How Children Learn Dance, Grades 5–8

Through creating, performing, and responding to dance, middle school students can continue to develop skills and knowledge that enhance the important development of self-image and social relationships. Cooperation and collaboration are emphasized at this age, fostering positive interactions.

Dance education can offer a positive, healthy alternative to the many destructive choices available to adolescents. Students are encouraged to take more responsibility for the care, conditioning, and health of their bodies (both within and outside the dance class), thus learning that self-discipline is a prerequisite for achievement in dance.

Students in grades five to eight develop a sense of themselves in relation to others and in relation to the world. As a result, they are ready to respond more thoughtfully to dance, perceive details of style and choreographic structure, and reflect upon what is communicated.

The study of a particular dance provides a unique and valuable insight into the culture or period from which it has come. Informed by social and cultural experiences, movement concepts, and dance-making processes, students integrate dance with other art forms.

Source: National Standards for Arts Education, published by Music Educators National Conference (MENC). Copyright © 1994 by MENC. Used by permission. The complete National Arts Standards and additional materials relating to the standards are available from MENC, The National Association for Music Education, 1806 Robert Fulton Drive, Reston, VA 20191, telephone: 800-336-3768.

Source, Dance Standards: This article/quote is reprinted from National Standards for Arts Education with permission of the National Dance Association, an association of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. The original source may be purchased from: National Dance Association, 1900 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1599;
or phone 703-476-3421.