dance department (1)


Dance Composition

Lesson Plan by Duke Ellington School of the Arts faculty alumna, Ms. Nikki Sutton-Mackey of the Dance Department

Overview & Purpose:

Try this fun and easy lesson with ways to celebrate or explore different cultures through dance! 

This lesson opens students' imaginations to travel and exploring new places in the world, and celebrate and experience Hispanic heritage or any culture through objects or pictures. Students will create movement from an object or a thing found around the home or online that represents the Hispanic heritage and culture to them. Students will also choreograph a movement phrase using the words used to describe their object or thing, focusing on the element of dance BODY (parts and shapes).


Step 1: Think about a place you would like to travel to and why.

Step 2: Concentrate on Hispanic culture (or whatever you're celebrating). Find an object or thing in your home that reminds you of or represents aspects of Hispanic culture that you like or interests you. 

Step 3: Answer these questions as an assignment. 

  • Explain what you like about it. What got you interested?
  • Describe what the object looks like.
  • How can it move?

Step 4: After answering questions and submitting assignments students can explore movement to a Hispanic culture-inspired playlist while waiting for others to finish. Ask if students have song requests.

Step 5: Have students explore movement to Hispanic-inspired songs of choice. Let go and enjoy the music!

Step 6: Each student will then share what object and song they picked and why.

Step 7: Give students a few days to create and video record a 30-second choreographic phrase based on the object they chose and submit the video as an assignment.

Step 8: Finally, have students present their choreography to the class as a final presentation.

Nikki Sutton-Mackey
DCPS Dance & PE Educator
Duke Ellington School of the Arts
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