the second pair.]

Now, the second pair, please come over here and get into your starting positions in the performance area. [Make sure students are correctly placed in the performance area and that the camera can capture the pair.] When you are performing, remember to focus on what you are doing and to express your dance fully. Please begin the dance when I say "begin." Get ready. Begin.

I will tape your dance one more time, so please go back to your starting places. When you are performing, remember to focus on what you are doing and to express your dance fully. Please begin the dance when I say "begin." Get ready. Begin.

Now that you are done, can you please tell us what kind of metamorphosis you were showing in your dance?

[When both pairs of students are done, the facilitator should thank them for their participation in the assessment before they are taken back to their classrooms.]

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Last updated 7 March 2003 (HM)

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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education