Understanding the use of Levels in dance | (2024)

Levels, in dance, is how we use different heights in the Space. It refers to the vertical distance from the floor. It is a component of the Elements of Dance and is part of the basic content and vocabulary of a dance class.

Levels describe movement that happens a High, Medium (Middle) or Low area within the dance space. The level that a movement is performed at, can give us information about the meaning, mood, or emotion of the movement.

Understanding the use of Levels in dance | (1)
The three Levels of movement

Low level movements are seen as grounded or dragging and heavy. These levels are no higher than crawling under a fence.

Understanding the use of Levels in dance | (2)

Medium (Middle) level movement are often about travelling or ‘going’ somewhere, moving towards or away from. This level is at waist height or standing.

Understanding the use of Levels in dance | (3)

High level movements are linked to lightness, giving the illusion of flying or defying gravity. These are the movements of elevation and reaching high.

Understanding the use of Levels in dance | (4)

Low level movements: rolling, sitting, kneeling, crawling, crouching.
Medium level movements: walking, stepping, balancing, running.
High level movements: leaping, pushing off the ground, stretching into the air, skipping, jumping.

What are Levels in dance?

Each of the Levels is only a guideline so we can name the place in space in relationship to the body’s distance from the ground. Of course there are all the levels that occur between each of these. So when we think about High, Medium (Middle) and Low we think of them in a band or zone within the space.

The most interesting use of Levels happens when we transition between these ‘zones’ as we move through the space. Having said this, moving on one level can be highly effective when using a level to convey meaning or emotion. This is an example from Terrain by Bangarra Dance Theatre (1:56 – 2:49 m )

What do the different Levels in dance mean?

How children understand the use of levels in dance will depend on their age group.

The Early Years

In the Early Years their focus will be about discriminating the difference between the three Levels of High, Medium and Low. This could involve children individually making shapes or creating movements that happen at each of the levels.

It could also include the children observing how their body looks different or the same at each level as they make shapes. Alternatively, they could focus on how their body feels. Which Level uses the most amount of effort.

Understanding the use of Levels in dance | (5)

To children of this age, identifying Levels as a part of how they use the Space, is an important part of developing the vocabulary to communicate about dance. They need to have opportunities to talk about their own dances and how they are moving their bodies.

This new vocabulary also gives them the words to describe what they are seeing when other children move. This helps to develop their ability to interpret and make sense of what they are observing.

Try asking questions that encourage children to explain what they are seeing and experiencing. Draw their attention to their sensory experience of movement.

How did it feel to move on a low level?

Which parts of your body were pressing against the ground?

Was the surface of the ground rough or smooth? How did that feel as you were dancing?

Did the level you were moving on change how much energy you had? Did it make you move faster or slower? Smoother or jerkier?

Years 3 &4

At this age children are exploring levels from a more structural perspective. They investigate transitioning between levels and how the contrast between the levels can be explored.

Children will look at shape making on different levels with other dancers. They will develop balance skills by exploring these shapes and movement as they connect a range of body parts.

Sinking and rising through the Space are investigated in Years 3 & 4, further challenging their balance skills. This can be used when performing locomotor (travelling) movements and non-locomotor movements (on the spot).

Choreographically, children in this age group can respond to more complex stimulus. They often see the use of levels as way of creating contrast in their own dances. Using contrasting music can encourage them to explore levels.

Does the deep base sound in the music suggest a level?

How can you reflect the changes in the music by using different levels?

Levels in dance are also used to convey emotions and to represent stories and ideas. Children can often communicate their ideas in quite abstract ways using different levels.

Similarly, they look for meaning in the choreography of others. This could be identifying meaning or describing the use of levels in a professional dance works or in response to watch their classmates.

As they develop a more versatile movement vocabulary children find it interesting to discuss where the zones of the different levels begin and end. I love this conversation as there really is no definitive answer…just in-depth discussion as a part of the process.

Years 5 & 6

This age group are making more sophisticated links between the use of Levels to make meaning. They are looking at it as a vehicle of composition. More advanced students will begin to develop partnering skills that use balance, contrast, and sharing of weight at different levels.

They also explore Level as a part of the overall structure of the dance’s design or as a major point of emphasis. They examine how other choreographers have used Levels as a way of constructing their dances.

In their compositions they are also starting to observe the use of levels as a way of making their dances interesting to the audience. They move beyond using levels as a way of solving a movement problem and begin to explore the aesthetic implications of how we use Space.

Understanding the use of Levels in dance | (6)

This could include using level to represent a character or create a particular mood in their dance. Level can be used to signify the status of a character or give insights into their noteworthy traits.

This is also a chance to introduce how Level can be manipulated using costumes, props, or stage setting. An example of this includes the giant heart-shaped skirt of the Queen of Hearts in Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, that lifted the character above all the other dancers. Or the entrance of Don Quixote on his horse in the ballet of the same name.

How does the costume change the level of the dancer? What impact does this have on how think about the character?

What are some changes to the stage setting that could impact the level of the dancer? How could this reflect the intended meaning?

How could you use different levels to emphasis a particular trait of your character?

Using Levels in dance

There are many ways you can explore Levels in dance as a component of Space, using still shapes or locomotor movements.

Describing movements using levels is a way to build your students dance vocabulary. It empowers them to be able to talk about their own choreography and better reflect their ideas in their dances.

As a part of the DTI Membership resources there are many dance activities that help students to understand the use of levels. These practical dance resources are supported by reflective worksheets that help to capture student understanding and achievement in dance.

Become a part of the DTI community today and bring more dance into your classroom.

Related Posts

  • Dance Bingo

  • Rehearsing Dance

    Dance Rehearsal Ideas What is a rehearsal? 1. Knowing the movements 2. Being able to…

  • Dance Exit Cards Year3-4

Understanding the use of Levels in dance | (2024)


Understanding the use of Levels in dance |? ›

Levels: Dancers use a variety of levels: high, middle, or low. High movements can reach upward and include using jumps and leaps or lifting each other. A middle level move is generally a move that takes place between the height of the dancer's shoulders and knees.

What is the use of levels in dance? ›

Levels describe movement that happens a High, Medium (Middle) or Low area within the dance space. The level that a movement is performed at, can give us information about the meaning, mood, or emotion of the movement.

What does Level 2 mean in dance? ›

Level 2: Intermediate. At least 4 consecutive years of dance experience within the last 7 years. Able to pick up choreography, understanding of rhythm and dance patterns, cross floor experience, and sequencing. ​

What are the three levels of dancing that you use in a space? ›

We explored movements occurring low to the floor or on it (low levels), rising to kneeling or crouching (medium levels), or standing and moving in the air (high levels).

What are the 7 components of dance? ›

The separation among concepts here serves as a means to think about, plan, and discuss dance.
  • SPACE. Where is movement. performed? ...
  • TIME. When is movement. performed? ...
  • FORCE. How is movement. performed? ...
  • BODY. What is being used to. perform? ...
  • FORM. How is dance. structured? ...
  • Vestibular. Move off balance with swings and spins.

Is dance a level useful? ›

A-level Dance is a dynamic qualification which encourages students to develop their creative and intellectual capacity, alongside transferable skills such as team working, communication and problem solving.

What do you do in dance a level? ›

The A Level Dance course is divided into three main areas; performance, choreography and critical engagement. The course involves studying Dance in both practical and academic contexts. Technical training, predominantly in contemporary dance will focus on developing physical and performance skills.

How many levels are there in dance? ›

Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced & Kids Dance Lessons.

What is the highest level of dance? ›

Principal—This is the highest level a dancer can reach. A dancer can be promoted to principal dancer if they have top-notch technical ability and can combine that with beautiful artistry.

What is a Level 4 dance qualification? ›

The Level 4 Diploma can be completed by teachers who will then be permitted to join the NATD as full members. The Diploma will develop individual professional teaching skills, methods and understanding at a universally recognised level. There is recognition and individual assessment regarding prior learning.

What are high level movements examples? ›

High movements can reach upward using jumps, leaps, or when lifting each other. A middle-level move is generally a move that takes place between the height of the dancer's shoulders and knees. Low-level moves can include sitting, kneeling, sinking to the ground, rolling, or crawling.

What are the three pathways we use in dance? ›

Include straight, curved, and zigzag paths.

What does pathway mean in dance? ›

Pathway in dance is synonymous to line in visual art: a point that moves through space that can vary in width, length, curvature and direction. In dance, a body part of the entire body can move in a variety of pathways.

What are the 5 concepts of dance? ›

Finally, a great way to remember the five elements is by thinking of the acronym BASTE: Body, Action, Space, Time and Energy.

What are the 4 principles of dance? ›

Understanding these elements and how to use them is the key to a great work of art. There are four fundamental compositional elements of dance: space, time, force, and shape.

How to spot a dancer? ›

The first thing to notice in their stance is their posture – a dancer has good posture. A dancer won't be slouched over, they are standing nice and tall with their shoulders back. The next thing someone may notice is their feet. People may see the natural turn-out of their feet and legs.

What are dance award levels? ›

The most common types of awards are Adjudication Award – Diamond, Platinum, High Gold, Gold, and High Silver, each corresponding to a scoring range.

What are the levels in dance dance revolution? ›

Players are graded by their performance in letters (from lowest to highest, E, D, C, B, A, AA and AAA) based on how well they played the song. The better a player does on a song, the higher their grade is. From DDR SuperNOVA to later versions, the levels are called beginner, basic, difficult, expert, and challenge.

How many levels are in dancing line? ›

There are a total of 63 Dancing Line levels, with 46 normal levels, 6 remix levels, 6 removed levels, one tutorial, and one WeChat-exclusive level.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Msgr. Refugio Daniel

Last Updated:

Views: 5552

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (74 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Msgr. Refugio Daniel

Birthday: 1999-09-15

Address: 8416 Beatty Center, Derekfort, VA 72092-0500

Phone: +6838967160603

Job: Mining Executive

Hobby: Woodworking, Knitting, Fishing, Coffee roasting, Kayaking, Horseback riding, Kite flying

Introduction: My name is Msgr. Refugio Daniel, I am a fine, precious, encouraging, calm, glamorous, vivacious, friendly person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.