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Dance Improvisation for Two of Us or More

Cara Graninger

Everyone can be a dancer! Join UMS teaching artist Cara Graninger as she gracefully guides you through the spontaneous world of dance improvisation. You will explore how to create dances by yourself, with a partner, or a group. Lessons will focus on the four basic principles of dance improvisation: sensation, relationship, timing, and design. Watch this unit by yourself or with a family member — the more the merrier!

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Performance Playground logoRecommended for

Grades Pre-K–4 (Ages 4-9)

This unit is appropriate for children of all abilities or capacities.

Meet the Artist

Cara Graninger is a dancer and arts educator specializing in dance improvisation and arts integration. She grew up in Liberia, Saudi Arabia, Fiji, and Costa Rica, as well as the United States, learning Spanish and French along the way, and has made Detroit home since 1993. Passionate about contact improvisation, which she has studied and taught avidly for eighteen years, Cara also practices authentic movement and enjoys many other forms of movement and music too. Cara is a certified DanceAbility instructor, trained to facilitate dance improvisation classes, workshops and performances including disAbled movers. In addition to her work as a teaching artist, Cara helps coordinate UMS K-12 programs as Teaching Artist Coordinator.

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Lesson 1

Body Part Dances

Discover how to create dances through isolated movement, listening to creative impulses, and guided improvisation.


Lesson 2

Fast, Slow, Still Dances

Explore tempo, dynamic rhythm, and pace through dance improvisation.


Lesson 3

BIG, small, Still Dances

Explore creating different shapes, sizes, and levels with your body through dance improvisation.