Select Subject:  
 
A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z   

AB

A two-part compositional form in which the second part differs from the first.

ABA

A three-part compositional form in which the first and last parts are the same and the middle part is different.

ABC

A three-part compositional form, often with a moderate beginning, slow middle, and fast ending.

Abstract

To simplify or exaggerate movement to serve the purpose of the composition; a dance movement that has been removed from a representational context.

Accent

A stress or emphasis on a specific beat or movement.

Accumulation

A choreographic device in which a sequence is repeated with the addition of one or more movements each time; for example, 1, 1-2, 1-2-3, etc.

Aesthetic criteria

Standards by which to judge a work of art or a performance.

Agility

The ability to change the position of one's body quickly, control the movement of one's body, and move with ease or kinetic flow.

Alignment

The body's organized response to gravity and the need to find balance (synonym: posture).

Asymmetrical

A body shape or choreographic formation in which two sides are not alike.

Audience etiquette

Parameters of acceptable behavior for audience members at performances.

Balance

1. The ability to maintain one's stability; 2. in composition, the arrangement of sections of a dance and/or the use of the performance space to create a sense of equilibrium.

Bend

To bring two body parts closer together.

Canon

A sequence in which identical movement phrases are begun by different dancers successively so that the phrases overlap in a manner similar to that of a musical "round."

Center stage

At or toward the center of the performance space.

Chance dance

A choreographic form that allows the structure to be determined by some random outside element or rule (for example, flipping a coin or rolling dice).

Choreograph

To arrange, compose, or create a dance.

Choreographer

A person who creates and/or arranges movements to create a dance.

Choreographic device

A compositional tool used to manipulate movements within a dance; for example, canon, unison, retrograde, accumulation, or acceleration.

Cinquain

A five-line poem that consists of a noun, two adjectives, three verbs, a four-word phrase, and another noun or synonym at the end.

Competitive exchange

A process or format of dance in which participants take turns trying to demonstrate spectacular movement, as in "call and response" and or "call and echo."

Concentration

The act or process of applying close, undivided attention.

Contact improvisation

A dance style in which two or more dancers spontaneously create movement by using close physical connectedness and weight sharing.

Contraction

Movements generated by muscular tension, often accompanied by a shortening or pulling inward of any part of the body.

Contrast

The use of movements with different or opposite dynamics, shapes, or use of space.

Cool-down

Movements and movement phrases designed to cool down core body temperature and stretch muscles after dancing.

Coordination

The ability to use the senses together with the parts of the body, or to use two or more body parts together.

Core

The muscular and skeletal structures in the center of the body, including the abdomen, spine, and pelvis.

Counterbalance

The process by which balance is maintained by placing an equal weight in the opposite direction.

Crawl

To move low to the ground on hands and knees while employing cross-lateral movements of hands and legs.

Diminution

A choreographic device in which movement phrases are reduced in size or extent.

Direction

The line or course along which a dancer or body part is moving in relation to the body's center.

Distal

The position of a body part or location situated away from the center of the body or from the point of attachment.

Double-time

A movement performed in half the originally demonstrated amount of time.

Downstage

At or toward the front of the performance space.

Duet

A dance performed by two people.

Duple

A meter in which the basic unit of pulse recurs in groups of two.

Duration

The total length of time in the course of which a movement or dance occurs.

Dynamics

In dance, the degree of effort (energy/force) and the speed (time) with which a movement is executed (synonym: movement quality).

Echo

To repeat a movement exactly as shown.

Effort actions

Specific actions (as defined by Rudolf von Laban) that combine the efforts of time (quick/sustained), weight (powerful/delicate), and space (direct/indirect) into eight unique actions: dab, float, glide, slash, wring, punch, flick, and press.

Elements of dance

Space, time, and energy/force.
   Energy/force: An element of dance; the quality of movement; how a movement is performed, including smooth, sharp, free-flow, bound-flow, strong, light, sustained, and percussive.
   Space: An element of dance; where bodies move in a dance, including levels, directions, pathways, sizes, and relationships.
   Time: An element of dance that includes tempo, rhythm, duration, and speed.

Endurance

The ability of the muscles to perform physical tasks over a period of time without becoming fatigued.

Energy/force

An element of dance; the quality of movement; how a movement is performed, including smooth, sharp, free-flow, bound-flow, strong, light, sustained, and percussive.
   Light: A quality of movement that minimizes the appearance of strength and/or weight.
   Sharp: Sudden, percussive quality in a movement.
   Smooth: Continuous, sustained quality in a movement.
   Strong: A quality of movement that maximizes the appearance of strength and/or weight.
   Free-flow: An uncontrolled, unrestricted quality of movement.
   Bound-flow: A contained, controlled quality of movement.

Exaggeration

A choreographic device in which movements or movement phrases are enlarged or altered beyond the original proportion.

Expansion

A choreographic device in which movement or movement phrases are made larger or broader or become more fully developed.

Expression

The nuances (of tempo, dynamics, phrasing, and so forth) by means of which the performance of a movement conveys ideas and feelings.

Extension

Reaching or stretching any part of the body away from its point of origin or the body's center.

External rotation

A pivoting of a bone in a joint away from the midline (in the legs, the degree is commonly referred to as "turn-out").

Flexibility

The ability to move the joints and muscles through a full range of motion.

Flexion

Bending or folding any part of the body toward its point of origin or the body's center.

Flow

A quality of energy whereby movements can either be contained or free flowing.

Fluent

Moving smoothly from part to part and movement to movement, or demonstrating transitional flow.

Focus

1. The ability to concentrate and keep one's attention fixed on the matter at hand; 2. The direction in which the dancer is looking and the manner in which the dancer is relating (single, multi, direct, indirect); 3. the point towards which the audience's attention is directed.

Form/design

A principle of choreography/composition; the organization and sequencing of sections of a dance into an overall whole.

Fullest extent

A full, physical engagement and commitment to the quality of a performance.

Gallop

A two-beat stride during which both legs are off the ground simultaneously: either the right foot stays back and the left foot is forward or the left foot stays back and the right foot is forward; one foot always chases the other.

General space

The space through which a dancer travels (for example, shared or common space).

Genre

Types or categories of dance (such as ballet, ballroom, and hip-hop).

Grand pliƩ

A ballet term for a deep knee bend in which the heels come off of the ground, except in second position.

Grapevine

A series of side steps in which one foot crosses in front of and behind the other foot (for example, step left side, cross right foot in front, step left side, cross right foot behind).

Halftime

A movement performed in twice the originally demonstrated amount of time, by slowing down the beat. For example, an eight-count rise becomes a sixteen-count rise.

Hop

To spring into the air by taking off from one foot and landing on the same foot.

Improvise

To create or compose with little or no planning, but with purpose.

Intentional energy

Energy/force that is purposeful and expresses the ideas and feelings that the dancer or choreographer intended.

Internal rotation

A pivoting of a bone in a joint toward the midline.

Jump

To spring into the air by taking off from and landing on both feet.

Juxtapose

In choreography, placing two or more different dance phrases or elements side by side, or one in front of the other, so that they are performed simultaneously.

Kinesphere

The "bubble" of space immediately surrounding a dancer, including all levels and directions that the dancer can reach by extending the limbs and torso (synonym: personal space).

Leap

To spring into the air by taking off from one foot and landing on the other foot.

Level

The dancer's location in relation to the floor; high, middle, and low.

Locomotor movement

Movement that travels through space.
   Hop: A basic locomotor movement that involves leaving the floor from one foot and landing on the same foot.
   Gallop: A two-beat stride during which both legs are off the ground simultaneously: either the right foot stays back and the left foot is forward, or the left foot stays back and the right foot is forward; one foot always chases the other.
   Jump: To spring into the air by taking off from and landing on both feet.
   Leap: to spring into the air by taking off from one foot and landing on the other foot.

Meter

In music, the grouping of beats in a measure (determined by the time signature).

Mirroring

A skill that involves one partner leading by performing a movement and the other partner imitating the leader's movement simultaneously.

Movement motif

A movement-related idea, shape, or gesture that recurs in a composition of a dance.

Movement theme

A movement, a phrase, or an idea in a dance that can be developed or varied.

Narrative

A choreographic form that tells a story through the development of a character or situation.

Negative space

The unoccupied or empty area surrounding a dancer's body.

Non-locomotor movement (axial movement):

The movement that is performed "in place" around the axis of the body; non-locomotor movement does not travel through space.

Opposition

The position or movement of one part of the body in contrast to another; for example, the left arm moves to the right, while the left leg moves to the left.

Originality

The use of arts knowledge and skills to solve problems and express ideas in unique and personal ways.

Pantomime

The nonverbal gestural communication of an action, an emotion, an activity, or an idea.

Pathway

The route that a dancer takes through general space, or the route that a specific body part takes through personal space/self-space.

Pattern

The intentional repetition of the elements and movements of dance.

Personal space

The space that a dancer's body occupies; the "bubble" of space immediately surrounding a dancer, including all levels and directions that the dancer can reach by extending the limbs and torso.

Phrase

A sequence of at least three movements that convey a sense of continuity.

Pirouette

The act of spinning on one foot, typically with the raised foot touching the knee of the supporting leg.

Place

A position or location in space and in relation to other dancers.

Polyrhythm

A rhythm that makes use of two or more rhythms at once.

Positive space

The space filled by the dancer's body.

Posture/stance

The relationship of the body (skeleton) to the line of gravity and the base of support.

Prepositional relationship

The relationship between body parts, dancers, props, or space that shows a prepositional connection (for example, under, over, behind).

Principles of choreography/composition

   Form/design: The organization and sequence of sections of a dance into an overall whole.
   Theme: The content that informs a piece of choreography; the theme may be taken from the movement itself (for example, expanding and contracting) or from other sources (for example, ideas, images, or emotions).
   Repetition: The repeated use of a movement, movement phrase, or element.
   Emphasis: The importance given to certain moments in the dance.
   Balance: The arrangement of the sections of a dance and/or the use of the performance space to create a sense of equilibrium.
   Contrast: The use of movements with different or opposite dynamics, shapes, or uses of space.
   Variety: The use of artistic elements in a work to create differences that add interest.

Proximal joints

Situated nearer to the center of the body or the point of attachment (for example, shoulder and hip joints); the opposite of distal.

Pulse

An underlying steady beat expressed in the body (the source of the pulse can be internal or external).

Quartet

A dance performed by four dancers.

Range of motion

The extent of movement that is possible using the joints and muscles.

Repertoire

A body of existing artistic work.

Repetition

The repeated use of a movement, movement phrase, or element.

Respond

To express (verbally, in writing, or through movement) a response to dance.

Retrograde

A choreographic device in which dance movements or phrases are performed backwards.

Revise

To rework dancing or choreography with the goal of improvement.

Rhythm

The pattern or structure of time shown through movement or sound.

Roll

To move by turning over on an axis.

Rotation

Turning the whole body around itself; a pivoting of a bone in a proximal joint.

Self-space

The area in which movement happens within one's kinesphere ("bubble" of space); see kinesphere and personal space.

Setting

The "where" of a dance, including time and place.

Shadowing

Skill that involves one partner leading by performing a movement and the other partner(s) following or copying the leader's movement.

Shape

The three dimensional form a body takes in space, such as curved, angular, twisted, straight, symmetrical, or asymmetrical.

Skip

To step from one foot to the other with a hop in between.

Slide

To travel by sliding one foot along the floor in any direction until both legs are separated and bent, and bringing the other leg to meet the first as both legs straighten.

Solo

A dance performed by one person.

Stage left

At or toward the performer's left when facing downstage.

Stage right

At or toward the performer's right when facing downstage.

Stillness

A pause in movement (synonym: rest).

Strength

The amount of force a muscle can exert.

Stretch

To elongate or extend one's limbs or body.

Structured improvisation

The use of spontaneous movement to explore the elements of dance within a given framework.

Style

The distinctive characteristic or technique of an individual artist, group, or period.

Swing

A movement that suspends and then falls in an arched pathway by giving into gravity; individual body parts may swing, as can the whole body.

Symmetrical

Identical on both sides of a central line.

Syncopation

The process of displacing the expected beats by anticipating or delaying one half-beat, so that the strong beats become weak and the weak beats become strong.

Tempo

The pace at which a piece of music or dance is performed.

Theme

The content that informs a piece of choreography; the theme may be taken from the movement itself (for example, expanding and contracting), or from other sources (for example, ideas, images, or emotions); a phrase or sequence of movement around which a dance is constructed.

Theme and variation

A choreographic form in which a movement/phrase (theme) is established and followed by a series of variations.

Transition

Going from one movement/phrase to another, or from one shape to another; the quality of transitions affects the overall flow of the dance.

Transposition

A choreographic device that transfers a movement to a different part of the body (for example, the swing of an arm becomes the swing of a leg).

Trio

A dance performed by three people.

Triple

A meter in which the basic unit of pulse recurs in groups of three.

Triplet

A walk or run with a downbeat on one, followed by two up beats.

Turn

To change the position of one's body to face in a different direction, or to rotate one's body in a circular motion around an axis or point (for example, pirouette).

Twist

To form into a bent, curling, spiraled, or distorted shape.

Unison

Individuals and groups perform the same movement/phrase at the same time.

Upstage

At or toward the back of the performance space.

Variety/variation

1. A principle of choreography/composition in which different elements of dance or a full spectrum of one element are used to create a dance; 2. The use of artistic elements in a work to create differences that add interest.

Walk

To move at a regular and steady pace by lifting and setting down each foot in turn and never having both feet off of the ground at once.

Warm-up

Movements and movement phrases that are designed to raise the core body temperature and increase blood and oxygen flow in preparation for dancing.

Weight-sharing

The process of giving or receiving weight between two or more dancers.

 
 
Close