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Colorado Academic Standards: Dance Introduction (adopted 2022)


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Purpose of Dance

Prepared Graduates in Dance

Standards in Dance

  • Alternative Formats (adopted 2022): Spreadsheet CSV | Microsoft Excel | Markdown/Plain Text | Simplified Word
  • Review and Revision Summary (adopted 2022): Summary of Changes | Dance Committee Page


Purpose of Dance 

“The dance is strong magic. The body can fly without wings. It can sing without voice. The dance is strong magic. The dance is life.” Pearl Primus 

“The truest expression of a people is in its dances...Bodies never lie.” Agnes De Mille 

“Dancing in all its forms cannot be excluded from the curriculum of all noble education: dancing with the feet, with ideas, with words, and need I add, that one must also be able to dance with pen- that one must learn how to write.” Friedrich Nietzsche   

Dance is creative self-expression through the medium of human movement. Dancers feel, create, compose, interpret, perform, and respond through a process of research, inquiry, and movement discovery. The purpose of dance education in preschool through high school is to educate students in dance as an art form and a physical practice. 

Dance contributes to educating the whole child. The nature of the dance classroom allows students to develop essential skills of communication, determination, self-direction, perseverance, dedication, risk taking, creativity and teamwork that are hallmarks of a dance artist. These essential skills learned through participation in dance endows students with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the postsecondary world.  

  1. Through the collaboration and connection experienced in the dance classroom, students build social, cultural, and emotional understanding. (Communicator) 
  2. Dance students understand concepts in other disciplines because the study of dance connects logical and intuitive thinking processes through experiential learning. (Problem Solver) 
  3. The study of dance allows students to physically embody emotions in ways that move within and beyond themselves, resulting in empathy and community building. (Community Member) 
  4. A dance classroom inspires students to be creative individuals experiencing the present moment in an environment of discovery. (Empowered Individual) 

Dance transforms schools and communities. 

Prepared Graduates in Dance 

  1. Demonstrate dance technique, vocabulary, and skill appropriate to stylistic expectations. 
  2. Apply kinesthetic awareness to develop lifelong and safe movement practices, fitness, and mind/body wellness. 
  3. Participate in the dance performance process in a variety of roles.
  4. Explore and demonstrate various concepts through improvisational movement to communicate purposeful intent. 
  5. Use a creative process to construct a dance composition. 
  6. Research, articulate and embody dance from various eras and cultures. 
  7. Investigate and synthesize how dance developed through the lens of the era or culture in which it originated. 
  8. Critique, analyze, and reflect upon dance. 
  9. Analyze and demonstrate the various roles and contributions of dance within a community. 

Standards in Dance 

Standards are the topical organization of an academic content area. 

The four standards of dance are: 

1. Movement, Technique, and Performance 

The goal of this standard is to develop students’ competence and confidence during a performance. In exploring movement vocabulary and developing skill and technique, students gain a better understanding of their bodies in relation to space, time, and energy. Technical expertise and artistic expression through reflective practice, study, and self-evaluation of one’s own abilities and the abilities of others is essential to developing movement skills for performance. 

2. Create, Compose and Choreograph 

Creating in dance involves using the dance elements of space, time, and energy to explore, improvise, and develop movement phrases, sequences, and dances. Choreography is the art of dance making using meaning, intent, and principles of structure and design. In dance, there are a number of levels or stages in the creative process that define and are involved in solving artistic problems in order to present a completed work of art. These stages include: observing or studying the stimulus or intent, becoming engaged with that intent; tapping into feelings, memories and the imagination that relate to the intent, problem solving by creating a shorter dance study or longer dance, and using critical thinking skills to analyze and evaluate the finished product. 

3. Historical and Cultural Context 

This standard focuses on understanding the global and cultural relevance of dance. The goal is to understand how dance shapes and reflects cultures and history over time, and acknowledge dance in society as creative, expressive, communicable, and social. 

4. Reflect, Connect, and Respond 

This standard focuses on reflecting upon dance, connecting it with other disciplines, responding to it to discuss and analyze dance as art. Critique and analysis of new dance works, reconstructions, and masterworks allows for distinguishing and understanding of aesthetic values and artistic intent. 

Pathways for Secondary Dance  

Instead of grade levels, the dance standards in the secondary years are differentiated for skill development: Novice, Emerging, Intermediate, Proficient, Exemplary. The purpose of the pathways is to give secondary students engaging in dance the opportunity to enter into the dance classroom at their current skill level. These levels allow for multiple points of entry and personalized placement to provide rigorous and appropriate dance experiences for students at any grade level. 

Novice: A typical entry point for self-selected dance participation for a student at or above sixth grade. This student is probably new to dance or has one year or less of previous participation. This level could be used for a teacher who is teaching a non-performance class with students who have little or no dance experience.  

Emerging: For students with a level of understanding of approximately two full school years of dance participation.  

Intermediate: For students with a level of understanding of approximately three full school years of dance participation.  

Proficient: For students with a level of understanding of approximately four to six years of dance participation.  

Exemplary: For students with a level of understanding of approximately four to six years of continuous dance participation who may want/need a higher-level experience. Additionally, for students who are seeking to major or minor in dance in post-secondary education.