Stomp is a high energy dance/percussion ensemble loved by kids and adults alike. Use their dazzling performances to explore questions in art (check the dance education standards), even if your class can’t attend a performance. Download Stomp’s PDF and try some of our ideas below.
Stomp provided a video to us as a media partner of the Walton Arts Center. You can download the video for classroom use; please do not upload it anywhere. You can also buy Stomp DVDs (check out the rules for using DVDs in the classroom). Thank you for providing a good example to your students.
Alternatively, begin with the videos at the Stomp website or at YouTube:
Click through to find many more examples. Enjoy a few with your class and discuss. Here are some starting questions:
- Is this dance? How is it like other kinds of dance students have seen? How is it different?
- Stomp combines dance, music, and theater. Find examples of all three.
- What kinds of skills do the members of Stomp need for their jobs?
Once you’ve enjoyed the art of Stomp, move on to some deeper study questions:
- Dance is often about interpreting music through movement. The dancers of Stomp provide their own music with their bodies and with common objects. This kind of music is percussion. Learn more about percussion at the Artsedge lesson Percussion and Pitch.
- Stomp’s PDF has a lot of science of sound connections. Use Stomp as the focal point for your lessons on sound energy.
- At different points in the show, the dancers try out objects to see what kinds of sounds they can make. In one scene, dancers make a variety of sounds with paper and plastic bags by shaking them, blowing them up and slapping them, or pushing them together. Give students time to experiment with classroom objects to see how many different sounds they can achieve. (You know your class — offer guidelines as needed to keep noise levels manageable.)
- The sounds of Stomp are the music. The sounds of tap dancing are also part of the performance. Ballet dancers sometimes make sounds with their shoes when landing from a jump, but they are not part of the show. Help students list more examples of dances, such as the Cherokee stomp dance or flamenco, in which the sounds dancers make are part of the performance. This is a great opportunity for internet research.
- Stomp has performed in more than 350 cities in 36 countries. Find some of those cities and add them to your classroom map.
- Check out Stomp’s timeline and add some of their dates to your classroom timeline.
- At the end of the performance we attended, Stomp dancers clapped out rhythms for the audience to echo. One dancer would clap twice, and the audience would clap twice. The dancer would clap three times, and we would clap three times. They would vary the rhythm, give different patterns to different parts of the auditorium, and add snapping or other movements. Do this in your classroom. Then have students lead the game. You can get up to about seven elements before it becomes too much for short-term memory.
- Divide students into groups of four and give them time to plan out a Stomp-style dance. Have each group develop a thirty-second dance routine using their bodies or objects for percussion, and have each group perform the dance for the class.
- If you want more structure, use an Artsdege lesson on social dance to organize some rhythmic stomping.
- Make your own rhythm instruments. Discuss how these are different from using found objects to create sounds, and how they are different from the musical instruments used in an orchestra.