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PHSE116 Elements of Dance

Introduces the basic elements and skills of dance as a contemporary performance art through an integrated approach which incorporates theory, practice and analysis.

  • The paper will include an investigation of practical movement techniques; temporal and spatial issues; creative processes; the components of composition; and an introduction to critical analysis of choreographic presentation
  • This paper further aims to facilitate cross-referencing of ideas, issues and practice between the various performing arts disciplines

Paper title Elements of Dance
Paper code PHSE116
Subject Physical Education
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,038.45
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,680.00

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This paper is open to anyone with an interest in dance composition and performance. No prior dance training is required. However, it is expected that students engage fully with all theory and practical sessions.
Teaching staff
Lecturer: Ali East

Aside from the lecturer, a variety of guest professional artists provide valuable input into the paper. Students are required to attend live performances throughout the semester.
Paper Structure
  • Introduction to the elements of dance
  • The self in dance
  • Articulating time and space
  • Dynamics, qualities of action
  • Describing, analysing dance
  • Themes and narratives
  • Solo and group choreography and presentation
A reader will be provided, along with further current references.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Communication, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Information literacy, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
By the end of this paper students will have gained knowledge in:
  • Temporal and spatial dance issues
  • Dynamic gesture and image
  • Choreographic elements and devices
  • Creative process and movement exploration
  • Critical observation of performance
  • Practical presentation and evaluation
  • Dance as 'text' in a visual culture
  • Cross-disciplinary links
  • Specific movement techniques
  • Safe dance practice

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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Monday 12:00-12:50 9-13, 15-22
Wednesday 12:00-12:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
P1 Tuesday 10:00-11:50 9-13, 15-22
P2 Tuesday 16:00-17:50 9-13, 15-22