Introduction

Welcome to The Value of Dance Education: Applying the Revised TEKS. We will examine the revised Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) that will guide middle and high school curriculum and instruction in dance for the State of Texas.

Image of dancer performing on stage with props

 

The TEKS are meant to serve as the backbone for all curriculum development in the fine arts. The TEKS describe what students should know and be able to do at the end of each grade level.

 

Please take a moment to review the revised dance TEKS to see how they can be incorporated into middle and high school curriculum.

Dance offers unique experiences and empowers students. It engages and motivates all students through active learning, critical thinking, and innovative problem solving.

Dance develops cognitive functioning and increases academic achievement. Students develop higher‐order thinking, communication, and collaboration skills that are applicable to college readiness, career opportunities, workplace environments, and social skills. Creativity is essential to nurture and develop the whole child.

Through dance, students challenge their imaginations, foster critical thinking, collaborate with others, and build reflective skills. While exercising meaningful problem‐solving skills, students develop the lifelong ability to make informed judgments.

Students develop capabilities in all of the following areas:

  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Collaboration
  • Reflective skills
  • Problem solving
  • Making informed judgements

Dance concepts and principles function interdependently in the TEKS. Although certain concepts and skills are taught and learned in isolation, they are all integrated in performance. A solid understanding of how the elements of dance are related is crucial in creating artistic performance.

Objectives

Image of ballet dancer at the barre
By the end of this module, you should be able to:

  • understand the structure of the dance TEKS,
  • identify and discuss the benefits of educational dance, and
  • link the revised Bloom's Taxonomy, 21st century skills, and other disciplines to the dance TEKS.

The vertical alignment chart for middle school and high school dance provides the dance TEKS in a format that shows the alignment of concepts from middle school through high school dance.

The dance TEKS comparison shows the original and revised high school dance TEKS. You may wish to refer to this chart as we look at some of the changes in each strand. The side‐by‐side chart shows the changes in the high school dance TEKS from the original TEKS to the corresponding revised TEKS. A side‐by‐side comparison is not provided for middle school dance because TEKS were adopted for middle school dance for the first time in 2013.

The Role of the New Bloom’s Taxonomy in the Dance TEKS

Bloom's Taxonomy, first published in 1956, has since been updated. Take a moment to compare the previous version on the left with the new terminology and design on the right in the graphic below. How is it different?

Image of the old hierarchy graphic and New Bloom's Taxonomy concentric circle graphic

The original Bloom's design was a hierarchy, but the new design is nested layers of skills. Research is showing that students can learn the lower-level skills of Bloom's taxonomy at the same time they are learning the higher-level skills, and in fact, they better understand the information if they are learning in this way. In the article, "Measuring Skills for the 21st Century," Elena Silva explains that the processes can be learned at the same time, or even in reverse order.

Image of flamenco dancer

So while we are teaching the facts that students must remember, we can also be teaching them to apply and create at the same time.

Each of the fine arts is especially adept at teaching the "create" skill to students. The revised TEKS are built in conjunction with these new levels of Bloom's.


 

Silva, Elena. (3 Nov 2008) Measuring Skills for the 21st Century. Retrieved from educationsector.org on May 5, 2015.

Bloom's Taxonomy Activity

Now that you have reviewed the revised Bloom's Taxonomy, check your learning by matching the skills to the correct position in the hierarchy.

Colorful Bloom's Taxonomy graphic without text labels

The Role of the 21st Century Skills in the Dance TEKS

In the 2010 IBM Global CEO survey, business leaders reported that creativity is the most important skill for young leaders to possess as they enter the workforce. Creativity provides young workers the skills they need to make sense of the growing complexities of working in a globally‐connected, multi‐cultural, networked world.

1,500 business leaders in 60 countries say…
"Creativity is the #1 leadership competency for the future."

Image of dancer on tablet with high tech background
Creativity is also one of the key skills identified by P21, previously called the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, in their framework that describes what students need to be effective and successful in the modern workplace and world. P21 organizes the skills into three major categories:

  • Learning and Innovation
  • Information, Media, and Technology Skills
  • Life and Career Skills

The nature of dance itself fosters learning of the 21st century skills, which are a basis of the revised TEKS. Look for these skills as you read through the new introductory language in the revised dance TEKS.

The Role of 21st Century Skills in the Revised Dance TEKS

Learning and Innovation

  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Communication and Collaboration

Information, Media, and Technology Skills

  • Information Literacy
  • Media Literacy
  • Information, Communication, and Technology Literacy

Life and Career Skills

  • Flexibility and Adaptability
  • Initiative and Self-Direction
  • School and Cross-Cultural Skills
  • Productivity and Accountability
  • Leadership and Responsibility

IBM. (2010). Capitalizing on Complexity: Insights from the Global Chief Executive Officer Study. Retrieved May 7, 2015.

Introduction of the TEKS

Consider this introduction to the revised TEKS.

"The fine arts develop cognitive functioning and increase student academic achievement, higher‐order thinking, communication, and collaboration skills, making the fine arts applicable to college readiness, career opportunities, workplace environments, social skills, and everyday life. Students develop aesthetic and cultural awareness through exploration, leading to creative expression. Creativity, encouraged through the study of the fine arts, is essential to nurture and develop the whole child."
TAC §117.102. Art, Kindergarten, Adopted 2013. (a)(1)
Image of group of dancers in studio

What benefits do students achieve when they participate in dance?

TAC §117.102. Art, Kindergarten, Adopted 2013. (a)(1)

Fine Arts for All Students

An education in dance allows students to acquire dance literacy skills that contribute to their development as educated citizens.

Dance is a kinesthetic way of learning, involving the total self, integrating body, mind, and spirit. It develops concrete movement skills such as body awareness, physical strength, flexibility, coordination, and endurance that people need to live healthy, successful, and productive lives (McCutchen, 2006). It is participatory and encourages social development through practice.

Dance also develops creative and critical thinking skills through physical and kinetic experiences and is a non‐verbal way of communication and human interaction. It is a means of expressing and learning about the diversity of human responses, life patterns, cultures, and history. Because the body is the instrument humans use to do, sense, and feel everything, dance is a supremely relevant aspect of life.

Image of dancer in top hat, image of folk dancers in motion, image of dancer in studio

Through dance learning experiences, students develop self‐esteem and respect for others. Work habits developed in dance are directly applicable in other parts of students' lives. Dance requires self‐discipline and self‐direction. Dance can challenge and provide rewarding experiences for students of all levels, backgrounds, needs, and interests.

McCutchen, B. 2006. Teaching Dance as Art in Education. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Image of dancers performing on stage
The fine arts synthesize with other disciplines in a way that is beneficial to students. Fine Arts for All Students: A Quick Reference for Students with Special Needs outlines how fine arts educators can provide improved educational experiences for students with identified special needs. The publication can assist teachers with translating Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs) into classroom and rehearsal hall practices to ensure that students with special needs demonstrate proficiency in the fine arts TEKS.

The fine arts TEKS require students to read, write, cooperate, define, analyze, identify, categorize, plan, and evaluate—skills that can be a challenge for students with special needs. Some of the instructional strategies in this booklet are simply effective teaching practices for all students, while others are highly specialized strategies that will facilitate learning for students with special needs.

Photo by Hugo Glendinning. Dancers from Stopgap Dance Company (left to right): Dan Watson, Laura Jones, Chris Pavia and Lucy Bennett.

The Interdisciplinary Nature of the Dance TEKS

Image of dancers performing on stage
In Teaching Dance as Art in Education, Brenda Pugh McCutchen states, "Besides the tangible commonalities that the arts share—rhythm and timing, texture, the use of space, energy and dynamics, shape—we share artistic design principles. There's commonality in compositions: pattern, mood, and structure. Although we use different media, the arts share common artistic goals and processes. We are as process oriented as we are product oriented. We foster skill development in our disciplines, encourage creative expression and thought, celebrate heritage and history, and critique and refine our works for exhibits and performances. The intangible yet vastly important skills that we require include attentive listening, imagining, concentrating, problem solving, close observing, experimenting, differentiating, evaluating, describing, remembering, recognizing, selecting, and refining." The disciplines of all fine arts can be seen as one.

"Although we use different media, the arts share common artistic goals and processes. We are as process oriented as we are product oriented."
Brenda Pugh McCutchen

McCutchen, B. 2006. Teaching Dance as Art in Education. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Review the Interdisciplinary Nature of the Dance TEKS

Within the study of the arts is support for learning in other content areas such as mathematics, languages, literature, science, and history. Students of the arts learn to make connections between the fine arts and other disciplines. A few examples of the similarities with other content areas are provided below.

Structure of the Dance TEKS

High school courses are identified by course title and level (I–IV): for example, Dance Wellness, Level III. Course levels represent expected levels of student experience and achievement in the discipline, not grade‐level classification.

Image of dancers on stage

 

Dance, Level I, a high school course, is the first set of standards for dance addressed in the TEKS. After a brief introduction describing the overall goals of dance, the knowledge and skills for level I courses are listed, defining the overarching standards of each strand. In addition, several student expectations are provided to show how students demonstrate understanding of the strand's knowledge and skills.

Dance, Level I (c)(4)

Dance, Level I (c)(4) Historical/cultural heritage: The student demonstrates an understanding of cultural, historical, and artistic diversity. The student is expected to:

(A) perform the characteristics of dance from several diverse cultures or historical periods;

(B) perform dance phrases or dances from several time periods with an understanding of historical and social contexts;
(C) identify historical figures and their significance in dance history; and
(D) identify dance in various media and content areas.

 

Each level of dance instruction builds on the foundation of knowledge and skills established at prior levels. Each level has a unique focus, expanding students' knowledge base, introducing and refining techniques and skills, and acting as a building block for more advanced work. In courses aligned with the Dance, Middle School 1 TEKS or Dance I TEKS in high school, students learn the importance of daily practice for building dance skills and techniques. Advanced students maintain and refine techniques and skills through consistent, structured work. Students apply the discipline, commitment, and problem‐solving skills required in dance to other aspects of their lives.

Dance Courses

Image of four ballet students
The design of the dance TEKS provides both horizontal and vertical alignment of learning. Dance, Middle School 1 is a general dance survey course and forms the foundation for Dance 2 and 3. The same holds true for high school. Courses aligned with the Dance I TEKS such as Principles of Dance I form the basis of courses aligned with the higher level TEKS such as Principles of Dance II, III, and IV. Increased student expectations at each grade or course level are communicated in a variety of ways, including the sophistication of language used to describe knowledge and skills, the scope of the knowledge and skills, and the depth of understanding in students' evaluation and response.

High School Dance Levels I, II, III, and IV courses may be selected to fulfill the fine arts requirement for graduation. Level numbers represent instructional rigor, not student classification. For example, a student in dance for the first time is enrolled in a level I course aligned with the Dance, Level I TEKS, regardless of his or her grade level. Because students in secondary level performance classes often have differing skill and experience levels, student expectations are individualized.

Image of group of young dancers
Middle school and high school dance programs are designed for all students, including those with no prior dance experience and those with differing degrees of formal dance training. Students have many opportunities to discover and develop personal talents and to expand their perceptions of self, community, and the world. For students who wish to continue their professional training in colleges, universities, and private dance companies, dance training in high school is essential.

Dance Courses Activity

The course discovery resource provides information about dance courses offered at the middle school and high school levels. Use the resource to get familiarized with new course offerings. For each course, a chart is provided that shows how each strand is taught in the course. Examples are also provided that illustrate how the revised TEKS could be taught in that course.

Overview of the Fine Arts Strands

Image of dancer spinning in colorful dress
No matter how far students intend to go with their dance study, the dance TEKS are designed to meet their needs. Just as with the other fine arts, the dance TEKS include four basic strands—Foundations: perception, Creative expression, Historical and cultural relevance, and Critical evaluation and response. These strands provide broad, unifying structures for organizing the knowledge and skills students are expected to acquire. Each strand is of equal value and may be presented in any order throughout the year.

Fine Arts Strands

  • Foundations: perception
  • Creative expression
  • Historical and cultural relevance
  • Critical evaluation and response

Within each discipline and course level, these four strands function interdependently. They are most effectively taught when woven together in lessons. All strands should be addressed in each course, but not necessarily in parity. Some courses may focus in great depth on specific strands, while touching on others mainly to demonstrate relevance and relationships. Understanding of the concept of strands in the fine arts is essential for teachers and district personnel as they develop and implement local curricula.

Overview of the Dance Strands

Image of dancer leaping with city skyline in the background
In the dance TEKS, Creative expression has been divided into two sub‐strands: artistic process and performance. The purpose of distinguishing Creative expression is to differentiate the processes of learning dance elements and choreography from the art of dance and integrating movements.

Dance concepts and principles function interdependently in the TEKS. A solid understanding of how the elements of dance are related is crucial in creating artistic performance on the basis of classwork.

Dance Strands

Foundations: perception describes the growth of understanding dance as an art form, beginning with students' initial, spontaneous experiences in movement. Students develop an awareness of movement as a means of expression and communication and gain an understanding of dance vocabulary, elements, and principles.

Creative expression: artistic process is the opportunity to develop and apply knowledge and skills of dance elements and choreography in a variety of styles.

Creative expression: performance defines this participation in the art of dance, integrating the application of body sciences and fitness with the principles of dance. Students begin learning simple movement patterns and advance to the performance of complex dance phrases.

Historical and cultural relevance. The roots of dance are deeply embedded in history. Dance has been and remains an important means of expressing and interpreting personal and cultural values. Dancers and choreographers connect with the past and present and construct visions of the future, both reflecting and creating culture. Learning the historical and cultural relevance of many styles and genres of dance contributes to students’ understanding of how dance functions in diverse societies.

Critical evaluation and response. Practicing Critical evaluation and response enables students to identify and use criteria for assessing the study and performance of dance. Students use critical thinking skills to perceive, describe, analyze, interpret, and evaluate dance with confidence. Students learn to assess skills, techniques, and styles based on class instruction, models of exemplary performance, and an understanding of the many elements involved in dance sequences.

Considerations for Curriculum Development

A variety of strategies can be used to prepare for curriculum development based on the dance TEKS. Effective curriculum development processes generally occur over time and begin with reading the revised TEKS and discussing them with colleagues.

The curriculum development process might proceed with an evaluation of current instruction, curriculum, and program design.

Curriculum

Image of dancer

  • What are the current goals of the dance program?
  • How are they aligned with the revised TEKS?
  • How does the current curriculum need to be revised?

Reflecting back on what has been brought to the forefront, educational dance is comprehensive, meaning it is broad in scope, covering diverse styles and experiences (McCutchen, 2006). Dance is substantive, containing content‐rich subject matter worthy of study. Dance is sequential—with skills building on one another. Dance is aesthetically driven with the focus on artistry and the degree to which artistry can be achieved for the satisfaction of the doer and the beholder (performer/choreographer and audience members). Dance is contextually coherent which means it relates dance to other aspects of learning. Finally, dance is inquiry‐based, inviting learners to participate and problem solve. The TEKS provide the structure that includes these aspects. It is the curriculum writers and educators that must find a way bring these to fruition.

McCutchen, B. 2006. Teaching Dance as Art in Education. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Considerations for Curriculum Development: Strengths, Weaknesses, and Vertical Alignment

Curriculum development teams should take time to reflect on what is working in the current program, what should be kept, and what needs to be revised. Discussion with other educators in other programs allows for additional perspectives and the opportunity to discover new resources and methods of achieving success.

Asking the following questions is the next step in curriculum development.

Strengths and Weaknesses

  • What are the strengths of the current program?
  • What elements should be retained in a redesigned curriculum?
  • What areas of the current program need improvement?
  • What resources are needed to make improvements?

Image of dancer warming up
Vertical alignment is also an important consideration in curriculum development. To what extent can sequenced content be traced through all three levels of middle school and four levels of high school dance? The dance TEKS are designed to flow through each level, from Middle School 1 through High School Level IV, as skills are scaffolded from one level to the next. Care should be taken to develop the specific curriculum in the same manner, providing stepping stones for the learner’s success in future courses.

Vertical Alignment

To what extent can sequenced content be traced through all three levels of middle school and four levels of high school dance?

Considerations for Curriculum Development: Instructional Strategies, Evaluation, and Assessment

Every student brings something different to the table. Dance is ever‐changing. Strategies and materials should be updated to reflect the constant change and the needs of students.

Instructional Strategies

  • To what extent do current instructional strategies and materials support new goals?
  • What components need to be retained, deleted, added, or modified?
Image of dancers in motion on stage

 

Finally, curriculum development teams should be asking the following questions in regards to instructional strategies and evaluation and assessment:

Evaluation and Assessment

  • How are teacher and student self-assessment used in ongoing program evaluation?
  • What other strategies can be used for assessment?

Review the Considerations for Curriculum Development

Image of group of dancers on stage

 

Review the considerations for curriculum development. Download the interactive PDF to record your responses as they relate to your program.

Curriculum

  • What are the current goals of the dance program?
  • How are they aligned with the revised TEKS?
  • How does the current curriculum need to be revised?

Strengths and Weaknesses

  • What are the strengths of the current program?
  • What elements should be retained in a redesigned curriculum?
  • What areas of the current program need improvement?
  • What resources are needed to make improvements?

Vertical Alignment

To what extent can sequenced content be traced through all three levels of middle school and four levels of high school dance?

Instructional Strategies

  • To what extent do current instructional strategies and materials support new goals?
  • What components need to be retained, deleted, added, or modified?

Evaluation and Assessment

  • How are teacher and student self-assessment used in ongoing program evaluation?
  • What other strategies can be used for assessment?

Facilities

Image of dancer in costume storage room

For safety and optimum student learning, dance facilities should include

  • a studio;
  • showers;
  • restrooms;
  • storage for costumes, props, and equipment;
  • office space; and
  • a workroom for constructing and maintaining costumes.

Other considerations may include the following:

Floor
The dance floor requires airspace, or a cushion, between the building foundation and the wooden floor. A spring, or floated, wood floor has the resiliency to cushion landings from elevated movements and prevent student injuries. The floor should be non-slippery, yet not too sticky. Ordinarily, Folklorico and tap classes cannot use the same surface as ballet, modern, or jazz dance classes unless special spring floors are used. Otherwise, tap mats may be used.

Space
The dance studio should consist of 100 square feet per student. A studio of 3,000 square feet will accommodate a class of 30–35 students. If the studio also serves as a performance space, it should be at least 4,800–5,000 square feet. A ceiling height of 20–40 feet is ideal, with at least a 16-foot-high ceiling required. There should be no posts or columns in the interior space. Each dancer requires a minimum of five feet of barre.

Equipment
The barres should be 36"–48" from the floor to accommodate students of various heights, and the barres should be mounted 6"–8" from the wall. If necessary, freestanding ballet barres made of aluminum or iron pipes provide an acceptable and less expensive alternative to wall barres, and they can easily be stored against the wall when not in use. The dance studio should also be equipped with mirrors to enable students to easily observe personal progress and make self-initiated corrections during each class period. Placing mirrors on two adjoining walls allows students to analyze movements from two perspectives. Mirror sections measuring 6'x8' should be attached to the wall approximately six inches from the floor.

Conclusion

An in‐depth look at the scaffolding of dance knowledge and skills reveals the many benefits for students who participate in a strong dance program. Creativity, self-expression, collaboration, cognitive skills, dance knowledge and skills, and an appreciation of dance are just a few of the benefits for learners who participate in a strong instructional program based on the dance TEKS.

Image of dancers in costume performing on stage

  • Creativity
  • Self-expression
  • Collaboration
  • Cognitive skills
  • Dance knowledge and skills
  • Appreciation of dance and all the arts
  • Making connections to foundation content areas

Quiz

Extend Your Learning: Tools and Resources

Here are a few resources that will be beneficial to creating and developing your program. Take a moment to review each one. You may wish to bookmark these resources or some of the others used in this module, such as the dance TEKS alignment chart, the dance TEKS comparison, or the course discovery dance. Thank you very much for joining us on this journey.

Tools and Resources

Professional Development Opportunities for Dance Teachers

Texas Dance Educators Association http://www.tdea.org/