top of page

Movement Material

The movement material in choreography is movements that compose a dance. There are different ways of creating movement material, and each choreographer uses various methods. As a first-time choreographer, action can be created by improvising a dance phrase and then manipulated to make it longer or more enjoyable. There are a lot of different elements that can be used and taken into consideration when creating movement material. On the following page, there will be some examples of action, dynamic, and unique content, which can be used to develop choreography. 

Action Content

Dynamic Content

  • Travel

  • Turn

  • Elevation 

  • Gesture

  • Stilness

  • Use of different body parts

  • Floor Work

  • Transfer of Weight

  • Fast/Slow

  • Sudden/Sustained

  • Acceleration/Deceleration

  • Strong/ Light 

  • Direct/ Indirect

  • Flowing/ Abrupt 

  • Motif Development 

A motif contains ‘the essence ‘of the dance, a repeated dominant feature, like a reoccurring theme throughout a dance. A motif is usually introduced at the start of a dance, then once established, it is developed and varied. An entire dance can be built around the development and variation of a few contrasting motifs.

Possible ways to vary a motif using action developments include: 

• repeat on the other side of the body
• repeat in retrograde
• change the order of actions

• add in a new action
• take out one action and repeat it within a new motif

Motifs are essential ingredients that can be repeated, varied, and developed to help structure and organize a dance. Motifs are also helpful to the audience because they communicate the style and meaning of the dance and allow the audience to process what they see. You will be assessed on how effectively you develop and link motifs in your solo composition and how successfully you select and structure material to communicate your idea in your main choreography. 

Ways in which a motif can be developed

Use different body parts:

  • head

  • feet 

  • arms 

  • hands 

  • legs

Add Actions: 

  • jump

  • roll

  • stillness

  • fall

  • gesture

  • turn

Change order to actions: 

  • add to take away actions

Change or vary space: 

  • shape

  • size

  • level

  • direction

Change or vary dynamics:

  • accent or stress

  • flow

  • speed

  • weight

  • energy

Task 2

Select some letters from your name and draw them in the air with one hand. Use as much space as you can. Make sure you have explicit action, dynamic, and spacial content. 

  1. Draw the letters with three different body parts- the dynamic and spatial aspects might have to change to accommodate this.

  2. Take an action away and add more steps, such as jump, roll, and fall.

  3. Vary to use of space, for example, change level, direction, and size.

  4. Vary the dynamics, for example, change the speed, weight, energy, and flow. 

Having carried out this activity, you will have created an initial motif and developed it in three different ways. 


Using your 'letter' motif, you can now create a trio in which:

  1. All perform the same motif. 

  2. You all perform your motifs. 

  3. One dancer performed their motif while the others served a developed version of the same motif.

After creating, please share the video on our forum!

bottom of page