3-day workshop Creative Dance for Learning. Designed for Teach for Nepal teachers and their students.

How is creative dance a tool for learning?

The body is a very important part of our daily experience of life. We are always with the body, even when we are not conscious about it.

When including the body in the process of learning, the experience becomes vivid. It becomes experiential and not just intellectual. And it is fun!

Creative dance is like a bodily language that we can use to express ideas or our feelings. Compared with normal speaking words or written languages, it is very open and can be uniquely designed by individuals. Since it is like a language, it can be utilized to learn different subjects in school, like mathematics, history or art. Students can learn through thinking and through moving, bringing the content of study to Life. Since it involves doing it is a good way to remember what is studied.

The following creative dance exercises are inspired by Laban Movement Analysis and Dance Education Laboratory in New York City.

Workshop 1 - Dancing a movement sentence (teacher training)


1.     Learn a basic structure for making dance

2.     Use different words to explore the body and space around us

3.     Connect the dance with a theme

4.     Learn to perform and express oneself through movement


What is a movement sentence?

·      A movement sentence is a combination of action words (verbs)

·      The action words should be different and contrasting

·      The action words can be connected to a theme

·      A movement sentence can be a tool to make a dance

How to create a movement sentence:

·      Choose the action words (verbs)

·      Write out the movement sentence

·      Explore each action words using BodyEffort and Space (Laban Movement Analysis)

·      Decide how you will perform your movement sentence

·      Practice to memorize


Using a theme “Rain” to create a movement sentence.

Action words (verbs): Fall      Splash      Flow      Evaporate


Possible extensions:

Try using a different theme to create another movement sentence. For example: “Butterfly”. You may also a poem, a piece of music or a painting to inspire a movement sentence.

Workshop 2 - Chance Dance (teacher training)


1.     Use different words to explore the body and space around us

2.     Learn to dance with others

3.     Develop sensitivity and awareness with body, space and people

4.     Making dance a fun game


What is Chance Dance?

Chance dance is a dance without fixed choreographic structure but with certain movement elements. The structure of the movement phrases could be decided by rolling a dice or spontaneous decision of the dancers.


First using the following words in any order to create a movement sentence:

Shape      Swirl      Walk      Skip


Explore each word using BodyEffort and Space (L.M.A.) For example:

·      Shape - Can you draw the first letter of your name with your body on any level?

·      Swirl - Can you swirl in any direction, any level, with any body part?

·      Walk - Can you walk on a straight line? Can you change direction sharply and continue walking a straight line?

·      Skip – Can you skip any direction as well as any pathway in space?


Using the movements you discovered, explore different Relationships with people:

·      Mirroring/Shadowing – Can you Mirror a shape? Can you shadow a shape?

·      Follow/Leader – Can you follow the movement of the leader? Can you lead other people? Can you canon?

·      Unison – Can you move simultaneously the same movement with everybody?


Finally, with a piece of music and using the above movement tools, create a Chance Dance with your peers.


Possible extensions:

Add Mathematics into the movement sentence. For example:

_____ + 2 (_____ + _____) + _____ =

Use a dice to decide which word goes into the blank space. Try performing the movement sentence again with the math formula.

Workshop 3: Moving the body (for students)


1.     Learn how to make a simple dance

2.     Explore the body with different words and concepts

3.     Develop spatial awareness and sensitivity to others

4.     Learn to perform in front of others

5.     Enjoy the process



Using simple action words to explore the body. The movement sentence can be as short as 2 words:

Draw      Freeze


First, spend some time with the action word Draw:

·      Can you draw with your hand? Can you draw with your foot (toe)? Can you draw with your nose? Where else in body can you use to draw?

·      What are you drawing? Can you draw your name? Can you draw slow or fast? Can you draw in one place, or around you? Can you draw and travel in space?

Second, practice Freeze between movements:

·      Can you freeze suddenly like a statue? Can you freeze for 1 second or 10 seconds? Can you follow the sound of teacher’s drum to freeze? Can you freeze when the music stops?


Use a piece of music to perform Draw and Freeze.

1.     Explore Draw and Freeze in personal space.

2.     Explore Draw and Freeze close to a partner but without touching the partner

3.     Explore different levels of movement: low, medium and high

4.     Explore symmetrical and asymmetrical movement in the body


Possible extensions:

As the students gain more experience, the sentence can become more complex such as:

Draw      Freeze      Spin      Collapse      Jump      Skip      Freeze