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Exploring Dance Forms and Styles

Exploring Dance Forms and Styles


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    Exploring Dance Forms and Styles: A Guide to Concert, World, Social, and Historical Dance helps all teachers introduce students to a variety of dance forms and styles—without having to leave the classroom!

    This book–DVD package is an all-in-one resource that will help your students appreciate various dance forms and begin to recognize the characteristics that make each dance form or style distinct. And because of the way the information is packaged, you can be a dance novice yourself and still expertly guide your students in being both an effective audience member and an astute observer.

    Exploring Dance Forms and Styles: A Guide to Concert, World, Social, and Historical Dance presents a systematic approach for building four critical thinking skills in dance:
    • Viewing: What did you see?
    • Connecting: What do you know?
    • Responding: What do you think? What do you wonder?
    • Performing: What can you do?
    Part I of the book outlines these four critical thinking skills and why they are important for viewing dance performances. In part II, the four critical thinking skills are incorporated on student-tested worksheets located in the book and available as printable PDFs from the bound-in DVD. Each worksheet template facilitates an understanding of the elements of dance, builds movement vocabulary, and guides students’ recognition of cultural, historical, and artistic diversity.

    As students build their skills, they are introduced to selected dances in each of the four broad categories of dance: concert, world, social, and historical. These categories are constantly evolving, and many dances can be cross-linked across these four categories. For those students new to dance, the four broad categories provide a starting point from which to see the evolution of the forms.

    In part III, the authors provide specific suggestions for comparing and contrasting either within a category or across dance categories and for identifying selected dance forms and styles that present universal themes. These tasks require application of higher-level thinking skills, and they develop aesthetic values. Part III also offers lesson plan and unit ideas, using the dance forms and styles introduced earlier in the book.

    With Exploring Dance Forms and Styles, you can select individual dances as you like, or develop complete dance units; you can use the materials to meet state standards and national dance standards; and you can introduce various forms of dance to students in geographic areas where they would otherwise not be able to view live dance performances. But best of all, you can deepen students’ understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of dance.


    Reference for dance, physical education, music, and classroom teachers K-12. Reference and supplemental text for university and college instructors of history of dance, dance appreciation, folk dance, world and cultural dance, and introduction to dance.

    Table of Contents

    Dance Finder
    How to Use This Book and DVD Package

    Part I: Building Critical Thinking Skills in Dance
    Chapter 1. Viewing: What Did You See?
    Chapter 2. Connecting: What Do You Know?
    Chapter 3. Responding: What Do You Think? What Do You Wonder?
    Chapter 4. Performing: What Can You Do?

    Part II: Sorting Dances Into Categories and Subcategories
    Chapter 5. Concert or Theatrical Dance
    Chapter 6. World Dance
    Chapter 7. Social Dance
    Chapter 8. Historical Dance

    Part III: Using Dance Forms: Looking at Dance Through Different Lenses
    Chapter 9. Helping Students Develop Aesthetic Values
    Chapter 10. Comparing Dance Forms and Dances
    Chapter 11. Focusing on Universal Themes and Sociopolitical Issues
    Chapter 12. Reflecting on Diversity and Blending of Cultural Aspects

    Appendix: Levels of Thinking
    About the Authors
    DVD User Instructions

    About the Author

    Helene Scheff, RDE, is a conference planner for the National Dance Education Organization. She has taught all forms and styles of dance for about 50 years in all sectors and venues, including K-12, higher education, and the private sector. She has coauthored several other dance books and conducted presentations at local, regional, national, and international conferences and seminars.


    Ms. Scheff is a member of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. In her leisure time she enjoys viewing dance and theater and spending time with her family, including her 10 grandchildren.


    Susan McGreevy-Nichols, BS, is a national consultant in arts education programming and curriculum. She was the founder and director of a nationally known middle school dance program in Providence, Rhode Island, and taught in public schools for 28 years before moving on to higher education. She is also a guest teaching artist at the elementary level in the Los AngelesUnifiedSchool District.


    Ms. McGreevy-Nichols, who was the National Dance Teacher of the Year in 1995, serves as president of the National Dance Education Organization. She is a past president of the National Dance Association and a senior partner at the GriffinCenter for Inspired Instruction. Ms. McGreevy-Nichols is also the coauthor of many books, including Building Dances, Building More Dances,Experiencing Dance, and Dance About Anything. In her spare time, she likes to travel, read, and spend time with friends.


    Marty Sprague, MA, teaches at the Providence Academy of International Studies in Providence, Rhode Island. She has taught and performed dance (concert, world, social, and historical) for more than 50 years, including various dance forms and styles at the elementary, middle, secondary, and university levels. A coauthor of several dance books, she has presented and consulted at the local, regional, national, and international levels.


    Ms. Sprague has been a member of numerous dance companies and was artistic director of her own dance company. She codesigned graduate-level coursework in dance certification and has been a choreographer. In 2005, the National Dance Education Organization honored her with the K-12 Dance Educator of the Year award. In her leisure time, she enjoys taking dance classes, spending time with God and her family, and reading.



    Exploring Dance Forms and Styles is excellent. The book should be part of every curriculum. It contains a wealth of information that can be used by educators at all levels and in many disciplines.

    Estelle Aden, Gainesville, Florida-Retired professor at Hofstra University (theatre arts) and Professional Actor.

    Exploring Dance Forms and Styles, is working very well with my 9th grade students in the South Bronx of NYC!!! I have adapted many of the lessons and worksheets to develop a small curriculum on the different forms and styles of dance.