Teaching Students About Cynthia Rhodes

In the realm of entertainment history, some names are etched into our collective memory for their impact on the industry. However, there are also those unsung heroes who deserve recognition and appreciation for their contributions. One such individual is Cynthia Rhodes, a multi-talented performer who left her mark on the 1980s entertainment scene. This article aims to introduce students to Cynthia Rhodes and her body of work, highlighting her significance in the context of entertainment history.

Cynthia Rhodes: A Background

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, on November 21, 1956, Cynthia Rhodes rose through the ranks as a dancer, singer, and actress. Over the years, her versatility has been reflected through various performances in iconic films such as “Flashdance” (1983), “Staying Alive” (1983), and “Dirty Dancing” (1987). Rhodes even showcased her singing talents as a lead vocalist in the pop group Animotion with their chart-topping hit “Room to Move.”

Incorporating Cynthia Rhodes into Lesson Plans

1. Film Study: Introduce your students to Cynthia Rhodes’ work by screening some of her most notable performances. Organize a class discussion around her acting skills and dance techniques, analyzing the choreography from movies like “Flashdance” and “Dirty Dancing.” This will provide students an opportunity to explore how dance routines and overall performances contribute to the storytelling process within a film.

2. The Music Industry: Delve into Cynthia Rhodes’ musical career with Animotion by studying their breakout song “Room to Move.” Students can analyze the melody, lyrics, and instrumentation of this catchy tune while discussing its relevance to 80s pop culture.

3. Women in Entertainment: Utilize Cynthia Rhodes’ career as a lens to investigate broader themes surrounding women’s roles in entertainment during the 1980s. Examine how her talent as a dancer, singer, and actress influenced those around her and opened doors for future female artists.

4. Comparing Performers: Invite students to compare Cynthia Rhodes with other prominent entertainment icons of the 1980s like Madonna or Michael Jackson. Discuss similarities and differences in their careers, both in terms of performance styles and cultural impact.

5. Create a Tribute: Encourage students to pay homage to Cynthia Rhodes by collaboratively choreographing a dance routine or developing a short play that showcases her multifaceted talents. This hands-on project enables the development of creative skills while deepening their appreciation for Rhodes’ contributions.

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