Task 2: Linking Odissi to Local Dance Culture

Dance (Ages 11-14)
Task 2: Linking Odissi to Local Dance Culture
Key Messages
  • Despite local differences, dance is practised in every culture because it responds to fundamental common human needs for creativity and expression.
  • Students will make links between Miriam’s story, [qtip:Odissi|Odissi is the Indian dance form that originates from Odisha.] and local dance cultures, including their own.
  • Students will view and analyse a range of dance styles to develop understanding and specialist language.
  • Students will start to think about dance as part of culture, including their own.
  • Students will develop analytical skills.


What features contribute to a dance style? Students can discuss in pairs before feeding back to the group. (Movements, tempo, use of space, formations, levels, dynamics, costume, function etc). Record the categories as headings on the board or sugar paper so that you can add to it in Task 3.


Show the Michael Jackson “Black and White” video. Don’t forget to put it on full screen! The unedited version is over 11 minutes but there are edited versions that run at around 5 minutes.  You can skip to the song, which starts when you see the lions!

Ask a range of closed and / or open questions depending on the level(s) of your group. You may want to review relevant sections when they are referred to.


  • What different dance styles are in the “Black or White” video? ([qtip:Odissi|Odissi is the Indian dance form that originates from Odisha.] is amongst them. You may wish to replay the twenty second Odissi excerpt and get students to talk about the distinctive features they observe.)
  • Can you describe any of the styles in video?
  • Are there any common features between the different styles?
  • What are the differences between styles?
  • What could the message of the video be?


End the task by referring to the theme, Different Backgrounds, Common Ground How does this relate to what they have been doing this session?

What dance styles reflect the students’ own background and / or environment?


Students can research different dance styles that reflect their own background and / or environment. If your group contains students from different cultural backgrounds, ask them to find out about dance styles from that culture. Students can also look at different styles over time in their own background and / or environment. Names of styles and their major features can be shared at the start of the next session.