Choreographic Devices with Photo Examples
Mix up your movements using these choreographic devices and it will be almost impossible to run out of ideas when creating your dance!
1) Retrograde – perform it backwards, like a movie running from the end to the start. A simple example of retrograde would be walking three steps forward (right foot, left foot, right foot), then three steps back (right foot, left foot, right foot)
2) Inversion – Perform it upside-down.
3) Size – Condense or expand the size to a small, medium, or large size. Check out examples here.
4) Tempo – Perform it fast, slow, or without moving (such as in the form of a pose).
Photo by Ahmad Odeh on Unsplash
5) Rhythm – Vary rhythm, not the tempo. For example, you could include a gallop when moving from one position to another instead of walking or running at a rate that matches the tempo of the song.
6) Quality – suspend the movement or sustain it. Suspending a movement simply means stopping it. Sustaining a movement is to continue it.
7) Instrumentation – Perform it with an alternate body part. For example, instead of extending your right arm, you could extend your left arm, left leg, or right leg.
8) Force – Vary how much energy you exert. For more passionate or strong emotions, use more force. To create more gentle, soft movements, use less force.
9) Background – Alter the design of your body from the original position and repeat the motif. Let the rest of the body do something while the motif is still going on. For example, sit instead of stand. Maybe try twisting your body while still performing the motif.
10) Staging – Change your position on the stage or the direction you are facing.
Photo by David Gavi on Unsplash
11) Embellishment – decorate the movement to include ornamentation. For example, in the picture below the dancer is curving her wrist and her last three fingers to give a relaxed look to her arm movements.
Photo by mehdi lamaaffar on Unsplash
12) Levels – do the movement at a high, middle, or low level. See examples of movements at each of the different levels here.
13) Additive – include locomotor movements. Check out examples of locomotor and non-locomotor movements here.
14) Fragmentation – isolate a part of the motif. For example, if your motif movement (your main movement) is you opening your arms from above, try opening just with one arm in another part of your dance.
Photo by David Hofmann on Unsplash
15) Combination – combine more than one manipulation at the same time.
Photo by Vadim Fomenok on Unsplash
16) Repetition – Repeat the movement exactly the same. For example, you could repeat the same movements for the chorus of the song.
Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash
17) Canon – Similar to ‘repetition’ but you’ll need at least two dancers to perform it. Each dancer repeats the same dance phrase one after the other. 3 different types of canons that you can utilize are simultaneous, synchronized, and augmented/diminished.
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