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20 Choreography Terms All Choreographers Should Know

A choreography structure is way movement if organized, shaped to create a dance using themes, variations, movements, etc. Here are 20 terms to start using today as a choreographer.

  1. Unison: Dancers moving at the same time doing the same movements
  2. Repetition: Repeating movement
  3. Improvisation: Spontaneous unplanned and not choreographed movement
  4. Accumulation: New movements are added to existing movements in a successive manner, for example, A, AB, ABC, ABCD
  5. Echo: Person 1 does a movement or movement phrase and finishes; Person 2 does a movement phrase and finishes, etc.
  6. Canon: Movements introduced by one dancer are repeated exactly by subsequent dancers in turn.
  7. Connected: Movement that is connected, someone is always physically touching within the group
  8. Mirroring: Showing a mirror image of movements as done by the dancers
  9. Air Pathway: Pattern made in the air by the use of body parts (for example, arm, leg, head)
  10. Augmentation: Movements are made larger in space or time.
  11. Embellishment: Detail is added to a move, such as a hand gesture or an arm movement.
  12. Floor Pathway: Direction taken across the floor (zigzag, curved, straight, diagonal)
  13. Movement Motif: Movement or gesture that can be elaborated upon or developed in a variety of ways in the process of dance choreography
  14. Movement Phrase: Series of movements linked together to make a distinctive pattern
  15. Movement Sequence: Series of movements, longer than a phrase but shorter than a section of a dance.
  16. Narrative Structure: Choreographic structure that tells a story
  17. Retrograde: Movements or a motif are performed backwards (like a rewound video)
  18. Reversal: Performance of the movements of a motif or sequence in reverse order (but not in a backwards direction)
  19. Rondo Form: Choreographic structure (ABACAD, etc.) in which contrasting sections alternate with a recurring section
  20. Tableau: Still shape created by a group of dancers