The Elements of Dance For Dancers of All Abilities


elements of dance

Some of the characteristics identified as elements of dance are balance, direction, rhythm, weight, force, energy, and quality. If you’ve ever watched a young child doing her homework or preparing for an exam, then you’ll have seen the young girl’s performance of balance and coordination. If you’re a parent of an older dance student then you might have also heard your year 8 student discuss the elements of dance while they practice or write about them in an essay. These terms are used to describe the process of creating movement from one point to the next.

Two Elements Of Dance That Are Important To Understand

There are two elements of dance that are very important to understand in order to create fluid, rhythmic, continuous movements. The first of these elements is strength and the second is flexibility. Both are dynamic elements, meaning that they cause the other to change. They are in continuous balance during the dancing routine.

The strength element is balance. It refers to the ability of the dancer to sustain the same weight and balance throughout a series of movements. This means the same weight and balance must be maintained through the entire range of movements. Rhythm is what allows the dancer to maintain this balance and consistency throughout the dance. Rhythm is also the driving force behind most of the dance steps, so understanding it is crucial.

Force is another element of rhythm. It is often the first element a student learns. It refers to how hard or soft a dancer moves. While consistency is most important, some people will choose harder or softer movements based upon the direction of the music. Balance is the result of force and rhythm is the result of harmony.

The Final Element Is Intensity Or Force

A close up of an orange

Flexibility refers to a variety of movements. There is not one single definition for this word, but it usually means the ability to move freely. This also creates an element of self expression in the dancer. Whether the dancer is flexing their muscles, making turns, jumping, or doing a freestyle dance routine, flexibility is present.

The final element is intensity or force. This element is often associated with choreography where the dancer will put tremendous pressure on their body movements. The dance routine will have many different levels of intensity, such as heightened physical movements during a salsa routine or slower, calmer movements for a ballet routine.

Some elements of dance are not consciously used by the dancers. These elements include tension, pace, and movement. Tension refers to the ability to hold a pose or position. Pace is how fast a dancer moves and is related to emotion. Finally, a movement is any type of artistic expression that dancers use to make a routine look beautiful.

Pay Attention To The Rhythm Of A Routine

Dancers also need to pay attention to the rhythm of a routine. This is an important element of dance since it defines how the dancer expresses themselves and expresses the rhythm of the piece. The rhythm is often defined by the beats per minute or the standard beat rate of the dance style. Some dancers use a metronome to help them keep time while performing a salsa or other Latin influenced dance. Other times a dancer will add a rhythmical effect through the use of claves, snares, and other effects of percussion instruments. Some ballet dancers also use the rhythm of the music to express the emotion of the movement of their footwork.

One of the most overlooked elements of dance is communication. It goes far beyond simply having a good technique. Good dancers communicate with each other and one another through their dance. Different forms of expression can be communicated through body language and movement. The expressions a dancer creates with their partner, other dancers, and the audience are some of the most powerful expressions in the art of dancing.

The last element is poise. Poise refers to the dancer’s stance and gait. Proper posture is necessary to allow a dancer to achieve certain positions during routines. Proper gait is necessary to prevent injuries and to move gracefully through all types of movements in a dance.

Final Words

Learning all these different elements of dance will take time and effort for dancers of all abilities and styles. A dance teacher will often point out the elements of dance for students to focus on. In class, dancers will practice and attempt to master the techniques. As dancers gain knowledge and experience, they will refine their movements and try new ones.

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