Grades/Level: Lower Elementary (K–2), Upper Elementary (3–5)
Subjects: Visual Arts, Dance
Time Required: 3–5–Part Lesson
Four 30-minute class periods
Author: J. Paul Getty Museum Education Staff

Performing Arts in Art

Curriculum Home
Lesson Plans
Image Bank
Glossary (RTF, 255KB)
Print and Web Resources (RTF, 247KB)
National and California State Standards (PDF, 827KB)

Lesson Overview

Students will learn about an artist's sketchbook that includes drawings of ballet dancers. They will practice two ballet steps and discuss how an artist uses line to depict dancers in rehearsal. Students will make a sketchbook and produce a series of quick sketches of dancers.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:
• demonstrate that visual artists use sketchbooks to record what they observe and experiment with line and other elements of art.
• rehearse two ballet steps—a tendu and a pliĆ©.
• describe how an artist uses a variety of lines to depict gesture and motion in a drawing.
• make their own sketchbook.
• create original sketches from life.
• describe how artists and dancers warm up and rehearse to practice their art forms.


• Reproductions of Ballet Dancers Rehearsing (pages 25 and 23) from An Album of Pencil Sketches by Edgar Germain Hilaire Degas
• Background Information and Questions for Teaching about Degas' drawings
• Internet access
Video: "Warming Up to Dance" produced by the J. Paul Getty Museum with the Anaheim Ballet in the "Multimedia" list on the Getty website
Video: "Degas and the Art of Dance" produced by the J. Paul Getty Museum with the Anaheim Ballet in the "Multimedia" list on the Getty website
• Information and activities in the "Understanding Formal Analysis" section on the Getty website (optional)
• Tracing paper or copy paper that has been treated with cooking oil (see Art Activity: "Tracing Paper on a Budget" (PDF, 230KB, 1 p.)
• Pencils
• Acetate
• Overhead projector
• Paper
• Recycled cereal boxes
• Scissors
• Hole punches and brads
Art Activity: "A Simple Sketchbook" (PDF, 219KB, 1 p.)
Art Activity: "Create a Quick Gesture Sketch" (PDF, 254KB, 1 p.)

Lesson Steps

Download the complete lesson by clicking on the "Download this lesson" icon above.

Glossary Terms:
Words in bold on these pages and in the lesson are defined in the glossary for this curriculum (see "Performing Arts in Art Contents" links above).

Ballet Dancers (p.25) / Degas
Ballet Dancers Rehearsing (p. 25), Edgar Germain Hilaire Degas, about 1877