Dance Choreography

 Dance Choreography is the Creative Process in Dance.

"Choreography is the arrangement of movement in time and space."

By William Forsythe.




Shape can be asymmetrical or symmetrical. Counter balance is another method that exhibits shape. By having an equal force of weight and energy evenly distributed from the base line of gravity, one or more objects can be suspended in harmonic balance. 


By implementing the concept of space in compositon, the space around you can be utilised. By using various stage directions, the movement can be reinterpreted.

Stage Corners:

The four corners (upstage left, upstage right, downstage left, downstage right) are very powerful areas on a stage. They are often used as the starting point for dancers and convey strength.

Centre Stage:

The stage centre is the MOST powerful point on stage. It is where the audience holds the most expectation. The centre should be used to create the peak of impact for the audience but not for the entire duration of the dance, as this effect is only temporary.


The main focal paths for the stage are the two major diagonals of the space. The dancer takes command of the space when moving directing from upstage to downstage along these lines.

Centre Line:

When a dancer begins from upstage centre and travels downstage to centre stage, the effect is damanding. Once the dancer reaches centre stage the impact is at its greatest. Traveling further downstage to the audience should be avoided then as the dancer becomes physically larger but the effect is diminished.

Weak Zones/Paths

Entrance from the side rather than a corner, circular paths, movement that travels upstage and when the main stage points are passed over loses power and intensity in effect.


The timing of steps in dance.


Dynamics refer to the way you dance. It is the variety in texture. The smoothness or sharpness of a movement and the various gradations of tempo and tension. The six types of movement include:


The most natural movement quality. A swing begins with a slight impulse, a giving away to gravity along the path of an arc and a momentary pause before repetition. Emotions conveyed through swinging is freedom.


Sustained movement is smooth and even. It is a continual release of energy that requires maximum control. This evokes a sense of clamness, restraint and suspense.


A sharp and aggressive movement that is vigorous and explosive. A suddent contraction of the muscles is momentaritly suspened until it is followed by a rebound action. Percussive movement evokes aggression.


Suspended movement is expressed when two opposing forces is even. It is the moment after a strong expenditure of energy is exherted from the ground and the dancer is suspended at the peak of a jump before succomboning to gravity and returning to the ground. This exhibits a sense of ectasy and anticipation.


Quick reoccuring reptetive movements produces a vibratory quality. Spurts of percussive energy spurts are used in a proximate range. This communicates fear and rage.


The release of tension where gravity takes over is a collapsed movement. This can be achieved through any part of the body in varying tempos. A collapsed movment is a downward action that is often followed by a recovery upwards. Emotions evoked include being helpless, overwhelmed and determination.

Locomotor and Non-Locomotor Movements:

LOCOMOTOR- Travelled Movement

Example: walk, run, jump, hop, roll, slide, waltz, skip, climb or gallop.

NON-LOCOMOTOR- Stationary Movement

Examples: bend, push, stretch, pull, twist, rock, balance, melt, shake or swing.

Rudolph Laban's Eight Basic Efforts:

Pressing, Wringing, Slashing, Punching, Flicking, Dabbing, Gliding and Floating.

The 16 Ways To Manipulate a Movement:

1) Repetition- Repeat movement exactly the same

2) Retrograde- Perform backwards, like a movie running from end to start

3) Inversion- Perform upside-down

4) Size- Condense or expand

5) Tempo- Fast/slow/still

6) Rhythm- Vary rhythm not tempo

7) Quality- suspended/sustained etc

8) Instrumentation- Perform movment with an alternate body part/s

9) Force- Varying energy exherted

10) Background- Alter design of body from original position

11) Staging- Adapt stage direction

12) Embellishment- decorate movement to include ornamentation

13) Levels- high/middle/low

14) Additive- incorporate locomotor movements

15) Fragmentation- isolate a part of the motif

16) Combination- combine more than one manipulation at the same time

The Choreographic Process:

What? Where? With Whom? How? Why?


Artists work on stored material. They build up a 'vocabulary' of steps and ideas gradually and relentlessly.
These fragments of dance build up and inhinit the artist's artistic conscious.


An opportunity arises, sometimes spontaneously through an idea, but more likely through a request to perform.

Creative Syntheses:

A state of anxiety may occur when the creative urge is fertilised by an idea. Then all the stored bits come together or synthesise for the 'creative imagination' in the putting together of things previously apart. 

Choreographic Forms:

Sequential Forms:

Narrative, Simple Binary form (AB), Tenery Form (ABA), Theme and Variation, Rondu (ABACA), Non Specified Sequential Form.

Contrapuntal Forms:

Situation, Dance by Chance, Canon (Round), Ground Bass and Fugue.

Return From Dance Choreography to Home