Dance: Portrait Study (Grades 9-12)

Teacher: Jennifer Landa
School:  Ridgewood High School
Location: Ridgewood, NJ
Grade: 9-12
Subject: Dance
Lesson: Portrait Study

One Semester Course – PEARLS Project Unit

  1. Limited Physicality Study
  2. Poem Study
  3. Portrait Study
  4. Solo Portrait Study
  5. Group Piece


  • Students will be introduced to the idea of creating a character study
  • Students will be able to create movement from a portrait which illuminates a character
  • Students will be able to create a short dance study bringing a character from a portrait to life

Duration: 4 Class periods

Materials: Music, Mirror, Video, Portraits including those created by the PEARLS Project


  • Students are exposed to the idea of creating dance from a character point of view
  • Students view video of various dance pieces incorporating characters in both narrative and non-narrative structure
  • Students reflect on what they have seen


  • Students create a short dance study from a portrait
  • Students create a movement vocabulary designed to bring a character to life
  • Students create a trio dance study which incorporates their characters
  • Students perform trios


  • Students and teacher give feedback on performance.
  • Students reflect on the use of characters in dance and the use of portrait to flesh out these characters.

Student Outcomes/Assessment: By the end of the lesson the students will have created and performed a trio study bringing a portrait character to life. They will be assessed through verbal and written feedback, both self-assessed and teacher assessed.



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