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Ways to use the Dance Vocabulary Cards

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  1. Print each page and laminate, or store in individual plastic pockets in a large file to access in every Dance lesson.



    Abstract movement Movement to represent an action - not mime
    Air Pathway A pattern made in the air by the use of body parts (e.g. arm, leg, head)
    Asymmetry A shape that has no line of reflection (mirror line), uneven in space or time
    Augmentation A dance device where movements are made larger in space or time
    Beat An underlying pulse in a piece of music (usually 3 or 4 beats in a bar)
    Body Base The body part/s on the floor (such as 2 feet, or 1 hand and 1 foot etc)
    Canon A dance device where a movement is repeated by other dancers at different times
    Elements of Dance Awareness of: Body, Space, Time, Energy and Relationships
    Embellishment Add detail to a move, such as a hand gesture or an arm movement
    Energy The way in which movement is performed using weight, time and flow
    Floor Pathway A direction taken across the floor (zigzag, curved, straight, diagonal)
    Focus Where a dancer is looking; concentration on the task
    Gesture An action such as a wave, a nod or a bow
    Genre A dance style (e.g. Kapa Haka, ballet, hip hop)
    Improvise Make up movement on the spot - no rehearsal
    Levels The height in space at which a dancer moves (e.g. high, medium, low)
    Literal movement Mime. The opposite to abstract movement
    Locomotor Movement A travelling movement across the floor
    Mirroring Reflecting the movements of another person as if they are a mirror image (facing each other)
    Narrative Structure A dance that tells a story through movement
    Non-Locomotor movement Movement performed on one spot
    Orientation The direction the dancers are facing
    Pathway Patterns created across the floor or in the air by the body or body parts
    Phrase A short section of movement
    Rhythm Movement patterns in time
    Rondo A dance structure of recurring sections (ABACAD)
    Sequence The order of the movements in a dance phrase
    Shadowing Copying the movements of another person by following behind them
    Symmetry A shape that has a line of reflection (a mirror line), even in space or time
    Tempo The speed of a piece of movement or music
    Unison All dancers performing the same movements at the same time
    Weight An effort action - firm, light, soft, strong, weak, heavy
  2. Select the appropriate words for the focus of each dance lesson and display on the whiteboard. They can then be referred to often throughout the lesson.
  3. Add one Dance word each week to spelling lists.
  4. Allow students to sort through them to identify the Elements of Dance.
  5. Allow students to sort through them at the end of the lesson and identify the dance terms used during the lesson.
  6. Select 2 Dance words and the students create sequences that use the words in a variety of ways
    • Locomotor and Shadowing - a sequence that has 2 different locomotor movements with a shadow
    • Non-locomotor and Mirroring
    • Symmetry and Asymmetry
    • Beat and Weight
    • Focus and Body Parts
  7. At the end of a piece of choreography encourage the students to find the dance terms they used in their compositions, then discuss how they used them.
    • What kinds of locomotor movement did you use?
    • Where was your focus?
    • How did you change levels?
    • When did you change from a curved pathway to a straight one?

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