Cultural Exchanges

Art and Social Studies Activity

Students research the varied music, dance, and drama forms of Asian cultures.



  1. 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.

  2. 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 these:

  3. 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 familiar food.

Graphic artists can prepare posters for each art form and display them in the classroom.

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