Art and Social Studies Activity
Students research the varied music, dance, and drama forms of Asian cultures.
WHAT YOU NEED
- Reference materials on Asian music, dance, and drama forms
- Video or audio tapes of Asian music, dance, and drama forms
- Maps of Asia
WHAT TO DO
- Divide the class into teams of theatrical agents. Explain that each team
will represent a troupe of performers or artists from a different Asian
culture. Tell the teams that it is their responsibility, therefore, to learn as
much as they can about the artform, then prepare a program insert to supply
background information to American audiences. The notes should tell the audience how
to look at and listen to each art form in order to understand and enjoy it.
Have students research and list art forms, which might include Kabuki,
Indonesian shadow puppets, Chinese opera, and Balinese dance. Then assign or
have each team choose one art form to study and report on.
- Before students begin to write their background pieces, give them the audio or video tape
to work with, then discuss the answers to such questions such as
- Is there a story? What is it? What is the setting?
- Who is involved with the performance?
- How are the costumes and props made?
- What kind of training did the performers need?
- What native or unusual instruments were used? How are they played?
- What does this piece tell us about this culture?
- Have students make a neat copy of their finished program notes, and include an illustration if they wish. Then make enough copies of the notes for each student, bind them together into a program. In a few days, hold an Asian Art Festival during which you can play each piece. Students can use their programs as a reference for discussing each work after viewing it.
As an alternative approach, assign each team one country and make individual
students responsible for investigating one artform from that country.
Have students plan an itinerary for each troupe, setting up "concerts" in
several major U.S. cities. Tell them to include in their planning such
considerations as moving instruments, costumes, scenery, props, and
non-performing members. They should also take into account such things as
traveling time, hotel arrangements, and the availability of restaurants serving
Graphic artists can prepare posters for each art form and display them in the
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