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The 5 fundamentals of dance, the basics to know

The 5 fundamentals of dance allow you to grow in awareness of what you are doing. And moreover, your vocabulary of danced movements will be even more varied and accurate.

Contemporary dance has worked for several decades to decipher the 5 fundamentals of dance. It is essential to know your basics well in order to develop your practice and your vocabulary. Couple dances, modern 'jazz, classical dance, hip-hop, and world dances are only aesthetics based on the same fundamentals.

Of course the 5 fundamentals of the dance are played at the same time in the danced movement. And it is essential to learn how to focus your intention on one element at a time.

From another point of view, they are essential to the preparation of a guided session for your students.

The 5 fundamentals will allow you to identify a clear objective. You will know how to structure your session with precise instructions, which will feed the dance exploration to meet this objective.

Weight is one of the 5 fundamentals of dance.

Playing with weight requires understanding Earth's force of attraction. It is a strength. We are in permanent support and drawn downwards. Without support we cannot move.

Each part of the body is a mass. A leg weighs more than an arm. The three largest body masses are the head, pelvis, and torso.

Also, dancing on the ground while playing with your supports is a strong constraint for the whole body. This creates strong sensations, and a flawless awareness of the understanding of Earth's gravity. Moving with as little force as possible is an example of an instruction to better understand this notion of weight.

Also, it is important to associate the opposites for the understanding of a concept. Here, heavy and light are the most appropriate terms.

Use action verbs such as touching, stroking, tapping, pressing, pushing, repelling, rolling, sliding, melting, carrying, rising, growing, floating, flying, twirling, or even landing, settling, and still let yourself be carried by the ground.

The notion of balance and imbalance enters into the process of exploring weight.

Children love the challenge of imbalance. This requires them to take a risk, and brings them great sensations.


There is my space, that of the other and that of the group.

It is important to sanctify the space of the dance hall before, during and at the end of the session.

The space of the room is determined by the periphery and the center. A circulation on my path makes it possible to connect them, and to differentiate them.

We can explore low and high, ground and sky, near and far. Pay particular attention to the changes in levels, and to the transformations that this implies in the tonicity of the bodies. Once again, use vocabulary adapted to the situation requested and the age of the student.

There is my bodily interior, the near and the distant.

Imagine a marble spinning in a body part, as if it were spinning on the inside wall of a jar. It pushes the inner wall through its supports and stimulates movement.

The body.

The body feels like a unit when we evaluate all the different parts that compose it.

Also, a part of my body exists in its own right and can be differentiated from the others. For this, we put them in relation to each other. A hand can approach or move away from my mouth, or from another part of my body. Like, this other part can also move towards or away from my hand.

A knee can seek to relate to an elbow. All possibilities are good to explore.

The music.

A nice coined word in the dance world is musicality.

A kind of association between music and quality. It is the music of the dancing body, the sensory and expressive quality of the dancer.

Outdoor music and sound is a major asset to stimulate creativity in dance. You still have to choose it well, because it can also be unsuitable for dancing. It must stimulate, accompany but little constrain the explorer dancer.

Playing with musical cues helps to develop listening skills, bring nuances to the dance, and structure the dance sequence.

Music is low and high, fast and slow, soft and loud. There is the melody and the accompaniment of the orchestra. The music also carries with it an emotional expressiveness and an imaginary landscape. I advise you to avoid songs that will have an effect of too restrictive meaning. Or at least make sure they serve your purpose. A nursery rhyme that lists the parts of the body is of course suitable for this learning.

Rhythm and melody are the two polarities that merge and it is important to dissociate them when listening.

Body percussion will create a ritual for making students available at the start of the session. This has the advantage of identifying the different parts of the body, and better memorizing with a rhythmic song.

The relationship.

There is the relationship to oneself, from one part of my body to another. And the one I have with the outside, the other, the group, the earth, the sky, the air.

I connect with a partner. We dance together or not, side by side or face to face. I dance near or far, or even the opposite. (low/high, fast/slow, heavy/light, large/small, jerky/fluid).

I dance in contact or without touching.

Am I dancing on the spot, in my close space, or am I dancing on a trajectory, my path? Where in the room? in the center, on the periphery, or in between? On the side of the windows, or on the side of the door, at the edge, or in the middle of the group?

The place that the student takes is decisive in his dance expression and in that of the collective.

The intention of the gesture, to serve creativity.

It is then that it is essential to understand the importance of intention to allow the dancer to evolve in consciousness, and to understand what he is doing when he dances.

Through this, he will be the creator of his movement, through his choices within a simple and precise framework. Also, his brain will create new neural connections. He will gain self-confidence, and relax in front of others.

You obviously understood my pedagogical approach in this process of exploring dance movement. We are not in the reproduction of form and steps in a dance aesthetic.

We are well into improvisation and sensory exploration, which will allow the student to get to know himself better as an individual, and to discover others through their dance expressiveness.

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