The next three steps will familiarize students not only with the artists but with the people and companies that have been a part of the artists' careers. Since Step 4 is best completed as a group activity, you may wish to start the entire project by breaking students into groups and either assigning one artist per group or allowing students to choose an artist from a list.
Step 1. Students will read one artist's entry in the Encyclopedia of Theatre Dance in Canada/Encyclopédie de la Danse Théâtrale au Canada. For a list of suggested artists click here. They will make a list of dance artists, dance companies and choreographic works mentioned in the entry. ( to View Sample)
Step 2. Students will look for and read all other entries in the ETDC that can be found using the list they have just made. They will make notes for each entry that relates to the career of their assigned artist. ( to View Sample)
Step 3. Students will be able to make connections between people and companies providing further context for their assigned artist's career. They should begin to develop questions about this person's dance life and may wish to repeat Step 1 using a list that is generated from the entries read in Step 2. ( to View Sample)
Step 4. Students will now explore further research and writing. Teachers may wish to divide each group so that half of the members of the group are responsible for Further Research and the other half are responsible for the Writing portion of the project. All members of the group will work together to prepare their subject's dance "family tree" as outlined below.
Further Research: For this portion of the project, students will learn how to use the Canadian News and Periodical Indexes. If your school's library is not equipped with these indexes, then it is necessary for students to visit a community library. Students will have the most success searching under the general heading of "dance"; however, they can also search under the name of the idiom practiced by their chosen subject (e.g., ballet, modern dance, classical Indian dance, etc.) and under the subject's name.
After searching through the Canadian News and Periodical Indexes, students can access print articles through microfilm, microfiche and print publications within the library.
Search engines on the World Wide Web provide another research alternative as many current dance companies have web sites. There are also a number of books published about Canadian dance artists -- students will have access to that list starting on page 670 of the Encyclopedia of Theatre Dance in Canada/Encyclopédie de la Danse Théâtrale au Canada. Further information on books published by Dance Collection Danse Press/es and currently in print can be found in ShopDCD, DCD's online bookstore (www.dcd.ca/shop).
Each group's researchers will share the research with the rest of their group and together develop thoughtful and provocative questions to ask the artist in a mock interview.
Writing: Each group's writers will analyse the artist's life and work and develop an article suitable for a newsletter or magazine on Canadian dance history. If your school already uses software for designing projects such as school newspapers and yearbooks, then you may wish to actually produce a newsletter or magazine for this Canadian dance history project.
Students and teachers should identify a target audience for this writing and then design compositions accordingly. You may want students to explore writing in an informal magazine style where borrowed ideas and quotations are attributed within the text and not through the use of footnotes, endnotes or a bibliography.
Step 5. Each group will create a dance "family tree" about the artist considering the questions outlined in the "Objectives" of this guide. When building a tree diagram of the subject's artistic lineage, the students should note the people with whom their assigned artist studied, and the companies and choreographers with whom the artist worked. If the artist is a choreographer or teacher, then a list of students or dancers should also be added to the "family tree". (This final list can be fairly general. For example, Fernand Nault choreographed works for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. Instead of creating a list of each individual dancer with whom he worked, the students can simply state "dancers of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens" followed by an approximate time span.) ( to View Sample)