Choreographic forms


3 weeks.

Driving question

Could dance be meaningful without structure?


Students begin to investigate various choreographic forms exploring narrative form, binary form, ternary form, rondo form and the use of canons. Students will work through each task in the lesson sequence, developing knowledge, understanding and skill in creating a composition work through these various forms.


Stage 4

A student:

  • 4.2.1 identifies and explores aspects of the elements of dance in response to a range of stimuli
  • 4.2.2 composes dance movement, using the elements of dance, that communicates ideas
  • 4.3.1 describes dance performances through the elements of dance

Stage 5

A student:

  • 5.2.1 explores the elements of dance as the basis of the communication of ideas
  • 5.2.2 composes and structures dance movement that communicates an idea
  • 5.3.1 describes and analyse dance as the communication of ideas within a context

Dance 7-10 Syllabus copyright NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2003.


Students will explore a range of tasks based around the various choreographic forms, investigating their creativity within exploring an intent. Students will work through the attached PowerPoint presentation exploring narrative form, binary form, ternary form, rondo form and the use of canons. The use of reflection through process diary entries will further engage students, creating deeper understanding within the compositional process.

Cross-curriculum content and key competencies

  • Literacy
  • Numeracy


All activities require students to demonstrate their learning and are all formative assessment activities.

Teaching and learning activities

Students are to work both individually and in small groups through practical and written tasks within this unit. Students will be required to reflect on this practice through literacy tasks with regular process diary entries.

Suggested student learning activities include:

  • discussion and reflection activities around each of the tasks
  • creating a vocabulary list throughout the lesson sequence
  • TEEEC structuring (PDF 4.27MB)External link to form sophisticated paragraphing, working with the TEEEC scaffold provided
  • demonstrate a willingness to engage in composition tasks
  • explore performance opportunities presenting group works and phrases to the class around each choreographic form
  • exploring the process of composition and choreographic forms through the tasks below.

Composition and appreciation

The Choreographic forms PowerPoint (PPTX 7.92MB)External link presentation will be used alongside with the practical activities below.

Narrative form

Working through slide 4 as a class, students will:

  • discuss various narrative possibilities, exploring what each section would entail, ABC
  • compose a short story
  • break down their story into 3 sections of ABC
  • view the clip So you think you can dance- Dreaming with a broken heart External link(00:02:04) and discuss the narrative form viewed
  • write a process diary entry discussing the success of narrative form within the work
  • choreograph a dance work of the story with their partner to a song of their choice.

Binary form

Working through slide 5 as a class, students will:

  • discuss the various ideas they could explore through binary form, AB
  • in pairs, choose one idea and develop a separate motif for each of the two sections
  • perform both motifs for the class, discussing as a group the success in other pairs motifs and applying constructive feedback
  • write a process diary entry on the task.

Ternary form

Working through slide 6 as a class, students will:

  • discuss ternary form as a group, ABA
  • use their phones/devices to find an example of a piece of music structure in ternary form
  • view the clip So you think you can dance - Fix you External link (00:02:44) and discuss in pairs the success of the intent
  • describe the movement quality conveying both section A?s
  • discuss what other elements within composition could be used to enhance ternary form
  • write a process diary entry reflecting on the dance they watched, and the benefits of using Ternary form.

Rondo form

Working through slide 7 as a class, students will:

  • discuss and explore the notion of rondo form, ABACADA
  • use their phones/devices to find an example of a piece of music structure in rondo form
  • discuss, create and explore various composition ideas with a rondo structure. Make a list of these in their process diary
  • present one idea to the class and as a group, discuss the possibilities within each pairs idea?s
  • choose one of the story's created by another group. Choreograph a performance based on that story in Rondo form
  • perform for the class
  • reflect in your process diary addressing the use of the Rondo form in a classmate?s performance, and your own.


Working through slide 7 as a class, students will:

  • research and define the definition of a canon
  • discuss the purpose of a canon in dance
  • view the clip Cry me a river dance videoExternal link (00:03:31) and discuss the successful use of canon
  • create their own canon sequence in small groups of three or four. Reflect on this by discussing what did/didn?t work
  • write a TEEEC paragraph on the technique. Discuss how you could use canons in your work. Provide examples of how it could be overused.


Students will:

  • choreograph an entire performance individually or in pairs, in one of the choreographic forms explored above
  • write an accompanying process diary entry each lesson outlining the steps taken, breakdown of the story and intention of the dance
  • perform their dances for the class without announcing what form it is
  • guess/identify the form and structure of each performance through class discussion.

When structuring the lessons aim to work through one task per lesson. Allow students to explore the tasks to their full extent to build their knowledge, understanding and skill within the various choreographic forms. The appreciation and practical composition lessons are to be explored in partnership. Attempt to engage in reflection tasks at the end of each activity, building students competencies in writing an effective process diary.


Written reflections are documented and shared within collaborative discussion facilitated by the teacher

Process Diary

Students are to:

  • document the process through composition classes in a process diary. This should be a journal, exploring reflections of each activity and lesson. This can be their class workbooks, a dance process diary, or an online blog through sites such as Class NotebookExternal link or Google classroom.External link



Students could:

  • select an existing story with a theme
  • develop a rationale on how it would be explored through each of the choreographic forms
  • explore how variation and contrast would be explored in each section
  • write an analysis on which form would be the most successful for their intent and why
  • answer the driving question in their process diary.

Life skills

Life skills outcomes

  • LS 2.1 explores the elements of dance to create movement and communicate ideas
  • LS 2.2 explores, selects and sequences movement to express feelings and ideas
Dance 7-10 SyllabusExternal link © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2003.

Students could:

  • select a story or intent and describe each section within narrative form, ABC
  • decide what areas of the stage they would choose to use for each section
  • begin choreographing one of the sections for their dance in small groups or pairs
  • learn a series of 3 movements, expressing 3 different feelings or ideas. They can make up these, or they can be chosen for them
  • perform those for a friend or the class in sequence.

Feedback is formative for the duration of the unit.

This sequence and accompanying worksheets are available as word documents below.
  1. Choreographic forms sequence (DOCX 57.41KB)External link
  2. TEEEC scaffold worksheet (DOCX 45.48KB).External link
Reference list and resources
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