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University of the East

Senior High School Department

Introduction to Dance

Ibañez, John Patrick
Talde, Tristan
Castro, Jomari
Adriano, Simon
Pingul, Raven

ABM 12-16
Ms. Enterina.
Dance can be seen among all the people and civilizations of the world. Dance
thrived at different periods of history and mostly were a result of intercultural exchange and
contact (Alejandro and Santos-Gana, 2002). The origins of dance are rooted in the prehistoric
past. Dance became full blown and was richly recorded in hieroglyphs. Most of the Dances
during this era were chiefly a medium of religious expression. Dance then was wholly accepted
in the courts during the early renaissance as the gradual increase of the capitalist class produced
patrons of learning and art in Europe. The old restraints were loosened and clerical ideas and
purposes no longer dominate all creative expressions of the human spirit (Kraus and Gaufman,

Elements of Dance

The Elements of Dance are the foundational concepts and vocabulary that help
students develop movement skills and understand dance as an artistic practice. Since dance
entails a lot of movements it uses the very same elements, space, time, and energy. These
elements are beneficial to anyone interested in recognizing, analyzing, or creating movement.


Dancers interact with space in myriad ways. They may stay in open place or they
may travel form one place to another. They may alter the direction, level, size and focus of their

A. Direction - movements can travel in any direction. The performers can go forward, side,
backward, diagonal, circular, and so on

B. Size - movements can be varied by doing larger or smaller actions.

C. Level - movements can be done in a high, medium, or low level.

D. Focus - performers may change their focus by looking at different directions.


In dance, timing refers to moving to the beat of music. The movements in timing may be
executed in varying tempo (speed). Performers move with the tempo of a underlying sound know
as beat or pulse.


Choices about energy include variations in movements flow and the use of force, tension, and

A. Sustained - movements are done smoothly, continuously, and with flow and control.

B . Percussive - movements are explosive or sharp in contrast with sustained movements.
C . Vibratory - movements consist of trembling or shaking.

D. Swinging - movements trace curved line or an arc in space.

E. Suspended - movements are perched in space or hanging on air.

F. Collapsing - movements are released in tension and gradually or abruptly giving in to gravity,
letting the body descend to the floor.


Another way to describe the body in dance to consider the body systems muscles, bones,
organs, breath reflexes.

Two kind of Bodily Shapes

A. Symmetrical - balanced shape; movements are practically identical or similar on both sides.

B. Asymmetrical - unbalanced shape; movements of two sides of the body do not match or
completely different from each other.


In this elements, a group of dancers perform movements in different group shapes. They are
arranged in ways that are wide, narrow, rounded, angular, symmetrical, or asymmetrical and are
viewed together as a total picture or arrangements within a picture frame ( Minton, 2007).

Dance Appreciation and Composition

What makes a great performance? Is it performing the dance steps perfectly? Is it dancing
without mistakes? What about expression? What about movement quality? A good dance was
made when dancer/s dances with emotion. When he/she expressed his/her feeling when dancing
and delivered its meaning to the audience. A good dance not only comes with a prefect
choreography but comes on how dancers express what they feel and what is needed to be feel by
the audience. Dance has a beginning, middle, and ending.

3 parts of Dance
1. Beginning - In which a dance starting point may come in shape, a pose, or an entrance. It
varies depending on the dance's theme.

2. Middle - Consists of the development or exploration of the main idea. This is where all the
choreography happens.

3. Ending - The ending of a dance may also come in a form of shape, pose or an exit. Dancers
should end their performance with a bang. Therefore, a good dance must have a shape or form in
order for its choreography to be effective.
It must also have a form by means of arrangement, meaning and purpose. (Lockhart, 1982)
Combination of steps should be in rhythm, to make it pleasant to watch. Because form is the
organizing factor in any work or dance competition. Form is composed of several units and the
small units are called phrases.

1. The combined and arranged elements that results in unity and consistency - rhythm

2. Form should progress through time from the beginning to end.

3. Section of the several units such as phrases should smoothly connected to each another.

what is phrase?

When you combine one movement with several others, they form a unit.When units are pieced
together, they make up a section in the choroegraphy and the secrions together form a whole
dance. Therefore, "a phrase is the smallest unit form in the whole dance. It can be related to a
sentence in writing compositions. Choreographers and dancers use movement phrasing when
working on dances.

What is the characteristics of a good dance?

Dance only considered good if it has the right ingredients, whether it has a meaning or may be
presented abstractly.

These are the characteristics included:

1. Unity- The interconnected phrases of the dance are coherent and flow smoothly together.
The movement of dancer should be all similar.
2. Continuity and Development- the phase of dance that are organized, progressively,
making each movement phrase move naturally into the next step. In a dance it should be
continuous development of movement through the end.
3. Variety and Contrast- making one or several variations that highlight the facet of the
motif. This provides variety within the development of the dance. Variety and contrast in
movement phrases add excitement and flavor. Changing the direction, use energy, timing
of a movement, and avoiding repeating are the ways to add variety to a dance.
4. Transition - This link between movements, phrases, and sections of the dance. It makes
the logical progression of the dance flow smoothly. Transitions may vary from length
and complexity.
5. Repetition- It emphasizes movement and phrases that are important to the dance and
gives a feeling of closure to a work. Some phases need a repeated in choreography.This
function to make clearer the meaning or intention of the dance.

6. Climax-This is where the apex of energy in dance is reached. May be fast and enraged
blast energy and action, or it could fade away to a gentle and quiet exit that marks the end of
particular story. he music will often assist both choreographer and audience.

To recognize a good dance when all these characteristics have been applied in the choregraphy.

Sequential Form

AB A two part compositional form with an A theme and a B theme. 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.

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

Rondo A choreographic form of three or more themes with an alternating return to the main
theme (ABACADA).

Theme and Variation A choreographic form in which a dance phrase or section of a dance is
followed by subsequent phrases or sections that are variations of the original, usually for the sake
of variety.

Contrapuntal forms

Ground Bass A choreographic form in which a group of dancers repeat a series of simple
movements while, in front, a smaller number of dancers (or soloist) perform (s) a contrasting,
often more complex dance phrase.

Canon A choreographic form that reflects the musical form of the same name in which
individuals and groups perform the same movement phrase beginning at different times.
Accumulation A choreographic device where new movements are added to existing movements
in a successive manner. It generally begins with move 1, then 1 + 2, then 1 + 2 + 3. The word
was used by Trisha Brown in 1971 to name a solo dance work based on adding one movement
gesture to another, one at a time, and repeating the growing phrase with each new movement. As
Trisha Brown’s works are so widely known, this word has spread among the dance community
and it is used nowadays to talk about a way of creating choreography as a compositional method.

Suite- every section of the dance use different tempos and qualities. Commonly, it has a
moderate beginning, a slow middle section and a fast and lively end section.


They are found in literature, through connected and progressive sections, chapters or episodes.
Each section reveals more of the plot.
- may provide a narrative, e.g. Petipa's classical ballets; The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake.
- There are also dances in which an episodic structure is used, but not to create a narrative. This
type of structure is seen in Christopher Bruce's Sergeant Early's Dream (1984). The different
episodes in this work do not tell a story but present different scenes from one community.

Other Compositional Forms

a. Natural structures- mostly come from natural structures such as seasons, life, cycles, and
everyday life experiences. All these present rich materials for organic dance structure.
b. Collage- a choreographic form that consists of a series of movement phrases that are
often unrelated but have been brought together to create a single dance with a beginning,
middle, and end.
c. Tableau- a silent group of people frozen in time to represent a scene, abstract idea, or
theme. Consider using an overhead projector to create a square of light big enough for the
tableau. Have one group stand in a line in the light and the other group sit as an audience
facing the light. Turn the classroom lights off, ensuring that there is not complete
darkness. Have the students take their positions and bring the light back on to reveal the
tableau. Ensure that the students practise taking their positions in the “dark.”
d. Chance- the movement phrases are performed in random order and spatial placing. Every
time the dance is performed, it is done in different order and therefore has a different
appearance (McGeevy- Nichols et al., 2005).

The success of any dance performance may depend on who the evaluators are. Appreciation on
the importance of dance comes from the points of view of the choreographer,the dancer, or the
audience. These people are the ones who would be able to analyze,understand, and appreciate the
performance. According to Linda Rickett-Young (1996) ,the evaluators roles are categorized as:

1.Choreographers-they will evaluate a part of an ongoing process of developing a personal style
which is both spontaneous and organized.
2.Dancers-they will evaluate according to the specific demands that the performance place on

3.Audiences-they will evaluate according to the particular context of the dance.

In order to transpire evaluation and appreciation in dance, the evaluators must have a basic
understanding and knowledge of the elements and characteristics of choreography (discussed in
the previous sections). They mist be knowledgeable enough in order for them to give sound
evaluation and develop a noble appreciation in any work of art or composition.

It takes serious thoughts and practices to be able to evaluate any form of artistic composition as
well as requires immense skill in writing a critique. Linda Rickett-Young (1996) suggested three
stages in a dance critique for the critic to follow, namely,description,interpretation, and

Stages in Assessing a Dance (Dance Critique)

1.Description-involves close observation of all the elements,characteristics, and components of a
dance as described in the previous sections of this worktext. Here,the evaluator/critic notes down
the composition of the dance in terms of the elements and the characteristics of dance. Example
of which are noting down the variation,unity,space,time,transition,climax, and so on.

2.Interpretation-involves an appreciation of the ideas,content,images and style contained within
the dance.

3.Evaluation-takes into consideration how effectively the features (i.e. elements,characteristics)
and the context of the dance have been utilized in the actual performance of the dancers to
portray the content and the quality of the dance.

Analyzing and evaluating dance does not come out naturally and does not happen overnight.
Beginner evaluators/critics need guidance and direction in conceptualizing a dance critique.