Teacher’s Guide To Teaching The Elements of Dance

The six elements of dance are the building blocks for how music is created. Many school curriculums (including the Ontario Dance Curriculum) use the elements of dance as a major component of their learning expectations.


  • Grade 1: body awareness (e.g., awareness of where one is in space in relation to objects in class, awareness of position)
  • Grade 1: use of body zones (e.g., whole body [versus various body parts], upper body only, lower body only), use of body parts (e.g., arms, legs, head)
  • Grade 1: body shapes (e.g., big, small, angular, twisted, curved, straight, closed)
  • Grade 1: locomotor movements (e.g., galloping, skipping, rolling)
  • Grade 1: non-locomotor movements (e.g., arm movements such as swimming/waving, hopping on one foot, jumping on two feet, kicking, bending knees, melting to the ground, stretching, growing, spinning, folding, bowing)
  • Grade 1: body bases (e.g., feet as body base, hands and knees as body base)



  • Grade 1: levels (e.g., low to high by reaching; high to low by falling, crouching), directions (e.g., forwards, backwards, sideways), general and personal


  • Grade 1: tempo (e.g., fast/slow, movement versus freeze), rhythm (e.g., even, uneven)


  • Grade 1: quality (e.g., melting, twitching, slumping, percussive, sustained [as in a held stretch])


  • Grade 1: with a partner (e.g., slow-motion mirroring)