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I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. In each, it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one's being, a satisfaction of spirit. 
― Martha Graham

Sample Residency Outline 


Title of Unit: Social dancing and socializing!:


Unit Description and Context:

The unit is presented in the context of prior basic dance skills and exploration of LMA concepts. Also, prior to this unit, students should have experienced improvisation and collaborative exercises.


Unit-Overarching “Essential Questions”:

  • What are the dance elements that can be used to create movement in structured social dance styles?

  • How can you use these elements to compose your own dance style?

  • How can you combine the use of improvisation, LMA, and social dance aspects when creating dance?


Unit Goal:

  • The unit will introduce various social dance forms as material for creating unique dances and enhance students' creativity while composing collaboratively.

  • The unit will provide knowledge on various social dance forms such as Jitterbug, Fox Trot, Charleston, Rock n’ Roll, Swing, and Latin dances.

  • The unit will incorporate prior knowledge such as Laban movement analysis (Special focus on relationship), individual work, partnering, and imagery experiences into engaging dance making processes.

  • The unit will incorporate improvisation and collaborative work in order to establish social principles of dance while enhancing students’ collaboration and socialization skills.

  • The unit will enrich students’ dance vocabulary and movement repertoire towards creative dance making.


Unit’s Learner Objectives/ Students will be able to:

  • Execute basic social dance steps and movements.

  • Create simple and complex dance movement inspired by social dance forms.

  • Create relationships with social dance performance and creative dance composition.

  • Experiment with movement and technical aspects of social dance forms.

  • Explore movement though social dance elements, LMA concepts, improvisation, collaboration, and imagery.


Unit Duration: 6 weeks


Lessons Duration: 45minutes.


Grade/Age: 5th grade/9-11 years old.


School Environment: Unit designed for the public sector. Students meet once a week


Lesson titles included in this unit:  


  • Lesson 1:  Social Dance, what is it? (Access full lesson plan here): This lesson will introduce movement concepts and dance elements of social dance forms. The lesson will rely on technology as student will watch videos/visual aids about the various dance forms. We will introduce the concept of social dance and allow students to share their knowledge. Their experiences in social dance forms will frame the pre-impact phase of the lesson. Basic steps and movements from swing, Charleston, fox- trot will be introduced (triple step, kick ball change, rock step).

  • Lesson 2:  Social dancing, socializing, and improvising: After discussing the elements of social dance forms we will learn new material (shake, shimmy, Charleston, salsa step) and experiment with individual and group improvisation exercises to explore new movement patterns while keeping in mind the social dance forms we learned last week and today. They will be working on specific LMA concepts such as relationships to enhance their understanding of social dances. At the end of the exercise they will create a chart or list on terminology and will reflect into their recent improvisation exercises.

  • Lesson 3:  Relationships in social dance: There will be a review on composition elements such as levels, pathways, etc. in conjunction with LMA concepts. Students will work in groups to practice material and discuss their observations on relationships in social dance forms. The key words of this lesson are: partnering, mirror, and locomotor to strengthen understanding of relationships found in social dance forms. They will reflect about how they can use relationship into the creation of new movement. They will spend about 20 minutes collaborating. The assessment of the day will consist on sharing their work.

  • Lesson 4:  My own social dance: Students will now bring to the table their own experience with social dance forms. These should be forms we have not seen and aspects we have not discussed. Students will write a short reflection on social dance forms they have experienced and similarities and differences with the dances we have studied. They will draw, write, talk, and/or dance about social dance forms related to their background, ethnicity, tradition, etc. They will pick two steps/movements/concepts and will teach them to their partner. They will reflect on the idea of style and create their “signature” movement to incorporate it into their own social dance pharse.

  • Lesson 5: Social dancing: it’s fun!: Students will compile the knowledge of the previous weeks in order to review structured material and use it to create new movement.

  • Lesson 6:  Sharing time-Our social dance adventure (Access full lesson plan here): This will be the closing lesson of the unit and will consist on a “party” The lesson will consist on creating the environment of a social event where the students dance for fun. They will be able to observe, dance, and share as they would do if they were at a party. The “social dancing party” will consist of playing fun music and everyone can try out the dances they created, new free-style movements, and more…


Modes of Assessment/ Academic Prompts: Teacher observations, peer observations, verbal response, teacher, peer, self-assessment. Embedded/ formative and summative assessment.

Daily journals will be kept and students will write their entries as homework reflecting about their lesson experience. Two vocabulary words or phrases will be listed on the board at the end of the day where the student will need to enter a definition or example of what they understood and remember from class.

There will be a total five reflection papers/drawings/poems, etc; each given at the end of the specific lesson. There will be in-class performance opportunities along the six weeks.


Connections to other subject areas: Strong connection to social sciences and history (America, New York) as the development social dance forms will be explored. Students will analyze diverse time periods, cultural and social concepts, trends, poetry, visual arts, and music. Technology: Video exploration 

Residencies available in varied dance forms, styles, and levels for Pre-K to Graduate students, theatre, and Aesthetic Education.

Certification through the UNESCO Dance Council for my students (Modules/credit based).

Contact me for more information!

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