Dance and Movement Vocabulary


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ABSTRACT: To take the essence or essential meaning of an idea rather than a literal imitation.
ACCENT: An increase in stress, emphasis, or intensity within movement count.
ALIGNMENT: Placement of body parts.
ALLEGRO: A fast lively tempo.
ARABESQUE: One leg supports the body, other leg is extended behind body.
ASSEMBLE: (ah-sahn-BLAY) Taking off from one foot and landing on two (both) feet.
ASYMMETRICAL: Not balanced in the conventional sense of exact correspondence or balanced proportion.
ATTITUDE: (ah-tee-TEWD) A position on one leg, the free leg is lifted in a forward, sideward, or backward direction with the knee bent at an angle and higher than the foot.
AXIAL: A movement around a stationary axis, non-locomotor or staying in one place.

BALANCE: (ba-lahn-SAY) A step starting in first of fifth position; leap lightly to one side landing in demi-plie’.
BALL CHANGE: A quick transfer of weight from one foot to another.
BATTEMENT: (bat-MAHN) A controlled movement of the leg in which a straight leg is lifted from the hip and returned to the floor.
BEAT: The basic unit of a rhythmic measure.
BODY WAVE: A sequential movement of the body starting with the knees and moving through the hips, abdominal, chest, and head.

CAMEL WALK: Pedaled movement. Roll up to the ball of one foot, transfer weight to the other foot, the knee is bent.
CHASSE': (sha-SAY) A gliding movement (step, close, step).
CHANGEMENT: (shahnzh-MAHN) A scissor-like action of the legs where the feet change position.
CHOREOGRAPH: To make up or create a dance or combinations.
CHOREOGRAPHER: Person who creates combinations or entire dances.
CHOREOGRAPHY: The composition of a dance.
COLLAPSE: A sinking movement involving the release of tension as a whole.
CONTAGION: A ripple action; movement is passed from one dancer to another.
CONTRACTION: A muscular tension that produces a shortening of body parts
COUPE’: (koo-PAY) A small intermediary step done as a preparation or impetus for some other step.

DANCE HANDS: Hands soft--pretend to hold an egg with the thumb and middle finger.
DEGAGE’ : (day-ga-ZHAY) Passing through the tendu position, the foot slightly disengages from the floor.
DEMI: Means small movement.
DEVELOPPE’: (dayv-law-PAY) A movement in which the working leg is drawn up then extended. It can be done in any direction.
DIAGONAL: Three or more girls lined at an angle.
DIG: Step without weight transfer.
DIMENSION: The relative size of movement or of the space.
DOUBLE STAG: A leap with both legs in a bent position.
DOWNSTAGE: A direction to indicate movement toward the audience.
DYNAMICS: Shading in the amounts of energy, intensity of power; subtle variations in the treatment of movement contrasts.

ELEVE’: (ay-LEV) A gradual rising onto the balls of the feet, a controlled rise.
EXTENSION: An elongation or lengthening of the body or any of its parts.

FAN KICK: Straight leg kick which crosses in front of the supporting leg and circles around to other direction . A lift kick circling 360 degrees.
FLEA HOP: Sliding hop directly to the side.
FLEX KICK: A kick which the foot passes the supporting knee first and then fully develops until the leg is straightened.
FLEXED FEET: Ankles in a flexed position so that the toes are pulled back toward the body.
FLEXION: A bending movement; a contraction of muscles around a joint that brings two body parts closer together.
FLOOR PATTERN: A imaginary line of path in space taken by the dancer as they move from place to place.
FOCUS: The Concentration on a fixed or moving point in space; indication of a fixed or moving point or object in space by the direction of movement or gaze.
FOUETTE’: (fweh-TAY) Lift one leg and hop while turning, the leg stays in the air until after the hop.

GRAND BATTEMENT: Grand (meaning large) Battement (meaning beating). A Lifting movement of the free leg from a forward, sideward, or backward position. Also called a high kick.
GRAND: Means large movement.
GRAND JETE’: (zhuh-TAY) A leap usually obtaining height and distance.
GRAPEVINE: A weaving movement; step- side-back-side-front; depending on where you want to start.

HALF TOE: Position of the foot with the heel off the ground with the weight on the ball of the foot.
HEAD SNAP: Head turns sharply to one side or the other.
HEAD TILT: Head moves to side with the face in a forward direction as if you were trying to put the ear towards the shoulder.
HEEL DIG: Place heel forward with the ankle flexed ; this movement takes no weight.
HITCH KICK: Starting from a passe , jump back on the passe leg and kick the other leg.
HOOK: A parallel passe where the foot is lifted to the supporting knee.
HOP: Jump off floor on one foot and landing on the same foot.
HYPEREXTENSION: Extreme arch of the back, knees or arms.

IMPROVISATION: To perform without preparation.
INTENSITY: The relative degree of force or strength; the depth of feeling or concentration.
ISOLATION: Separation of body parts. Making one body part work independently of another body part.

JAZZ HANDS: Hands open with the fingers wide spread.
JAZZ LEAP: Single stag leap.
JAZZ WALK: A walk done in demi-plie’ position; the feet pointed forward with the abdominals lifted.
JETE’: (zhuh-TAY) Leap; a jump from one leg to another.
JUMP: Taking off and landing on both feet.

KINESTHETIC SENSE: An internalized awareness of body placement and movement, and awareness of the relative force and range of movement.
KNEE HINGE: Knee bends with toe on floor and closes to supporting leg, then opens to other side.

LOCOMOTOR: A movement through space involving a change of location.
LUNGE: A movement where one leg is in a plie’ position and the other leg is extended.
LYRICAL: A style of dancing with a smooth flowing quality.

MODERN DANCE: A highly individualized form of artistic expression which began as a rejection of traditional ballet concepts; there is not a single approach to technique.
MUSCLE: A band of contractile (having the power of lengthening) tissue in the body, that affects bodily movement.

OBLIQUE: A facing position towards a corner or diagonal.
OPPOSITION: A position or movement in contrast to another position or movement of an opposite part of the body used to maintain balance.

PARALLEL POSITION: Feet and knees facing forward.
PASSE’: (pa-SAY) The foot meets the knee of the supporting leg from one position to another.
PAS DE BOUREE’: (pah duh boo-RAY) A sideways movement or transition step where a person steps behind, to the side, and then steps to the front.
PEDDLE: Changing weight from one foot to the other; the heel comes up first and the toe remains on the ground.
PENDULAR: The type of movement which is held then released to flow back and forth in a swinging action using gravity.
PERCUSSIVE: A movement quality which is quick and more aggressive in nature.
PETITE: Means small movement
PIROUETTE: (peer-WET) A turn executed on one leg and does not travel.
PIVOT TURN: A turn in place on the ball on the foot.
PLIE’: (plee-AY) To bend the knees; DEMI: meaning small, the movement is stopped before the heels release from the floor.
POINTED TOES: Ankle must be extended and toes follow the line.
PORT DE BRAS: (pawr duh brah) The carriage , placement , and movement of the arms.

RECOVER: To resume original position.
RELEASE: The letting go of tension or energy.
RELEVE’: (ruhl-VAY) Like an eleve’ but executed with a spring-like action.
ROND DE JAMBE: (rawn duh zhajnb) When the leg produces a circle pattern.
RHYTHM: The flow of movement in recurrent groupings resulting in a feeling of relationship.

SAUTE’: (soh-TAY) A jump taking off from two feet at the same time.
SISSONE: (see-SAWN) Taking off from both feet and landing on one foot.
SOUTENU: (soot-NEW) A turn involving two steps .
SPIN TURN: A turn stepping on one foot and bringing both feet together as you turn.
SPOTTING: A movement of the head in turns where the eyes are focused on a particular spot in the direction of the turn, and the head is quickly snapped back at the last possible moment to re-focus upon the same spot.
SKIP: Consists of a step and a hop done on the same foot.
SLIDE: Consists of a step and a drawing or dragging of the other foot.
STAGGER: Every other girl moves forward or back.
STAG LEAP: A jazz leap jumping from both feet and placing one leg in a bent leg position and the other leg is straight.
STRADDLE: A position of the legs when both legs or extended out to the side.
STRETCH: The lengthening or enlarging of a muscle.
STYLE: A distinctive or characteristic manner of expressing an idea; a personal mode or form.
SUSPENDED: A quality of movement that creates the impression of defying gravity; floating, effortless movement.
SUSTAINED: Movement where energy is released equally in a smooth pattern.
SWINGING: Tension is held, then released to flow with gravity back and forth.
SYMMETRICAL: A balanced , even design; an even correspondence of design, space, rhythm, or position of the body.
SYNCOPATION: A temporary displacement of the normal stressed beats of a measure.

TAG: Additional measure or beats of music.
TEMPO: The rate of speed at which the music is played or that the movement occurs.
TORSO: Part of the body from the top of the shoulders to the bottom of the hips.
TENDU: (tahn-DEW) Foot brushes; the foot brushes along the floor to a pointed foot, the knees do not bend.
THREE STEP TURN: A complete turn in a straight line, using three steps.
TURN OUT POSITION: An outward rotation of the legs, the action taking place at the hip joints.
TEMPO: The rate of speed at which a movement occurs or in which the music is played.
TOE DIG: Place the ball of the foot beside the supporting foot, this movement does not take weight.
TRIPLET: A three step pattern with the accent usually on the first step.
TURNOUT: A position of the legs with the feet and knees turned outward from the hips.

UPSTAGE: A direction indicating movement away from the audience.

VIBRATORY: A group of pressive moves performed in quick succession.

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