High Low Fast Slow

Goal: To introduce the essential toolbox element of opposites or contrast (as a choreographic device) as it connects to dance and choreography.

High Low Fast Slow
  • task

High Low Fast Slow

Contributed by Amanda Newman


To introduce the essential toolbox element of opposites or contrast (as a choreographic device) as it connects to dance and choreography.


  • TA should introduce the activity standing at the front of the class or at the center of the circle.
  • Start by introducing the concept of opposites (source the definition from students).
  • Give a few terms (like fast, high, big) and help students name the opposites. It may be useful to chart these on the wall or having visual cards.
  • Explain that in this activity the students will do the opposite of the leader (i.e. “When I go fast, how do you go? SLOW!”).
  • Start moving at one speed and encourage students to move at the opposite.
  • Once all students are with you, switch and wait for students to respond.
  • Do this a number of times.
  • As students strengthen their ability to respond to changes, vary the amount of time you spend at one speed before switching to the other. Repeat the process with levels – high / low.
  • Potential next steps/variations on the activity:
    1. This activity can be done with one leader and the group following or with students working in partners. In partners, it may be helpful to identify a leading partner and a following partner before switching.
    2. Additional rounds can be created with other crowdsourced opposites from students (big/small, smooth/sharp, etc).
  • For older students, the challenge of the activity can be increased by:
    1. Introducing the concept of layering opposites (leader or partner moves slow and high; group or partner responds by moving fast and low).
    2. Traveling across the floor while navigating opposites with your partner.
    3. Removing the roles of leading and following in partners and instead challenging students to respond no matter who changes the speed, level, etc.

Transition into Activity

Give instructions for students to follow you exactly to move to the space they’ll be in for the activity. Congratulate them for following instructions so closely, then tell them in this next activity they’ll do the OPPOSITE of what you do.

Transition out of Activity

Ask students to pick their favorite way to move out of the concepts you worked with to safely travel back to their desk or chair, watching out for their neighbor.

Classroom Arrangement

The activity can be adapted to the space and student needs. Ideally, having room for students to move freely allows students to move within their full individual range. But the activity can also be done at desks or in chairs.

Supports/Adaptive Materials/Tools

  • Visual vocabulary cards may help in identifying/visualizing opposites.
  • The activity can also be scaled according to student needs, even turning into a hand dance done seated.
  • For students who are blind or low vision or for students with difficulty processing information, it may be necessary to narrate the movement throughout, labeling both how the leader is moving and how the group is responding.

Role of the Teachers and Paraprofessionals

  • Classroom professionals can partner up with students needing support, helping to narrate, prompt, or model. This can happen in the leader/group structure or as a third person in a partnership.
  • Classroom professionals might also assist in using visual vocabulary or pointing to written words on the wall.

Remote Adaptation

This activity will work best in the leader / group structure for remote learning. Narration and use of written labels or visual vocabulary will also be helpful. Another opposite that could be introduced in remote settings is near (to the screen) and far (from the screen). For asynchronous learning, instructions and a demo video could support students in doing the activity with a caregiver or sibling at home.