Innovation in Action

Dance Class- Jazz Choreography Project

Week One- Learning the Basics

My students spend a week learning about Jazz Dance: Jazz history, Jazz technique, and Jazz terminology. I expose them to multiple styles and performances via video to inspire them for this unit. During this week we practice getting familiar with the movement, the French terminology, proper technique, and listening to the beat of the music. At the end of the week the students receive a written vocabulary test, as well as demonstration acknowledgement test.

Week Two- Learning a Combination

Once we have learned the basics of Jazz dance, I create a combination for them to learn- incorporating all of the technical elements they learned the week prior. This allows the dancer to connect their steps as opposed to doing them one at a time across the floor. At the end of this week, the dancers are tested on their memory, performance, and precision. We video this performance on the student’s iPad, allowing them to do a "Student Evaluation" by going back to watch, critique, and grade themselves.

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Week Three- Choreographing a Combination

The students create a Jazz dance of their own. They are put in groups of 3-5 and it is their turn to choreograph a combination. This is done completely on their own. They are asked to use their creativity to pick a song, a costume, and choreography. This not only teaches the dancers to apply what they have learned during this unit, but also how to work with their peers, how to compromise, and how to manage their time wisely.

At the end of the week, each group performs their original routine for the rest of their class. It is a very rewarding day for the dancers to get to share their creativity with the their friends. This encourages the students to step out of their comfort zone, challenge themselves, and take pride in their work. It is also rewarding for me, to watch my students grow in such a short amount of time. They go from having zero knowledge about Jazz, to creating a dance of their own. This project teaches numerous life lessons and is a fabulous addition to their ePortfolio.