A “Phrase” is a complete movement statement with a beginning-middle-ending.  Give dance’s “smallest organizational unit” the emphasis it deserves. Use this two-sided poster to experience phrasing as essential to effective choreographing as well as to performance clarity.


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A double-sided (2 in 1) color poster on sturdy gloss card stock. 13″x 19″.  Side 1 defines phrase (shown).  Side 2 adds twenty-one clarifying teacher prompts to deploy over several years to be able to continually instill important new dimensions about a phrase and also about a thematic phrase.

To master the art of phrasing is crucial in order to compose dances and to perform.  Use this focus chart to instill the skills that enable learners to group movements into digestible chunks that audiences can absorb.  Also learn to perform dances with intentional phrasing.  This keeps performed works coherent.

Construct a phrase as a complete movement statement.

  • Let “Phrase” reinforce phrasing during technique class to increase performance clarity.
  • Show phrasing to be an organic way to hold movement ideas together for coherence in choreography.

Instill in student choreographers that compositions are more interesting when phrases of different lengths are intermixed and also when they create their own accompaniment to accomplish that kind of irregularity.

Examples of teacher prompts on Side 2:

Every phrase has a recognizable beginning, middle, and end.
-A phrase’s purpose is to assemble movements into organic chunks.
-Phrases coherently bind movements together like a sentence binds words.

            What is a “Thematic Phrase?”
A thematic phrase is the key phrase in a dance.
It contains all the seeds that will germinate into one complete composition.
It includes the signature movement material for a particular composition.

Suited to EL, MS, HS.

[FYI:  The double-sided “Phrase” poster is included as a 12″ x 18″ bonus feature in all levels of Toolkit 3:  Composing Dance—Structures for Choreography  (2017).]