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Graffiti and Hip Hop

National Dance AssociationBy Fran Anthony Meyer, Editor

Exploring Modern Mosaics

Students will use graffiti and pop culture as a springboard to create a study in movement that is related to modern mosaics. This learning experience may be accomplished in several sessions of varying lengths over four or more days (see the following for teacher instructions).

GRADE LEVEL Grades 9 to 12


  • Music with a basic hip-hop beat (no lyrics)
  • Access to a community with examples of artistic and destructive graffiti
  • Digital camera or digital video camera
  • Internet
  • Artists within the community
  • Paper and markers
  • Copy of Alfonso Ossorio’s “Breaking Chain” or other comparable mosaic


Content Standard 1. Identifies and demonstrates movement elements and skills in performing dance (Benchmarks: Space a; Relationships a, b; Effort a)

Content Standard 2. Understands choreographic principles, processes, and structures (Benchmarks: b; Advanced a)

Content Standard 3. Understands dance as a way to create and communicate meaning (Benchmarks: a, b, c)

Content Standard 4. Applies and demonstrates critical and creative thinking skills in dance (Benchmarks: b, d; Advanced b)

Content Standard 5. Demonstrates and understands dance in various cultures and historical periods (Benchmarks: a; Advanced a)

Content Standard 7. Makes connections between dance and other disciplines (Benchmarks: a, b; Advanced b)

GOAL To manipulate graffiti and the hip-hop genre to explore and expand movement possibilities.

OBJECTIVES As a result of participating in this learning experience, students will

  1. expand their diversity of movements and their range of movement vocabulary to embrace elements of modern dance. [Psychomotor]
  2. visualize the possibilities of expanding the staging of the hip-hop genre with the craftsmanship of modern dance. [Cognitive]
  3. explain how personal experiences and group dynamics influence the development of the resulting choreography. [Affective]


Absence of focal point             Mosaic

Metamorphosis                       Pattern

Predominance                        Planes

EXTENSIONS OR MODIFICATIONS Possible extensions or modifications for students include these:

  • View a documentary film on the history of graffiti.
  • Research the history of symbols and the universality of graffiti, famous graffiti and mosaic artists, origin of rap and hip-hop, or pop culture’s influence on fashion.
  • Perform a multimedia concert piece bringing together all aspects of the project, including
    • scanning and presenting the name graffiti drawing done at the beginning of the assignment,
    • displaying digital photos taken throughout the community that demonstrate both acceptable and destructive forms of graffiti, and
    • designing costumes that reflect pop culture’s and graffiti’s influence on fashion.


  • Selected students investigate the positive and negative aspects of graffiti through the use of primary sources in the community (business and property owners as well as police officers).
  • Students further investigate the positive and negative aspects of graffiti by taking digital photo images for a PowerPoint introduction or multimedia inclusion.


  • Selected students can take digital photographs of acceptable and unacceptable graffiti in the community to share with classmates.
  • Students scan and prepare a PowerPoint slide show using original student drawings as multimedia projections during a performance.
  • Students find images on the Internet that exemplify the universality of graffiti.

EVERYDAY LIVING (LIFETIME WELLNESS) CONNECTIONS This learning experience helps students develop respect for nonconformist artistic expression, appreciation of the universality of human expression, and respect for personal and public property.


This is an excerpt from Implementing the National Dance Education Standards.

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The above excerpt is from:

Implementing the National Dance Education Standards

Implementing the National Dance Education Standards

Implementing the National Dance Education Standards

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