Mapas Bailados: Creating Visual Representations of Dances Using Maps
Ana Inés Rubinstein, PS 89—The Cypress Hills Community School
Content Area: Dance/Social Studies
Time Frame of Unit:
Eight 45-minute lessons occurring 2 times per week during dance class, but
connecting to and coinciding with mapping skills taught during social
Language(s) of Lessons: Spanish
Unit Theme: Mapping and Dance Notation
Standards to Be Addressed
New York State Learning Standards for the Arts
Standard 1: Creating, Performing and Participating in the Arts
- Students will know and demonstrate a range of movement elements and
skills (including such locomotor movements as walking, running, hopping,
- Students will demonstrate a range of forms from free improvisation to
- Students will create and improvise dance phrases, studies, and dances,
alone and/or in collaboration with others
Standard 2: Knowing and Using Arts Materials and Resources
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of how to access and use dance
resources (such as choreography charts and maps).
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of audience/performer
responsibilities and relationships in dance.
Standard 3: Responding to and Analyzing Works of Art
- Students will demonstrate a knowledge of the technical language used in
discussing dance performances.
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of choreographic principles and
- Students will express to others their understanding of specific dance
performances, including perceptions, analyses, interpretations, and
Standard 4: Understanding the Cultural Dimensions of the Arts
- Students will develop an understanding of the personal and cultural
forces that shape artistic communication and how the arts in turn shape the
diverse cultures of past and present society.
New York State Learning Standards for Social Studies
- Standard 3: Geography: Students will draw maps and diagrams that serve
as representations of places, physical features, and objects
ACTFL Standards for Foreign Language Instruction
- Standard 1.2: Students understand and interpret written and spoken
language on a variety of topics.
- Standard 1.3: Students present information, concepts, and ideas to an
audience of listeners or readers on a variety of topics.
- Standard 3.1: Students reinforce and further their knowledge of other
disciplines through the foreign language.
- What are some of the ways that we can remember the dances we make up?
- What are some of the ways that professional dancers and choreographers
remember the dances they make up?
- What are some of the movement elements that we can use to make up a
- What can we learn by looking at a dance map?
- What are some of the advantages or disadvantages of using notation
systems versus video to record and remember dances?
- Dances are made up of smaller elements that we can describe in everyday
- Videotaping and notating using symbols (both invented and standard) are
ways to record dances; each has its own benefits and limitations.
- Symbols are arbitrary; therefore, it is necessary to provide their
meaning in order to make them comprehensible to users (such as through a
- Symbols and notation are useful for communicating specific movements,
but we may need other forms of description and examples to teach all the
details and the expressive feeling of a dance.
- We can apply many of the principles used in making a dance map to making
other types of maps; for example, both a dance map and a geographical map
use keys and define the map’s orientation.
- Maps are most effective when designed to fit the needs of the user.
Background/Prior Knowledge to be Activated in the Unit
- Basic map-making.
- The difference between locomotor and non-locomotor movement.
- Using child-generated symbols in a sequence to map standard forms of
- Identifying and using everyday movements to make up simple dances.
Content Area Skills and Concepts
- Understanding the difference between locomotor and non-locomotor
- Clearly demonstrating where a movement begins and ends in space
- Clearly demonstrating changes of direction in space
- Clearly demonstrating a sequence of movement patterns in space
- Using consistent symbols and a key within a map to create a
- Reading a map in order to decipher and perform a dance
- Observing and describing everyday movements in everyday activities.
- Clearly distinguishing between different types of everyday movement in a
dance (e.g. running vs. walking vs. turning vs. hopping)
- Deciphering and using Language of Dance (LOD) symbols.
- Using a video camera to record dance work in class.
- Comparing and contrasting dance notation and documentation systems.
- Ordinal numbers: primero, segundo, tercero, etc.
- Phrases: Hay que phrase followed by an infinitive (e.g., Hay que caminar),
Este símbolo significa que... (e.g., Este símbolo significa que hay que
- Prepositions that relate to spacial use: hacia, desde, hasta, al lado
de, a la izquierda de, a la derecha de, etc.
- Vocabulary: correr, caminar, dar vueltas, menear, brincar, clave, mapa,
al comienzo, al final, empieza, termina, aquí, allá, una linea continua, una
linea interrumpida, curvas, flechas, puntos, cruces
- Identify everyday movements that are both locomotor and non-locomotor
- Create simple dance sequences using everyday movement
- Create symbols to represent locomotor movement
- Apply self-created symbols to notate a dance
- Decode these symbols to perform or recreate a dance
- Create, exchange, and decode student-produced dance maps using these
symbols in order to teach each other simple dances
- Read LabaNotation LOD symbols to decode movement
- Use LOD symbols to notate a simple dance sequence
- Create, view, and compare video as a means of documenting dance
- Reproduce a dance from a videotape
- Compare and contrast experiences of reproducing dance from videotape
versus maps or LOD
- Stage, gym, or large open space within a classroom
- Butcher paper, markers, and masking tape
- An easel if no wall space is available for hanging experience chart
- Sidewalk chalk and/or tape
- A Spanish translation of Robert Graves’ “Frank Was a Monster Who Wanted
- Blank paper and pens, pencils, crayons, markers, or other writing
- Sentence strips
- A video camera and videotape
- A VCR and television
- Any necessary cables or transfer devices for viewing videotapes on a VCR
and a television monitor
- A sample rehearsal video of a choreography in progress
- A sample professional video of a finished choreographic work, such as
those produced by Paul Taylor, the American Ballet Theater, and Hubbard
Street Dance, for comparison with the rehearsal video
- A sample dance map of the choreography in progress in the rehearsal
- Copies of rubrics for assessments
- Copies of checklist for student homework assignment
- Informal assessment through observation, noting whether students are
understanding the concepts as well as whether they are correctly using new
- Presentations/performances by children, which are assessed via a rubric
- Examination of children's maps, which are assessed via a rubric
- Notation quiz in which children must apply symbols to describe a sample
dance sequence performed by the teacher.