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Dance achievement objectives


The New Zealand Curriculum specifies four conceptual strands for dance. These are:

  • Understanding dance in context
  • Developing practical knowledge in dance
  • Developing ideas in dance
  • Communicating and interpreting dance

Progressions in dance

Students’ progress in dance is demonstrated by their increasingly sophisticated ability to identify, apply, integrate, interpret, reflect on, and evaluate dance elements, processes and performances, and contexts.


As they progress, students revisit vocabularies and practices in increasingly complex and sophisticated ways. They move from a focus on how to identify and use elements and devices in the composition of short dance phrases to analysing, interpreting, and evaluating their own and others’ dance performances.


As they progress, students acquire increasing control in creating and interpreting dance as a form of expression and communication. This control is evident in their ability to manipulate a range of elements, devices, and structures, and in their ability to communicate intentions (images, feelings, ideas) in increasingly sophisticated ways through dance.

Students slowly gain a greater sense of control over their work in dance and move from the highly scaffolded range of 'mini' dance-making tasks required at level 6, to more developed, deeper-thinking, and meaning-making works (both in terms of length and choreographic process) at levels 7 and 8.


As they progress, students move from exploring a broad range of experiences, in a range of dance genres and styles, to engaging with more specific genres and styles, in more depth.

The depth of students’ engagement with ideas communicated through dances, as both audiences and performers, also increases as they continue to develop and perform in a range of solo, pair, small, and larger group dances.


As they progress, students become increasingly self-directed in their investigation of dance and its place in Aotearoa/New Zealand, and in the technologically connected global societies of the twenty-first century.

Their decisions about choreographing and performing dance are increasingly influenced by their compounding knowledge and experiences throughout their involvement in senior secondary dance.

The students depend less on teacher direction and support as they progress, instead, they utilise the teacher as a learning consultant as they develop and respond to their own ideas, challenges, and ambitions.


Indicators are examples of the behaviours and capabilities that a teacher might expect to observe in a student who is achieving at the appropriate level. Teachers may wish to add further examples of their own.

Context elaborations

Context elaborations are possible contexts for learning, with a suggestion of how they might be used with the focus achievement objective.

The listed context elaborations are examples only. Teachers can select and use entirely different contexts in response to local situation, community relevance, and students’ interests and needs.

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Last updated June 25, 2012