Choreographic Devices

Created by
icon Charles A. Washington
7 May 2021

Choreographic decisions - Planned or Unplanned 

Action content, including

  • travel 
  • turn 
  • elevation
  • gesture
  • stillness
  • use of different body parts 
  • floor work 
  • transfer of weight.

Dynamic content, including

  • fast/slow 
  • sudden/sustained 
  • acceleration/deceleration 
  • strong/light
  • direct/indirect
  • flowing/abrupt.

Spatial content, including

•  pathways 

  • levels 
  • directions 
  • size of movement 
  • patterns 
  • spatial design.

Relationship content, including: 

  • lead and follow  
  • mirroring 
  • action and reaction
  • accumulation 
  • complement and contrast 
  • counterpoint 
  • contact 
  • formations. 

Choreographic processes, including:

  • researching 
  • improvising 
  • generating  
  • selecting 
  • developing  
  • structuring  
  • refining and synthesising. 

Structuring devices and form, including:

  •   binary 
  • ternary 
  • rondo 
  • narrative  
  • episodic 
  • beginning/middle/end
  • unity 
  • logical 
  • sequence 
  • transitions. 

Choreographic devices, including:

  • motif and development
  • repetition  
  • contrast 
  • highlights 
  • climax 
  • manipulation of number
  • unison and canon.


group movement performed by the whole team at the same time;


performing of the movements of a motif or sequence in reverse order (but not in a backwards direction);


Performing backwards, as if rewinding a video.


repeated movement down a line of people one after the other;


Creating oppositions for emphasis; oppositions may be of various kinds: gestural, rhythmic, directional etc.


Only a part of the movement sequence/motif is manipulated. A movement is broken down into smaller units;


Inverting the movement phrase, executing it as if ‘looking in a mirror’. A forward step becomes a backward step; movement sideward.

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