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Alyssa Carreon

on 24 July 2015

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What are the Elements of Movement Space?
alyssa carreon
“No paints nor brushes, marbles nor chisels, pianos or violins are needed to make this art, for we are the stuff that dance is made of. It is born in our body, exists in our body and dies in our body. Dance, then, is the most personal of all the arts . . . it springs from the very breath of life.”
In dance, the body is the mobile figure or shape, felt by the dancer, seen by others. The body is sometimes relatively still and sometimes changing as the dancer moves in place or travels through the dance area. Dancers may emphasize specific parts of their body in a dance phrase or their whole body.
These are just some of the ways to describe body:

Parts of the Body:
head, eyes, face, shoulders, fingers, torso, legs, feet, etc.
Whole Body:

body shape
: symmetrical/asymmetrical, rounded, twisted, angular, arabesque, elongated, squat

body systems:
muscles, bones, organs, breath, balance, reflexes

senses, perceptions,
emotions, thoughts, intention, imagination, identity, reflection
Action is any human movement included in the act of dancing—it can include dance steps, facial movements, lifts, carries, and catches, and even everyday movements such as walking. Dancers may choose movement that has been done before, or they may add their own original movements to the existing dance movement vocabulary. Dancers may also revise or embellish movement they have learned from others.
These are just some of the ways to describe action:

Non-locomotor (axial):
stretch, bend, twist, turn, rise, fall, swing, rock, tip, shake

Locomotor (traveling):
slide, walk, hop, somersault, run, skip, jump, leap, roll, crawl, gallop, chainé turns, do-si-do

Dancers may also orient their movement toward objects or in relation to natural settings. Sometimes dances are created for specific locations such as an elevator or a barge for site-based performances. Spatial relationships between dancers or between dancers and objects are the basis for design concepts such as beside, in front of, over, through, around, near or far.
These are just some of the ways to describe space:

Size: large, small, narrow, wide

Level: high, medium, low

Place: on the spot (personal space), through the space (general space), upstage/downstage

Direction: forward/backward, sideways, diagonal, right/left

Orientation: facing

Pathway: curved/straight, zig-zag, random

Relationships: in front, behind, over, under, alone/connected, near/far individual & group proximity to object

Human movement is naturally rhythmic in the broad sense that we alternate activity and rest. Breath and waves are examples of rhythms in nature that repeat, but not as consistently as in a metered rhythm. Spoken word and conversation have rhythm and dynamics, but the patterns are characteristically more inconsistent and unpredictable.

These are just some of the ways to describe time:

pulse, tempo, accent, rhythmic, pattern

Free Rhythm:
breath, open score, sensed time, improvisation

Clock Time:
seconds, minutes, hours

Timing relationships:

before, after, unison, sooner than, faster than

Energy is about how movement happens—it refers to the dynamics of an action and can mean both the physical and psychic energy that drives and characterizes movement.

These are just some of the ways to describe energy:

sharp/smooth, sudden/sustained

Strength: push, horizontal, impacted
Lightness: resist the down, initiate up
Resiliency: rebound, even up and down

free, bound, balanced, neutral

flowing, tight, loose, sharp, swinging, swaying, suspended, collapsed, smooth
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