Dance through the ages

Students investigate the origins of dance, including each significant style and the era it began.

Students will develop knowledge and understanding of the variety of styles, exploring ballet, the 1950s, '60s and '70s dance, social dance and street dancing. They will explore PowerPoint presentations, YouTube clips, a Kahoot activity, and practical workshops within the styles being studied. They will explore the development of each styles throughout time, gaining knowledge of the importance and significance of how they began, while appreciating what they have developed to now.


  • 4.3.1 describes dance performances through the elements of dance
  • 4.3.2 identifies that dance works of art express ideas.
  • 5.3.1 describes and analyse dance as the communication of ideas within a context.
  • 5.3.2 identifies and analyses the link between their performances and compositions and dance works of art.
  • 5.3.3 applies understandings and experiences drawn from their own work and dance works of art.


10 weeks.

Driving question

How has society and culture been influential in the progression of dance over time?


Students will explore the variety of dance styles in the world, through appreciation tasks in the attached PowerPoint presentation and coinciding practical tasks based around the developing modern styles. The connection of theory to practical work will further engage students, creating deeper understanding within the pioneers.

  • Work, employment and enterprise
  • Difference and diversity
  • Gender
  • Literacy.

Process diary

Students are to:

  • document the process through practical classes in a process diary. This should be a journal, exploring reflections of each practical lesson engaging in Aboriginal dance. This can be their class workbooks, a dance process diary, or an online blog through sites such as Class Notebook or Google classroom.
  • investigate Aboriginal dance through a literacy lens, embedding discussions, summarising and TEEEC paragraphing in written form. These processes used follow literacy structures, language forms and features, as seen in the department's text-type support document.


All activities require students to demonstrate their learning and are all formative assessment activities.

Teaching and learning activities

Students are to work both individually and as a group through discussion-based activities throughout this unit. Students will investigate Aboriginal dance through traditional styles to modern contemporary styles in written and practical forms.

Suggested student learning activities include:

  • discussion and summarising strategies around Aboriginal dance
  • TEEEC structuring to form sophisticated paragraphing, working with the TEEEC scaffold provided (PDF 4.3 MB)
  • research and investigate Aboriginal dance in Australia through thought-provoking questions and the activities below.

Students will:

Students will:

  • discuss and explore a society in the 1950s from slide 8 in the Dance through the ages PowerPoint presentation
  • explore the dance style within the 1950s by watching Born to hand jive from Grease
  • write a TEEEC paragraph on how the costumes, music and dance style embodies the era of the 50s
  • complete the predicting activity on slide 11 using the visual images in to discuss what dance in the 1960s would have been like
  • watch the The Twist and write a TEEEC paragraph exploring this style and the era in which it emerged
  • discuss and work through the TEEEC example on side 13
  • complete the summarising activity on slide 14
  • watch the attached clip from Saturday Night Fever and explain how dance has changed from the 1970s to the 21st century.

Students will:

  • summarising activity using the information from the slides on social dance
  • login to Kahoot! and link the images with the correct style of social dance:
  • view the clips below and on slide 19 of the PowerPoint presentation. Discuss the differences between each style of dance. What makes each style unique? Allow students to justify which is their favourite social dance

Students will:

  • explore the origins of street dancing and its development throughout time from slide 20-21
  • watch the attached clips on slide 21
  • write a TEEEC paragraph on why the movement is successful in each clip
  • discuss how the quality of movement the elements of production assist in the overall performance.
  • When structuring the lessons work through the above sections across the entire unit. Couple these appreciation lessons with practical lessons exploring the studied style. Attempt to engage in practical work with each style of dance.

Students are to:

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the differing styles of dance and their origins from the 1600s to the 21st century
  • explore performance opportunities embodying the differing styles of dance throughout time.



Students could:

  • investigate a style of dance in further detail, completing a research and analysis task in the chosen form
  • choreograph a series of works in the same form of dance

Life skills


  • LS 3.1

Students could:

  • experience a range of dance styles through film and class performance
  • perform various styles of social dance to experience how dance has developed
  • perform this routine to their class.


Feedback is formative for the duration of the unit.

This sequence and accompanying worksheets are available as word documents below:


Please note:

Syllabus outcomes and content descriptors from Dance 7–10 Syllabus (2003) © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2017.

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