Rosemary Brandt : text
Choreological Studies

Choreology studies human movement as the raw material of dance. It endorses the widespread opinion that movement used in dance is based directly upon the movement of everyday life and that therefore knowledge of this is crucial to the understanding of dance.

1.The Structural Model.

The structural model views the human body from a structural perspective, not an anatomical, physiological, psychological, or sociological perspective. What is revealed by the model is that the structure of the body's movement is inextricably linked to the structure of the body with its torso, limbs, head, joints and surfaces organised and arranged in their particular way, thus creating further action, spatial, dynamic and relationship structures. Hence the model identifies human movement as having five intrinsic structures, namely body action, space, dynamics and relationships, all of which are examined and explored separately but inform an understanding of the complexity of movement and dance. The affinity between these structures gives a human movement its unique identity. This uniqueness is further understood as the relationship between the structural and qualitative levels of a movement or the physical and perceptual properties of a danced movement.

2. Non-verbal communication Model.

Aspects of non-verbal communication are studied as a model for understanding body movement as social behaviour. Most behavioural scientists are prepared to agree that social life or society is absolutely an adaptive necessity for human existence. Communication, in this sense, is that system of co-adaptation by which society is sustained and which in turn makes human life possible. Viewed from this perspective, communication is that system through which human beings establish a predictable continuity in life. Only by participating in this patterned way are we able to incorporate our society's way of viewing and testing the world. Examination of kinesics (communicative body motion) and proxemics (spatial manoeuvres) in this context of communication and social order reveals that:

• A system of expression is already in place and patterned by our spontaneous reactions to our lived environment and that it is not dance that invents this expression.
• That a choreographer's dance vocabulary or the vocabulary of an established dance style or technique is a selection, an organised elaboration, repetition and intensification of everyday movement patterns. A choreographers' deliberate response to their content/subject matter is a result of the degree of transformation of elements of this pattern, which ultimately establishes the aesthetic expressive form.

3. Choreological Order.

Movement structures affine with one another in a unique, but systematic way. Choreological order is the term given to the syntax of human movement. Knowledge and understanding of this syntactical occurrence allows for the identification of those principles of movement, which hold movement structures together, both sequentially and simultaneously.


This is a considerable and highly developed investigation into, and of, space. Rudolf Laban presents a theory of spatial harmony; a unity of movement and space based on the fundamental idea that space is a hidden feature of movement and movement a visible aspect of space. Selected aspects of this theory are studied especially as a creative tool for dance making and as a model for analysing existing dance works.

5. The Strands of the Dance Medium.

A dance work is not simply its movement vocabulary but the nexus of the dancers, (gender, age, appearance, costumes, props, etc.), their particular movement vocabulary, the score (sound, music, voice, silence etc.) and the place (set, decor, lighting, theatre, etc.). All these actualities contribute to the virtual expression of the dance work. This model examines and explores this particular contribution in relation to the expression or meaning of the work.

6.Model for interpretation and evaluation.

Students can systematically through consideration of 1 - 5 above, gain access to the meaning and significance of a dance work by remaining rooted in the conceptual structures and modes of thought that make close and discriminating attention possible, namely the socio-cultural background, the context, the style/genre and subject matter of a particular work. Similarly students are introduced to what constitutes an evaluation through the consideration of aspects such as assumed values, judgements related to these values and the reasons for the judgements, which are found in the dance itself. These models are put forward in Dance Analysis: Theory and practice (ed. Janet Adshead).

Collectively the models for analysis outlined above, explicate and provide a language, which allows dance to be discussed on its own terms, without reference to things outside of itself. Choreological practice is concerned to demonstrate the necessity of looking at dance from within itself instead of borrowing terminology from another discipline and using it analogously. Analysis using the above models reveals that body movement, which includes dance, has its own set of laws which require its own set of terms for description, for practice and for research.