Dance Vocabulary

Balance: a state of stability with equal weight and energy on either side of the dancer’s “center”. 

Choreography: the arrangement of movement in space and time. A series of moves set to music.

Costumes: used to help bring the choreographed dance to life and to help communicate a story or idea.

Creativity: the ability to go beyond traditional ideas, rules, and patterns in order to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods , and interpretations.

Duet: two dancers performing together. 

Ensemble: a group of dancers performing together.

Energy: refers to the force applied to dance to accentuate the weight, attack, strength, and flow of a dancer’s movement. Adjectives such as explosive, smooth, free, restrained, wild, etc. describe some of the different types of energy  that dancers can exhibit. 

Phrase: a sequence of steps and gestures. Phrases make up a dance the same way that words are put together to form a sentence.

Rehearsal: practice in preparation of a public performance. 

Repertory: the group of dances that are actively performed by a dance company.

Solo: a dance performed alone (one dancer) or set apart from the other dancers on stage.

Space: the area in which a dancer moves, encompassing level, direction, floor, pattern, shape, and design. 

Technique: a set of skills which dancers develop to perform a certain dance form. Sometimes, particularly in modern dance, choreographers become famous for their own dance technique. 

Tempo: the time, speed, or rhythm of the beats of a piece of music or the pace of any movement activity.

Unison: the same movement or series of movements performed at the same time by more than one dancer.