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The Water Princess (Dance)

GRADE LEVEL Primary (K-3) / Junior (4-6) / Intermediate (7-8)
PLEDGE 2 - Human Right to Water

Resources Needed:

This lesson was developed and contributed by Marie-Eve Charbonneau.

  1. The Water Princess by Susan Verde or Video: The Water Princess Read by Georgie Badiel
  2. Selected piece of music or instrumental track, such as Burkinabé music (to learn more about Burkinabé music, visit this link by Africa Online Museum)
  3. Graphic Organizer for students to organize their thinking (see lesson attachment)
  4. Teacher Notes: The objective of this lesson is for students to engage in the initial stages of the creative process (challenging/inspiring or exploring/experimenting) and learn how to use dance as a language to represent the main ideas of a story/narrative with a focus on the elements of dance.


  1. Read The Water Princess by Susan Verde or show the video: The Water Princess Read by Georgie Badiel
  2. Use the following discussion questions to discuss the story with the class:
    • Who is the narrator of the story? Where does the story take place?
    • What is the main conflict/issue/problem in the story? Is it resolved by the end?


  1. Use the following discussion questions to section off the story together with the class (you may choose to distribute the Graphic Organizer for students to organize their thinking):
    • If you had to divide the story into 6-8 sections that represented key moments in the story, what would those sections look like? What would they include?
    • For each section identified, are there dominant actions, imagery, emotions represented/included?
  2. Use the following questions to brainstorm ways that movements/dance phrases (considering the use of the elements of dance) could be used to tell the story through dance.
    • What are some initial movements/dance phrases you could use to represent these dominant actions, imagery, emotions? 
    • What elements of dance (body, energy, relationship, space, time) could help amplify or clarify the narrative for the audience? (i.e., Should your movement be fast or slow/ heavy or light? How could you use levels to represent each section of the story more accurately?)
  3. Separate the class into smaller groups, and allow students to experiment creating dance phrases or short choreographies to reflect a section or the entire story to a selected piece of music or instrumental track.

Follow Up Activities:

  1. Students can engage the revising/refining stage of the creative process by presenting their work to their peers for feedback (positives and constructives).
  2. Students can present/perform their work in front of their class, or even share their work with another class or during a school assembly.
  3. Students can learn about organizations that help address the water crisis, create their own stories inspired by the strategies being used by these organizations, and present these stories through words and movement.
  4. Find a local artist who specializes in traditional and cultural African dances (Ex: The Cultural Arts Studio), and invite them to explore the themes in the story through dance with your class.