From the Charleston to the Waltz Lesson ideas

From the Charleston to the Waltz
Many of the dances from the era in which Anything Goes is set (roughly the 1920s to the 1940s) have
inspired the choreography in the show – these include including the Charleston, foxtrot, swing, tap,
jitterbug and waltz.
Lesson ideas
It is helpful for students, particularly those studying Dance, to learn about these in order to understand the
socio-historic context. Teachers can use ideas such as:
Create choreography to match the meaning of the song. Students should brainstorm or research appropriate stimulus material inspired by the song lyrics, content, or musical style. When creating their own dances, ensure that the elements of time, space and energy [Victoria] / time, space and dynamics [NSW] / space, dynamics and form [QLD] are included as part of both the compositional and reflection processes. An example could be “Blow Gabriel Blow”:
i. The religious content in the verses (“I’ve been a sinner”) lends itself to the “raise your hands” style of evangelical services. Hands could be raised in an angular or smooth fashion, unison / alternating, moving from the shoulder or the elbow, and so on.
ii. In the “I’m all ready to fly” section, dancers’ arms or bodies could mimic the flapping of angels’ wings. Both arms or one arm at a time? Fast / pumping or slow / smooth movements?
iii. At the line “I’ve been through the brimstone”, dancers can start with the idea of shaking their hands, as if touching something hot. Some of the historical dance styles (see below) also use this movement.
Investigate historical dance styles – students can research some of the popular dance moves of the day. Some students may even have learned these in out of school dance classes. There are many online videos with these dances from historical footage, as well as instructional videos if students want to learn the dance themselves. These can be incorporated into lessons by:
i. Allocating one dance type to each group of 4 – 5 students. Once they have learned it well enough to present a 1 minute performance, they then teach it to the rest of the class.
ii. Listening to each song from Anything Goes and discussing which dance would best suit it.
iii. Using one of the dance styles as a springboard for creating their own choreographed routine for a song from Anything Goes.
iv. Having a post-show discussion about which dance styles they recognized in the Anything Goes