A choreographic device where a literal movement is manipulated to open the associations with the movement for an audience and remove its narrative elements.


Alignment reflects correct alignment of the ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles to create a line directly down the side of the body from the ears down through to the feet of the dancer.

Analysing dance

This may be thought of as identifying the formal structures of dance and looking at the relationships between the elements of dance, choreographic devices and structure and/or design concepts with the choreographic intent.


The equal distribution of weight. Harmonious arrangement of parts.


A two part choreographic structure with an A theme and a B theme (AB). The binary form consists of two distinct self-contained sections that share either a character or quality i.e. the same tempo, movement quality, or style.


As an element of dance it encompasses:

  • body awareness—this centres on consciousness of the body in space including body shapes, body bases, body parts, body zones, locomotor and non-locomotor movements
  • body bases—the body parts that support the rest of the body e.g. when standing the feet are the body base
  • body parts—legs, arms, head torso, hands, feet
  • body activity—weight transference, travelling, turning, rising, falling
  • body shapes—curved, straight, open, closed, symmetrical,   asymmetrical
  • body zones—body areas of right side, left side (sagittal plane), front, back (frontal or coronal plane), upper half, lower half (traverse plane).


A choreographic device that reflects the musical form of the same name in which individuals and groups perform the same movement phrase, beginning at different times.

Choreographic devices

Tools of the choreographer used for the creation of dances such as abstraction, canon, motif, contrast, accumulation, repetition, reversal, retrograde, inversion, fragmentation, and embellishment.

Choreographic intent

The purpose behind the composition or performance of movement.

Choreographic processes

The fundamentally accepted methods for creating dances.

Choreographic structure

The preconceived plan for the arrangement of movement in a particular structure that a choreographer uses when creating a dance. Examples of such structures includes AB (binary), ABA (ternary), rondo (ABACA), theme and variation (A, A1, A2, A3), and narrative.


The art of planning and arranging dance movements into a meaningful whole; the process of building a composition; a finished dance work.

Contemporary dance

A broadly inclusive term to describe an approach to dance that draws on modern dance elements, classical ballet, release work and other forms of dance Many contemporary dance pieces reflect explorations of structure and body dynamics in space/time.


A choreographic device where dance elements are altered to create oppositions, thus making contrasts such as high/low, big/little.

Cool down

Following dancing, the dancer should allow the body to gradually warm down (cool down).


The values, attitudes, customs, practices, language and conventions commonly shared by a particular group that forms a part of their identity as a group and contributes towards a sense of shared understanding.

Design concepts

The use of design and technologies to enhance dance. This includes lighting, music/sound, multimedia, costume, props, sets, staging.

Elements of dance

The basic (key) components of dance: body, energy, space, time (BEST). These elements can be combined and manipulated to communicate and express meaning through movement. See Body, Energy, Space, Time.


As an element of dance it focuses on the weight and force of power (dynamics) needed to produce and/or manipulate a movement.

Evaluating dance

This may be thought of as making judgements about the dance based on identified criteria

Expressive skills

The use of facial expression to communicate in performance.


Conscious attention toward a certain point; with eyes, body parts, or the direction in which the dancer faces. Focus is not just confined to the eyes. It also involves the use of the whole body focus to project and to communicate the intention of the dance.


A specific category of dance that has a tradition or history and is identifiable by specific characteristics, social and cultural contexts (e.g. classical ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap).

Historical contexts

When the dance was made. The relevant developments in that era may influence the dance.


Improvisational structures permit the dancer elements of freedom and creativity in making movement and dances. The dancer can employ any number of  strategies and creative responses to pursue an outcome where the result is not fully known, for example

  • a floor plan which is ‘scored’ but in which the movement is unknown; or
  • where the movement is designed but the floor plan is open and the dancer is given the freedom to make the spatial decisions.

Other decisions might affect the timing, the choice of music and any elements of BEST.


The altitude of a movement in relation to its distance from the floor. The height of the dance floor. - Low: close to the floor with the intention downwards. - Medium: the level of everyday walking. - High: any movement done with elevation, not necessarily a jump. It implies a lifting of the chest and an upward focus.


Travelling movements through space involving a change in location of the body in space. (The basic locomotor steps are walk, run, jump; irregular rhythmic combinations are skip, slide, and gallop).


A movement, gesture or short movement phrase which has the potential to be developed in the dance/work.

Movement Qualities

Amount of energy, intensity, or power, subtle variation in the treatment of contrasts. The manner in which movement is applied, continued, or arrested. Movement qualities can be described as: sharp, soft, floppy, stiff, smooth, jiggered etc.)

Movement Sequences

A series of movements, longer than a phrase but shorter than a section of a dance.


The use of different forms of media to support and enhance dance. For examples, graphics, text, digital media, audio, video (live or sampled).


The music elements of a dance performance. Attention and sensitivity to the musical ear while creating or performing.


A choreographic structure that follows a specific story line and intends to convey specific information through that story.

Non-Locomotor Movements

Movement occurring above a stationary base; movement of the body around its own axis (also called axial movement, which includes bending, stretching, pushing, pulling, bouncing, swinging, shaking and twisting).


Patterns created in the air or on the floor by the body or body parts as a dancer or dancers move through space.


A balanced alignment of the body, hips, torso, limbs, head, knees, rib cage.


The communication of meaning through extension and focus of the body.

Purposeful play

A context for learning in dance through which children organise and make sense of their social worlds, as they can engage actively with people, objects and representations.


A choreographic device whereby a movement or motif are repeated exactly for emphasis or to gain interest.

Safe dance practices

The practice of selecting and executing movement safely. The focus is on providing dance activities and exercises which allows students to participate without risk of injury. Safe dance practices also include emotional safe spaces where individuals are able to take creative risks in a supportive learning environment.


The area where the body moves; including level, dimension (3D and 4D), direction (up, down, left, right, forward, backward, diagonal), active space (the meaning the space takes through the dance), positive space (the space the dancer occupies), negative space (space outside the positive space), pathways (creation of shapes through the space), personal (area around the dancer's body), performance space (the area designated for the dance performance).


Within the broad categorisation of genre it is possible to draw further distinctions between constituent groups and identify them as particular styles. For example, ballet (genre) may be identified as romantic, classical or modern in style.

Technical skills

Combinations of proficiencies in control, accuracy, strength, alignment, balance and coordination. This will include the acquisition of appropriate strength, flexibility, coordination and endurance in the performance of body actions, locomotor and non-locomotor and developed to perform in specific dance styles and genres.


The acquisition and execution of dance skills within a dance genre or style.


A three-part choreographic structure in which the second section contrasts with the first section (ABA). The third section is a restatement of the first section in a condensed, abbreviated, or extended form.


Time refers to how long a dance takes, including metre, tempo, momentum, accent, duration, phrasing, rhythmic patterns, stillness and beat.


Two or more people performing the same movement at the same time.


Activities that raise the core body temperature and loosen the muscles before dancing.