Dance skills
Dance skills

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Dance skills

4 Performance skills

Performance skills are those aspects that set dancing apart from mechanical movement. Often, our attention is drawn to the dancer who is using a range of performance skills effectively, because they stand out from the rest.

Performance skills are aspects such as:

  • focus;

  • projection;

  • musicality;

  • timing;

  • emphasis;

  • expression.

All of these aspects are connected to the way in which a dancer interprets the movements and the meaning of a dance. Some of these may be prescribed by the choreographer, for example where the focus should be at a given moment.

These skills can be taught in class through the medium of the simple dance combination. If students understand from the outset that dancing combinations of movements is the process through which they learn how to perform, then their performance skills are less likely to be elements that are added on once the movements have been learnt.

Activity 4

Watch the video sequence, taken from White Man Sleeps, several times and make a note of the performance skills that are identifiable.

Download this video clip.Video player: s_dance3_12v.mp4
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Use a similar activity in class with your students. Select an extract from an appropriate professional dance work and ask the students to identify any performance skills that they might have focused on in practical lessons.


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