Dance: Solo Portrait Study (Grades 9-12)

Teacher: Jennifer Landa
School:  Ridgewood High School
Location: Ridgewood, NJ
Grade: 9-12
Subject: Dance
Lesson: Solo 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 able to create a solo dance from the following prompt: Create a portrait in dance that expresses personality of subject and evokes emotional and/or psychological qualities and incorporates physicality of subject. They will be able to craft a movement vocabulary into a complete compositional study. 
  • Students will be able to communicate effectively through blogs and journal writings with their PEARLS Ambassador.
  • Students learn and prepare a solo piece for performance at the Spring Dance Concert.

Duration: Seven Weeks

Materials: PEARLS blogs, Positive Exposure website, journals, music, video


  • Students are introduced to the concept of creating a solo dance based on their ongoing relationship with their PEARLS Ambassador. They join the ning, read the blogs on the PEARLS website, and choose an Ambassador with whom they are interested in interacting.
  • Week 1: Students begin a communication with a PEARLS Ambassador. They also create movement material for a solo portrait study of themselves, asking questions about what is beauty.


  • Class creates solo portrait studies for the Spring Dance Concert and cultivates their relationships with the PEARLS Ambassadors.
  • Week 2: Students continue their communication with their PEARLS Ambassadors, reading their blog and sending them questions. They select music for their studies. They work on developing their movement vocabulary based on their communications with the PEARLS Ambassadors.
  • Week 3: Students continue their PEARLS communications and create their solos.
  • Week 4: Students finalize the choreography for their solos.
  • Week 5: Students continue to clean and edit solos.
  • Week 6: Students add costumes and run solos on stage.


  • Students perform their solos and display their supporting material in the Spring Dance Concert.

Student Outcomes/Assessment: By the end of the lesson the students will have created a solo dance based on a portait of their PEARLS Ambassador. They will have developed a relationship with their PEARLS Ambassador through blog posts, videos and pictures. They will understand how to create a solo choreographic structure. They will be provided verbal feedback during in class rehearsals, and receive weekly grades for participation and commitment. In addition, they will be graded on their performance at the Spring Dance Concert.



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