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Learning in Dance

In Dance, students explore the elements of dance, skills, techniques and processes through the practices of choreography, performance and appreciation. The body is the instrument of expression and students use combinations of the elements of dance: space, time, dynamics and relationships, to communicate and express ideas and intentions through expressive and purposeful movement.

Learning in Dance involves students engaging in dance experiences drawn from a variety of genres and styles including theatrical, traditional, social, ritual and other current dance styles and the forms within them.

Across F-10, students explore dance from a range of cultures, times and locations. They begin with their experiences of dance from their immediate lives and community and identify the reasons why people dance. They draw on the histories, traditions and styles of dance from a range of places and times including dance from Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, the Asia region, and other world cultures. As students learn about dance, they broaden their experiences of dance genres and particular styles and use these as a springboard for their making and responding in Dance. They also consider how dance can communicate and challenge ideas about issues and concepts.

All teachers must follow the relevant protocols when teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. The protocols provide guidelines about how to protect the integrity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural expressions and enable all Victorian teachers and students to engage respectfully and feel connected to this identity. For advice, please refer to the Department of Education and Training's Koorie Cross-Curricular Protocols.

Further advice is also available from the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc., (VAEAI), which has produced Protocols for Koorie Education in Victorian Primary and Secondary schools. These protocols include advice to assist schools to provide a welcoming environment for Aboriginal community members and how to work respectfully with the Koorie community to enrich schools' teaching and learning programs.

In their dance making, students use a variety of stimuli to create and communicate ideas and intentions through movement. They also draw on their experiences in other Arts disciplines and other curriculum areas.

Through Dance, students learn to reflect critically on their own aesthetic preferences by considering personal experiences and the influence of local and global cultures upon their tastes and decision making. Engagement with dance from diverse cultures, times and locations present students with different aesthetic preferences, tastes and viewpoints determined by people and their cultures.

Making and Responding in Dance

Common to all The Arts curriculum, each Arts discipline is based on two overarching principles:

  • students learn as artist and as audience
  • students learn through making and responding.

Making in Dance involves improvising, choreographing, comparing and contrasting, refining, interpreting, practising, rehearsing and performing.

Responding in Dance involves students appreciating their own and others’ dance works by viewing, describing, reflecting, analysing, appreciating and evaluating.

Making and Responding are intrinsically connected. Together they provide students with knowledge, understanding and skills as artists and audience. As students make they consider both the audience and their own response to their work and as they respond they draw on the knowledge, understanding and skills acquired through their experiences in making work and as audiences of other artists’ work.

As they make and respond in Dance, students apply their understanding of the body’s capabilities to their own body, developing kinaesthetic intelligence, critical thinking and awareness of how the body moves in dance. The elements of dance work together and underpin all dance activity as students learn to make dance using their developing movement vocabulary with the body. With increasing experience of making and responding, students develop analytical skills and aesthetic understanding. They engage with different types of dance from Australia and other locations and examine dance from diverse viewpoints to build their knowledge and understanding. Dance skills, techniques and processes are developed through their engagement with dance practices that use the body and movement as the materials of dance and as appropriate production components.

Dance practices

  • Choreographing includes students drawing on their developing movement vocabulary as they engage in the creative process of making dance. As they explore and shape their ideas they will be involved in processes such as improvising, exploring, selecting, creating and structuring movement to communicate their intentions
  • Performing includes students acquiring skills by practising, rehearsing, refining and applying physical and expressive techniques
  • Appreciating includes students describing, explaining, evaluating and critically analysing their own dances and other dances they have viewed.

The elements of dance

The elements of dance: space, time, dynamics and relationships are used in combination to create and communicate ideas and intentions through dance.


In Dance, form is the shape or structure of a dance according to a preconceived plan. For example, a binary form is an A section followed by a B section; ternary form is an A section followed by a B section followed by a repeat of the A section; rondo is an expansion of the ternary form into ABACADA; narrative form is a dance that tells a story.

Skills, techniques and processes

Students develop Dance skills through activities which combine the techniques and processes involved in the dance practices of choreographing, performing and appreciating. As students’ learning progresses they develop skills in and understanding of their dance making using increasingly sophisticated choreographic, performance and appreciating practices. They also develop their capacity to use safe dance practice to perform a movement that communicates their ideas and intentions. In Dance, students combine and apply technical and expressive skills. As they progress, they build on fundamental movement skills to acquire increasingly complex skills and, particularly in the secondary bands, learn style-based techniques to build their personal movement vocabulary.


As they make and respond in Dance, students learn that responses to artworks are informed by different viewpoints which shift according to their experiences of the world. As students make, investigate or critique dances as choreographers, dancers and audiences, they may ask and answer questions to consider the choreographers’ and dancers’ intentions and the audiences’ interpretations. Responses and interpretations are informed by an understanding of how the elements of dance, materials, skills and processes are used in dance from different times, cultures and locations. These questions provide the basis for making informed critical judgments about their own dance and the dance they see as audiences. In the later years, students will consider the interests and concerns of choreographers, dancers and audiences regarding philosophies and ideologies, critical theories, institutions and psychology.


The materials for Dance begin with the body, including body awareness, body bases, body parts and body zones. The body uses movement vocabulary developed from using the elements of dance to express and give form to feelings and ideas in both choreography and performance. Production components such as performance spaces, costumes, props, lighting, sets, sound and multimedia elements may be incorporated in dance.

Curriculum connection

Dance in The Arts and in Health and Physical Education

The Dance curriculum focuses on choreographing, performing and appreciating dance. Students use the elements of dance to explore choreography and performance and to practise choreographic, technical and expressive skills. Through the Dance curriculum, students develop a movement vocabulary with which to explore and refine imaginative ways of moving both individually and collaboratively. This learning is complemented by dance learning in Health and Physical Education where the emphasis is on dance as a lifelong physical activity and the development of movement skills, concepts and patterns. Together these curricula provide ways for students to develop personal and social skills and critically appraise cultural and social factors that shape their own identities, body and communities.

Information Communication Technologies and The Arts

Information Communication Technologies (ICT) are powerful tools that can support student learning. Students can develop and demonstrate their understanding of concepts and content in The Arts through using a range of ICT tools. It is also important that students know how to use these ICT efficiently and responsibly, as well as learning how to protect themselves and secure their data.

Details of how ICT can support student learning in The Arts is set out in the attached Information Communication Technologies and The Arts pdf.

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