Dance Terms

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Part of the Arts & Humanities Core Content
Altered for use with 5th grade students at Perryville & Junction City Elementary Schools, 2005, by Lori Theaker, MSLS

True or False
*Dance is always done to music. *You need a partner to dance. *The first ballet dancers were men. *To dance, you need special training and you have to be thin.

Dance and Movement
• What is the difference between everyday movements and dance? • When does movement become dance? Movement becomes dance when the elements of dance (space, time, and force) are intentionally incorporated.

AH-E-2.1.31, AH-M-2.1.33

• Pathways - curved lines, straight lines, zigzags, circles, figure-eights, and many more • Shape - large, small, rounded, and angular • Level - high, medium, low or on the floor • Direction - forward, backwards, diagonally, sideways
AH-E-2.1.31, 1.15, 2.23

• TEMPO - fast, slow, moderate • DURATION - short, long • BEAT - pulse of the music

AH-E-2.1.31, 1.15, 2.23

the use of energy while moving
• QUALITY-smooth, sharp, round, free, flowing • ENERGY-weak, strong • WEIGHT-heavy, light, suspended collapsed


AH-E-2.1.31, 1.15, 2.23

All dance movements can be labeled as locomotor or nonlocomotor.
NONLOCOMOTOR-movements that do not change location

LOCOMOTOR-movements that travel

Locomotor Movements
Dancers using locomotor movements may walk, run, skip, hop, jump, slide, leap, or gallop. These movements may be high (possibly indicating joy), medium, or low (possibly indicating sadness.)

AH-E-2.1.31, 1.15, 2.23

Non-locomotor Movements
Dancers are using non-locomotor movements when they stay in one place but bend, stretch, twist, or swing their body.

How is a dance created?
Dances are created by combining locomotor and nonlocomotor movements. A dance, like a book, has a beginning, a middle, and an end.


Dance has 3 main forms
• ceremonial (religion, celebration, ritual) • recreational (folk, social dancing, aerobic dance) • artistic (ballet, modern, narrative, tap, lyrical).

Culture and Dance
• Nearly all cultures incorporate dance in some way. • Dance is a major component of many cultures. • Dance is often used to communicate or celebrate.

Some more about dance & culture
• Cultures use dance in ways that are both social and personal. • What are some examples of culture and dance you can think of? How do those cultures use dance?

AH-E-2.2.33, A-HI-2.2.31, AH-M-2.2.32

Dance is also representative of time periods
What 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 an important function in many cultures throughout history. Dance styles, costumes and music often reflect the political climate of the time. Dances such as the “Locomotion”, “Macarena”, and even the “Chicken Dance” all perform a function in our society – they create a “group” of dancers having fun!


AH-E-2.2.31, 1.15, 2.23, 2.25

Is there anything else I should know?
Dance allows the dancer or choreographer to communicate their ideas, thoughts, and feelings through movement. These movements are structured and repeatable, in that they can be taught to others.
AH-E-2.1.14, 1.15, 2.22

Dance is often used to tell a story
Like a story or a book, each dance has a beginning, middle and an end. Dance is made up “movement materials”, connected into “phrases” and put together into a complete dance.

AH-M-2.2.31, AH-2.2.32, AH-E.2.1.31

Resources used for this presentation include: • KET’s DanceSense, • an original Power Point presentation created by Anna W. Martin (sent to JCES staff by HSE Pam Clemons) • Microsoft Office ClipArt files

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