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Core Composition Ideas | HSC Dance

Updated: Nov 2, 2021

I know, I know. Creating a core composition idea can be daunting! I can just imagine the questions running through your brain just this very second....

What if start it and I don't like it? What if I can't think of movement? What if the markers don't understand?

Here's the catch.... if you follow the core composition process and explore your movement motif in order to communicate the intent of the work you will enjoy the process, movement will naturally occur through improvisation and the markers will understand what you are trying to say. Particularly if you are clear with your choreographic choices and you are able to back yourself up in an interview setting.

Idea, ideas and more ideas!

When picking an core composition idea, it is important to improvise movements before finalising it. This is to ensure that you are able to create original movement content, and enough of it, without running out of inspiration. If you find it hard to improvise movements, choose another idea and improvise. The easier it is to improvise from a stimuli (visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, tactile and ideational), the more natural it will be for you to choreograph an entire dance work and form it to create unity.

Stay clear of over used idea!

If you do want to use a concept that you think may be over used, you can still use it. You need to find a way for it to be unique and not like the rest.

How can you make YOUR dance different to the others? Can you put a different twist on it?

Concepts that are over used tend to be centred around life cycles, seasons, animals and the cliche broken heart.

Remember, you can still use any of these. You just need to figure out how to do it in an original way.

Lot's of student draw on personal experiences. For example, an illness, a feeling, a favourite movie or book, a quote that speaks to them or song lyrics that they like, their favourite food, sounds the irk them and so much more!

Start off with a mind map.

Mind maps are a fantastic tool in breaking things down. In the middle of your page write COMPOSITION IDEAS and draw a circle around it. Now draw lines out of that circle. At the end of each line, write down an idea. Literally write the first thing that comes to your mind, even if you think it is silly! You are the only one reading that page. Most of the time, the ideas that you feel are ridiculous are the ones that end up being the most interesting!

Once you have all your ideas, go around and cross out the ones that are a hard no. Then choose a highlighter and highlight the ones that are a maybe. Finally, choose another highlight colour and circle the ones that you think could be winners!


As mentioned above, once you have some idea. Improvise.

Improvising is key to success!

if you lock in a concept/intent without doing this, you are probably going to struggle coming up with movement content. Make sure you are able to create movements. This is so very important.

Once you have found the right fit for you, it will be sweet sailing to the finish line. You are definitely going to have to put in the hard work, but if you are confident in your idea, if will be enjoyable hard work.

Remember, private dance tutors like myself, as well as your dance teacher, are here to help you. Lucky for you, I can offer you help through my online services.

If you are stuck with your core composition you can:

  • Send in a video of your work in progress for detailed feedback.

  • Book in a time to video conference with me to discuss your stimulus, concept, motif, form and much more!

  • Helena Adele Dance Co. has their very own textbook titled 'A Guide to Core Composition' which can be purchased on our website. It will guide you through the whole composition process plus take you through activities to assist your understanding along the way. You can purchase the book by clicking the button below.

Happy Learning!

Helena Adele

Bachelor of Dance Education

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