This glossary is created to support Bangarra's digital eResources. 

broad (movement)

describes the type of movements where the limbs of the body are extended to their broadest capacity, either when the body is in one part of the performing space or when it is moving around the performing space

bump in

refers to the point in the creation of a work where the dancers and the creative team install the production into the theatre and onto the stage, after it has been created and rehearsed in the studio


as a choreographic device, a movement canon occurs when a group of dancers perform the same movement or phrase one after the other, similar to a musical canon.


refers to the dancers' ability to initiate and control the movements they execute by using their core muscle groups and centre of skeletal frame


to arrange or invent movements; steps and patterns of movements to create dance


one who invents and arranges movements to make a new dance

choreographic device

a recognised creative tool in the making of a dance. eg: repetition, inversion/reversal, canon, unison


the arrangement of movement


artists working together, using their respective disciplines and skills to create a single work. Most dance production is collaborative.


creator of the arrangement of elements in an artwork, for example creating music structure, music phrases, sound

contemporary (dance)

refers to dance that is newly created, using original movement.


clothing worn by performers/actors. Can offer a sense of time and place or suggest status or emotional state. Costume style or colour can be symbolic of the character. Costume also enriches the expression of the dancer and design aesthetic.

creative team

refers to the collective of individual artists who collaborate together to develop the ideas that are inspired by the intent of the work. The team could include but is not restricted to; choreographer, composer, dramaturg, designers (set, lighting, costume) and digital media.

dance technique

the specific skills acquired over time and required to execute complex movements encompassing alignment, articulation and different qualities of movement (also see technical skills)

dance theatre

term used to refer to performance that combines a range of movement and theatrical stage performance methods and disciplines. Originating from the German movement early 20th century – Tanztheater – to distinguish from ballet and conventional dance productions. Dance theatre, as a form, is constantly evolving.


Yolgnu language word for moth


refers to how the sound or movement is performed, includes weight, force, energy, movement, and sound qualities for example the relative volume and intensity of sound, or heavy and light movements


in relation to dance and choreography, elements can include but are not limited to space, time and dynamics


the expressive movement of the body, for example in drama and dance body movements to reveal character or communicate meaning

grounded (movement)

describes movement that is executed close to the floor and/or with the weight sinking into the floor


refers to the thoughts and ideas of the choreographer or director but does not prescribe what the audience should think

isolation (movement)

describes movement where one part of the body is moving separately and not in conjunction with any other part of the body, for example moving the ribcage to one side and keeping the rest of the body very still


refers to special lights that are placed on the stage - above, in front (footlights) and at the side. They are highly variable in their capacity to create many different atmospheres and highlight the action for the audience to observe

media call

refers to the public relations occasion that occurs at the time of a new work or first performance of a work in a city or town. Journalists and photographers from media outlets are invited to take photographs of the performance and performers and interview the creators


describes movement where dancers do exactly the same movements, either facing each other or positioned closely in relation to each other

movement vocabulary*

the accumulation of movement, steps, gestures that make up a repertoire for physical expression

original work

refers to a work of choreographic art that is newly created (not re-staged previously created work)

pas de deux (Fr)

refers to the French classical ballet terminology for a duet or duo (steps of two) where two dancers perform the choreography. Pas de deux usually involves partnering – one dancer supporting/being supported, lifting/being lifted, catching/being caught, and dancing with each other


refers to the first time a choreographic work is performed and/or seen in public

production crew

includes all the creative individuals who work to bring the work to the stage – stage manager, assistant stage managers, set builders, costume makers


object/s that a character uses to support the dramatic action and enhance dramatic meaning, for example; sticks, rocks, books, chairs, containers


refers to appropriate ways of using Indigenous cultural material, and interacting with Indigenous people and their communities. (Protocols for producing Indigenous performing arts. Australia Council for the Arts, 2007. p.5)


refers to the technical and mechanical backstage implements and structures that support the set and the lighting for the performance. Rigging can consist of ropes, pulleys, levers, clamps, and is sometimes controlled by computer technology and is sometimes manually operated.

rehearsal director

refers to the individual who works closely with the choreographer, dancers and when required, the production crew, to make sure that the details and standards of all aspects of the work are looked after as the other artists concentrate on their own role

repertoire (Fr)

a French word commonly used in English text to refer to the choreographic works that exist in a choreographer’s or dance company’s list of creative works that have been fully produced for performance


a professional writer and/or arts journalist who attend a performance of a new work (or new presentation season) and write descriptions of the work, as well as their individual critical views about the quality of the creative work.


refers to the design of the construction that surrounds the dance work


exists inside and around shapes and objects. In dance it is where the body moves and includes: level, dimension, direction, shape, negative space, planes, personal space and performance space


refers to the performing space which can be a platform with a proscenium arch, a flat space with audience seated on three sides (thrust stage), or flat space with audience seated in front (black box)

technical skills*

combination of proficiencies in an art form that develop with practise. In Dance, technical skills are developed with precision to perform in a variety of style specific dance techniques (including but not restricted to contemporary dance, jazz, musical theatre, ballet and hip hop; traditional dance styles such as those from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and Asian peoples) developing technical proficiency through the acquisition of appropriate strength, flexibility, coordination and endurance in the performance of body actions, locomotor and non locomotor movements

traditional (in dances)

refers to dances that are handed down from one generation to the next, transferring story, cultural life and cultural practices


dancers moving at the same time doing the same movements


colloquial short term for fully produced choreographic creation - ‘a work’. Also referred to as ‘a piece’ and also referred to as ‘a ballet’. There is no fixed rule in regard to which term to use although ‘a ballet’ would normally be used in the classical ballet genre

* Based on Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) Glossary from The Australian Curriculum The Arts Foundation to Year 10 Draft for consultation. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia (CC BY NC SA) licence. Accessed June 2013.