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Arts and culture

Grade 7

Expression and communication

Module 7

Traditional, classical and native dances


Dancing moves us. It excites us. It reveals to us aspects of life and human emotion. As with any art, the true purpose of dancing must always remain the expression of human feeling. Dance is the expression of action – special, rhythmic, accented. A dance must convey meaning or power.

In this module we examine and explore the purpose and function of different forms of traditional, classical and native dances performed in South Africa and which reflect our national heritage.

Activity 1:

To be able to appreciate the dances of different cultural groups in south africa

[lo 4.1]

As South Africa is a multicultural country, we have a vast variety of dance to appreciate and experience.

 Traditional African: Zulu war dances, gumboot dances, etc.

 Western Classical: Ballet

 Western Modern: Modern dance, tap, Hip Hop, disco, jazz

 Eastern/Asian: Indian, Japanese

 European: Spanish dance, Hungarian dance, Greek dance


You have to choose a dance from our multi-cultural society and explore the following elements characteristic of your selected dance:

 movement principles

 stylistically defined dance techniques

 overall structure

 style

 visual aids: pictures, photos, video, etc.

 musical aids: instruments, tapes, CD’s, etc.

 theatrical aids: costumes, props, etc.


Present the dance you have chosen to the class having done research on all aspects available to you of the particular dance and open up a new and exciting dance experience to your classmates.

The more visual aids and information you can use in your presentation, the more your classmates will be able to learn and appreciate the dimension of dance you have to offer them.

Activity 2:

To warm up before dance activities

[lo 4.1]

Before you can begin creating your dance, your body must be properly warmed up to prevent injury and to prepare you for the activities that will follow.

This warm-up can be done to music. Choose music you feel comfortable with that is not too fast.

Breathing exercise

 Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms down at the sides.

 Lift your arms above your head while inhaling through your nose.

 While exhaling through your mouth, drop your arms and bend your knees at the same time.

 Repeat four times.

Neck warm-up

 Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms down at your sides.

 Drop your head forwards and lift. Repeat eight times.

 Turn your head from side to side (right to left). Repeat eight times.

 Turn your head from right to left, moving your head down and up in a semi-circular movement. Repeat eight times.

Shoulder warm-up

 Lift your right shoulder up and down.

 Lift your left shoulder up and down.

 Lift and drop shoulders alternately (repeat eight times).

 Lift and drop both shoulders (repeat eight times).

 Rotate your left shoulder backwards.

 Rotate both shoulders backwards (repeat eight times).

 Rotate your right shoulder forwards.

 Rotate your left shoulder forwards.

 Rotate both shoulders forwards (repeat eight times).

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Source:  OpenStax, Arts and culture grade 7. OpenStax CNX. Sep 10, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11027/1.1
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