Biomechanics, vocabulary development, improvisation, choreography, musicality, practice development, belly dance history, costuming, and performance preparation and experience are all part of the 8 Elements (tm) method.
The first 6 elements are the basics. They can be used in any combination to make up a dance. The last 2 elements are about going beyond the basic skills you learned in element class. You can include them or not; they're up to you.
Here are the six basic elements: biomechanics, vocabulary development, improvisation, choreography, musicality, and practice development.
1. Biomechanics - knowledge of human anatomy and kinesiology (the study of movement) is essential for becoming a good dancer. You must know where your body parts are in relation to one another, how they work together to produce movement, and how to prevent injury. Classes that focus solely on teaching technique without attention to these topics will provide only superficial instruction.
2. Vocabulary development - learning proper terminology for movements helps you understand what someone is trying to communicate when they dance. For example, when learning jazz, it's important to know the various terms that are used to describe specific moves. This understanding will help you interpret music more effectively and respond appropriately to a song's demands.
In dance, there are four fundamental compositional elements: space, time, force, and shape. These elements also apply to music, but in dance they are even more important because without them nothing would be accomplished. The basic units of a dance composition are called phrases. A phrase is a discrete unit of movement or activity that has a beginning and an end. Within a larger work, phrases may be combined to form movements or sections.
The different types of dances that you can create by combining these elements are called genres. Some examples of popular dance genres are ballroom, blues, contemporary, jazz, krump, tap, and vietnamese dancing. Learning about these genres will help you understand how works are put together.
Festival dances are usually based on specific themes or events. The costumes worn at festivals often reflect this theme or event. For example, dancers might wear flowers in celebration of love or freedom. Often times these dances are used as part of a religious ceremony at festivals. Dancers might use their knowledge of different styles to play around with the rhythm or feel of the music to make it their own. This is called "breaking down" the genre of dance that you are working within.
Creative Dance has been modified. Elements of Dance Space: refers to the area in which the dancer moves his or her body (general or personal space, level, size, direction, pathway, focus). Time is used in both musical and dancing contexts (beat, tempo, speed, rhythm, sudden, slow, sustained). Place refers to the environment within which the dancer operates (floor, room, stage, etc.). Purpose refers to why the dancer performs the movement pattern (expression, technique, style, artistry, etc.). Relationship refers to how the dancer's actions are related to other people or objects (self, partner, group, audience, etc.). Structure describes the form of the movement pattern (linear, circular, angular, progressive, regressive, etc.). Style refers to the overall flavor of the performance (jazz, tap, tango, etc.). Technique is the accurate execution of an element (step, lift, dip, kick, etc.). Tone means the quality of the sound produced by a dancer while performing.
Elements of music have been added to the list of terms associated with creative dance.
Dance's three components are space, dynamics, and rhythm. Each element has its own set of functions and characteristics. Floor plan, direction, emphasis, level, size, and contour are the six elements of space. The most basic unit of time is a measure which is the length of one cycle of a standard musical meter. A measure contains four normal pulses or beats: one-two-three-four.
The most important element in any dance form is its rhythm. Without a steady beat, dancers cannot coordinate their actions and enjoy the dance experience. A dancer can feel the rhythm of the music in his or her bones; it is an essential part of being alive. At least half of all people who dance enjoy it so much they will keep dancing even if no one is watching. This fact alone shows that good rhythm is important for attracting attention - before you start advertising, first let people know what you're about by giving them a good show!
A dance mix often includes several different types of rhythms all moving at different speeds - this creates interest and excitement. For example, a fast dance rhythm might be used to accompany a rock song, while a slower one could be combined with a ballad. A continuous flow of movement, without pauses to rest or catch breath, is essential for good dancing.