National Shakespeare Youth Festival Guidelines: Dance and Movement

Some Tips for Choreography…


You can create a whole movement sequence by starting off with tableaux.  A tableau is a still image that depicts a scene or tells a story.  Create tableaux inspired by scenes, whole plays, monologues or characters.  Link them together with small movement sequences and you’ll have a phrase!

Pedestrian movement

These types of movements are typical everyday movements that people do all the time.  Take an average gesture like swinging a sword, sweeping the floor or climbing a tree and incorporate them into your piece.  Have each group member come up with a move then link them all together.  Add steps, runs and other connecting movements to help link them and keep it flowing.  They’re a good place to start choreography and a helpful tool if you ever get stuck!

Choreography Tools

These tools can help you to create a full length piece!  You can start with a movement sequence that you developed through tableaux or pedestrian movement and alter it into all new phrases using these elements.

Space: Does your original movement sequence move a lot or stay pretty still?  Does it travel in a straight line or circles?  Decide how your phrase moves and switch it around!

Energy: Is your sequence full of sharp movements or long, flowing, sustained movements?  You can play with the amount of energy you use to create a new sequence.

Time: Do you do a lot of slow movements or fast ones?  Switch them around to make whole new movements and a brand new sequence.  Can you do the sequence on Fast Fwd or Slow Mo?

Shape: Is there a lot of angles in your movements – many bent elbows and knees?  Or are your shapes rounder and full of circles?  Change your shapes around to change your sequence once again into something new!

Levels: There are three levels to consider, high middle and low.  Do you do the whole sequence while standing up?  Try going on your knees or jumping to change the level a movement occupies.  Try using different levels in one sequence to give it a more interesting dynamic.

Retrograde: Do you know your sequence very well?  You’ll need to in order to do it all backwards!  You can simply reverse the order in which you do the movements or you can reverse the movements themselves.  Does the arm go from front to back while you jump to the right?  Try moving the arm back to front while jumping to the left instead!

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