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Dance Structures

The structure is the framework on which dance can be built. Knowledge of design will enhance your critical appreciation of dance. It will also help you as a choreographer, structuring your dance and using music as accompaniment. 

Types of structures: 


This is a dance in two sections. The first section is established, and the second provides contrast. Both sections would need something common, such as key actions or a clear theme. 


This is a dance in three sections, with sections one and three being similar and the middle sections providing the contrast. The cyclic form helps to give balance and a clear resolution. You could use the ternary form for a dance based on the following: at work-tea-break-back to work. 


This form has a chorus that remains the same, but each verse's melody is different from the one before. Mozart used the rondo form extensively, but a more recent musical example is 'The Pink Panther,' a theme composed by Henry Mancini. You could use this to explore the idea of a spy on the lookout: on the prowl- on the watch- falling into a trap- on the lookout. 


This form is complex and challenging in that movement phrases from earlier in the dance are interwoven. Choreographers often use it to build a climax towards the end of the dance. David Bintley uses fugue to create a climax. He introduces characters and their movement phrases from earlier scenes in a lively carnival scene in the Brazilian Woolly Monkey dance in ''Still Life' at the Penguin cafè.' 

Theme and Variation

Theme and variation are a bit like Chinese whispers in that each section develops from the one before so that the end cannot be predicted. Although the future will be very different from the beginning, it will still contain some of the essence. 

Task 5

Try to give an example of rondo music and use it to inspire a short dance. Film your solo and share it on the forum.

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