Dance is a way of knowing andcommunicating. All societies use dance tocommunicate on both personal andcultural levels and to meet physical andspiritual needs.Dance, as with all the arts, has its ownlanguage. We need to learn this language inorder to fully understand and appreciate theworld of Dance.
The Language of DanceElements: Time, Space and ForceChoreographic Forms: Theme andVariations, Rondo and NarrativeStyles: (characteristics of)Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Modern
TIME: The relationship of one movement or part of a movementto another. Includes pulse, speed (or tempo), duration, rhythm,and phrases.Pulse: the ongoing underlying beatTempo: The speed with which a movement is performedRhythm: a flow of sound or movement having regular accented beats; amovement or activity in which some action repeats regularly;patterns made by arranging long and short sounds or strong andlight soundsDuration: the length of time a movement lasts: a long time, shorttime or something in betweenSyncopation: a temporary accenting of a normally weak beat in music tovary the rhythmPhrasing: a grouping and articulation of a group of notesAccent: a movement or shape performed in such a way as to giveemphasis.Elements
• SPACE: the area of space occupied by the dancer’s body; includesdirection, size, pathways, levels and shapes.• Direction: which way a dancer faces or moves; e.g., forward, backward,sideways, up and down• Size: magnitude of a body shape or movement; from small to largemovements• Pathways: patterns made as a dancer moves through the air or on the floor(straight, vertical, horizontal, zig-zag); can be made with locomotor or non-locomotor movements, separately or in combination.• Levels: the vertical distance from the floor. Movements take place on threelevels: high, middle or low and deep.• Shapes: the form created by the body’s position in space. Aspects of shapeare open/closed, symmetrical/asymmetrical, angular and curved.Elements
Elements• FORCE: (energy) degree of muscular tension and use ofenergy while moving.• Dynamics: how a movement is done• Flow: continuity of movement (bound/free flowing)• Weight: strength (force) lightness of movement(heavy/light)
Rondo: a dance structure with three or more themes whereone theme is repeated. ABACADTheme: the basic idea of the play, which the authordramatizes through the conflict of characters.Narrative: choreographic structure that follows a specificstory line to convey specific information through a danceVariations: contrasts in the use of the dance elements,repetitions.Choreography is the art of arranging dancesChoreographic Forms
SPACE• Pathways - curved lines, straight lines,zigzags, circles, figure-eights, and manymore• Shape - large, small, rounded, and angular• Level - high, medium, low or on the floor• Direction - forward, backwards, diagonally,sideways
All dance movements can belabeled as locomotor ornonlocomotor.NONLOCOMOTOR-movements that do notchange locationAH-E-2.1.31LOCOMOTOR-movementsthat travel
Locomotor MovementsDancers using locomotormovements may walk,run, skip, hop, jump,slide, leap, or gallop..These movements may behigh (possibly indicatingjoy), medium, or low(possibly indicatingsadness.)AH-E-2.1.31, 1.15, 2.23
Non-locomotor MovementsDancers are using non-locomotor movements whenthey stay in one place but bend, stretch, twist, orswing their body.
Styles (characteristics)Ballet: a classic form of dance growing out of theFrench nobility. Its root is court dances.It is known for its:•standardized dance movements•specialized leaps and lifts•French terminology to describe eachstandardized movement•Pointe shoes for women•slippers for men•costumes---tights, tutus
Styles (characteristics)Tap: is a percussive dance form in which dancersproduce sound by wearing shoes to which metal tapshave been added. Tap dance, an American dance formwhich concentrates on footwork and rhythm, has rootsin African, Irish and English clogging traditions. Itsroots lie in recreational dance (Irish Step dance, jig andAfrican steps).It is known for:•An emphasis on rhythm•Tap shoes•Costumes—formal to street wear•Improvisation
Jazz: American music marked by lively rhythms with unusualaccents and often including melodies made up by musicians as theyplay. It’s roots are in social dances and early musical theatre dance.It’s known for:•Stylized movement•Accents in hands, head, hips and feet•English/French terminology to describe movements•Jazz shoes or boots•Costume related to theme of dance•ImprovisationStyles (characteristics)
Modern: a form of dance developed by dancers interested inbreaking from ballet traditions and expressing a moreliberating form of movement. It expresses complex emotionsand abstract ideas.It is known for:•Freedom of movement•Usually barefoot but can use shoes based on theme•Costume related to dance theme•Improvisation used in the development of choreographyStyles (characteristics)
How is a dancecreated?Dances are created by combininglocomotor and nonlocomotormovements.A dance, like a book,has a beginning, a middle, and an end.AH-M-2.1.34
Culture and Dance• Nearly all culturesincorporate dance insome way.• Dance is a majorcomponent of manycultures.• Dance is often usedto communicate orcelebrate.
Some more about dance & culture• Cultures use dance in ways thatare both social and personal.• What are some examples ofculture and dance you can thinkof? How do those cultures usedance?AH-E-2.2.33, A-HI-2.2.31, AH-M-2.2.32
Dance is also representativeof time periodsWhat time period do you think of when you hear:*Charleston,*Virginia Reel,*Swing,*Disco,*Break dancing, or*Hip Hop?Something to think about…How are the dances of these time periods related to the politics of the time?AH-H-2.3.31, AH-H-2.3.311
Dance in History• Dance has played animportant function in manycultures throughout history.• Dance styles, costumes,and music often reflect thepolitical climate of the time.• Dances such as the“Locomotion”, “Macarena”,and even the “ChickenDance” all perform afunction in our society –they create a “group” ofdancers having fun!AH-E-2.2.31, 1.15, 2.23, 2.25
Is there anything elseI should know?Dance allows the dancer orchoreographer tocommunicate their ideas,thoughts, and feelingsthrough movement. Thesemovements are structuredand repeatable, in that theycan be taught to others.AH-E-2.1.14, 1.15, 2.22
Dance is often used to tell a storyAH-M-2.2.31, AH-2.2.32, AH-E.2.1.31Like a story or a book,each dance has abeginning, middle, andan end. Dance is madeup “movementmaterials”, connectedinto “phrases” and puttogether into a completedance.