Dance Party: Music Through The Ages

Children dancing
Anna Earl/Unsplash

Age Range: Elementary

Learning Objective: Students will dance along with music from different periods of time and all over the world.

ENGAGE students

DISCUSS. Lead students in a few discussion questions:

  • “What do you think of when you think of dance music?”

  • “Do you think dance styles have changed over time?”

  • “What do you think dancing was like in the year 1700? 1800? 1900? 2000?”

  • “Do you think dance styles might be different in different parts of the world?”

SAY. “A lot of music makes us want to move. Today, we’re going to dance along with many different kinds of music!”

EXPLORE sounds

SAY. “This is some music from the Democratic Republic of Congo by a Minnesota-based group called ‘Siama’s Congo Roots.’”

Malembe - Siama's Congo Roots
Siama Matuzungidi Malembe Siama's Congo Roots

SAY. “Now we’ll dance to 'Mambo,' from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein.”

Mambo, fr West Side Story - Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein Mambo, fr West Side Story Nashville Symphony Orchestra; Kenneth Schermerhorn, conductor

SAY. “Here is some dance music from a LONG time ago: 1692. It's called ‘Dance for the Fairies.’ Maybe the title will inspire some of your dance moves!”

SAY. "Now let’s try 'Russian Dance,' from the Nutcracker, by Peter Tchaikovsky.”

SAY. “Minuets were a very popular dance style long ago. Here is one by Beethoven.”

SAY. “The fourth movement of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony might not have been composed with dancing in mind, but it's impossible to sit still when listening to this!”

SAY. “Here is one more to completely tire you out!”

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This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.

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