Please Wait a Moment

Elements of Dance

Young female student with braided hair in a parallel second position on stage with other students performing behind her

Professor: Patricia Cohen

Tuition: $200 member / $275 non-member

4 Weeks; 1 NDEO-Endorsed PDCs

This course explores the language we use to describe movement, and dance in particular. Through movement and discussion we will examine how the body moves in space, in time, and with energy (dynamics). A working knowledge of this material allows us to identify and describe movement with specificity and clarity, which serves both teachers and students. Ultimately, the goal of movement is to communicate meaning. We will explore the tools with which the body communicates. We call these tools the elements of movement. Our bodies are the instruments of communication. We will examine what moves, where, how, and when it moves in space, and with certain qualities that enhance meaning.

Book required: None

Questions about this Course?  Email

Past Student Testimonials


"It brought a new language to use. I was exposed to different ways to teach and communicate movement for my students."

"The platform and structure of the course worked well for my schedule. Being able to complete the course in a timely manner while working on my own time was one of the reasons I chose to take this course."

"I needed this class to help me to be clear in communication and since I do not have a background with a dance studio but work as a musical theatre choreographer, it gave me a firm base in which to draw from."

"I really liked the amount of work and the instructor keeping us accountable. It made me reflect on my own teaching practice and how I can use what I've learned here to help students along in their creative process. Will help with communicating more clearly to dancers while teaching choreography."

"It has vastly improved my vocabulary, and has changed the way that I think about movement. I am excited to experiment with this new knowledge and my choreography. I liked the way that we had to incorporate the vocabulary for each element of dance."

"It gave me a significant expansion of my vocabulary to write and talk about dance. Also- an insight into far more common aspects shared in various genres of dance."

"This course definitely helped me to improve my vocabulary as a dance teacher. I feel confident that I can use more descriptive language to describe choreography while teaching after this course."

"I loved the teacher! I am still getting use to Sakai because I am new to it but it's getting better the more I use it."

Professor Bio

Patricia Cohen, MA is an adjunct faculty member in NYU/Steinhardt’s MA dance education program, where she mentors student leadership to promote enhanced understanding of diversity and equity. Cohen develops and teaches courses for NDEO’s Online Professional Development Institute, including the Professional Teaching Standards for Dance Arts; Dance History: Global, Cultural and Historical Considerations, and two mini courses. She presents regularly at NDEO and other national and international conferences. Cohen contributed two chapters to the 2014 book, Jazz Dance: A History of Roots and Branches, Guarino and Oliver, editors. She co-created NDEO’s 2016 and 2019 special topics Jazz Dance conferences, which were based conceptually on the book and on contemporary issues in jazz dance. She contributes to and serves on the editorial board of NDEO’s Dance Education in Practice journal. A founding member of NDEO, Cohen has served on the NDEO Board of Directors. She received the 2011 NDEO Leadership Award. Pat teaches OPDI-101: Introduction to Professional Teaching Standards for Dance Arts, OPDI-111a&b: Dance History: Global, Cultural and Historical Considerations, OPDI-201: PTSDA Portfolio Development, OPDI-M2: Elements of Movement, and OPDI-M4: Developmental Domains.

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