Learn about locomotor and nonlocomotor movement and explore how dance movement differs from other types of movement with this video from the Dance Arts Toolkit series. This video also discusses dancers’ training and techniques.
Have students choose a specific dance form such as ballet, jazz, or tap and research how dancers train for that specific form. Report findings and compare. Or compare them with how athletes train. Who stretches more in their training, a jazz dancer or a football player? How do basketball players and ballet dancers practice jumping?
Watch videos of a variety of dances and analyze them in terms of locomotor and nonlocomotor movements.
Have students work in groups to create movement sequences using both locomotor and nonlocomotor movements as well as varying the elements of dance.
Have students work in pairs to practice good alignment and posture. Have them change their positions to reflect various visual images, e.g., “Imagine you have a long heavy dinosaur tail,” “lengthen your neck,” or “relax your shoulders.”
Science connection: study how posture affects the body and health. What happens to the spine and posture as we age? How can exercise help keep people healthy?
Dancers come in many shapes, sizes, and styles, but whatever the look, there are two fundamental ways of moving involved in their dance: locomotor and nonlocomotor. Locomotor movement is movement through space, from one point to another. A ballet dancer making a graceful leap across the stage is an example of locomotor movement. Nonlocomotor movement is movement that stays in one place. A jazz dancer swinging her arms as she stands in one location is an example of nonlocomotor movement.
In order to be able to do the movements in a dance, dancers must train. This also helps them remain healthy and prevent injuries. Some forms of dance require special training spaces and equipment as well as special clothing and shoes.