Dance is the art of human movement—using movement to convey ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
Another term you will hear in the Art to Heart series is creative movement (sometimes called creative dance). It refers to movement activities and strategies to help children develop their physical skills, explore different types of movements, express ideas using body movements, and promote creative thinking.
Two general categories of movement are used in dance and creative movement. Locomotor movements are movements in which the body travels from one location to another. Examples include walking, running, hopping, jumping, skipping, leaping, galloping, and sliding. Non-locomotor movements are movements performed around the axis of the body while the person stays in one place. Examples include bending, pushing or pulling, rising or sinking, shaking, stretching, swinging, swaying, twisting, and turning.
The building blocks, or elements, of dance are space, time, and force.
Space is the element of dance that has to do with
- shape (either the shapes dancers make with their bodies or the shapes that groups of dancers form, such as lines or circles)
- direction (whether movement is forward, backward, or sideways)
- pathways (whether movement is straight, curvy, or zigzag)
- levels (whether the dancer reaches high, stays at a medium level, or is low and close to the floor)
Time is the element of dance that has to do with
- beat (the underlying pulse of the dance)
- tempo (whether the movement is slow, medium, or fast)
Force is the element of dance that has to do with the energy of the movement—whether it is sharp or smooth, heavy or light, stiff or free-flowing.