What is Creative Dance?

Creative Dance is a dance form that combines the mastery of movement with the artistry of expression. This combination of mastery and artistry – not a separation of the 2- is what makes creative dance so powerful. Often people view creative dance as an activity in which only children too young to study so-called “real dance” take part. However, when dance combines skill development and self-expression, anyone of any age can benefit from it.

Anne Green Gilbert, Founder of the Creative Dance Center (Seattle)

There are many types of dance (ballet, jazz, modern, tap, hip-hop, etc…). Creative Dance is a contemporary one. It doesn’t relate to a specific technic but a synthesis of all styles of Dance. It gives everyone the ability to create one’s own dancer personality and create choreography by exploring the elements of Dance : Space, Time, Force and Body. These 4 elements can be developed into many concepts such as Direction, Level, Place, Speed, Rhythm, Energy, Weight, Shapes, Relationships etc… A Creative Dance teacher does not teach technics related to the different dance styles but more these basic concepts that are common to all of them.

Creative Dance is then a conceptual approach that develops both technical and creative skills at the same time through exploration of movement.

The focus of each lesson is based on concepts to explore.

Here is how I plan my Creative Dance classes :

WARM-UP : We begin with a warm-up that I call “Entrée en Danse” in French.  Starting a creative dance class is like opening the door to self-expression. It’s all about making the children comfortable and ready to explore with confidence. The warm-up takes place in a quiet atmosphere that goes from immobility to movement of each part of the body or from a quick awakening of the whole body to a gradual dynamic movement. This warm-up is all about working on energy, muscular capacities and gross motor skills.

EXPLORATION-APPLICATION OF THE CONCEPTS / EXCHANGE and REFLECTION : During Dance class we explore the concepts related to the elements of Dance (Space, Time, Force and Body) through improvisation but within a framework.  All these "dance games" are a student-centered work where the children are free to explore each concept through their own movement, working individually or with others. Between each exploration we talk about what we discovered, what ideas we had, what ideas we would like to keep and what would be great to work on together. After each reflection we work more deeply on what the children decided to. I can also introduce dance skills related to the dance concepts we worked on or even turning, combining movements and leaping.

CREATION/CHOREOGRAPHY : At the end of a trimester or a year children are asked to create a small movement piece with what they learned. It is again an improvisation-based dance but at that time the children have discovered more about the dance concepts and are able to dance differently with more movement options to choose from. They can perform in front of an audience.

COOLING-DOWN/RELAXATION: We always end the class with a quiet goodbye dance to release the tension of the body and cool-down.

Creative Dance can often been considered as a introduction for the future study of all dance techniques. It is true that students can learn dance fundamentals through Creative Dance and develop many skills that will help them in other dance classes. However Creative Dance is also a Dance on its own. Because of its conceptual approach it gives anyone the ability to explore movement as a wonderful way of expression. Creative Dance is a dance of all styles, a unifying one that just naturally brings people, children and adults, together through the language of movement.