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Motif | Core Composition | HSC Dance

Updated: Jul 3, 2022

What is a movement motif? How do you use this as a tool to communicate intent throughout your core composition? These are all questions that students often think they know the answer to, but as they get into the nitty gritty of the composition process, they get stuck or even lost on how to continue with their composition journey whilst maintaining the integrity of their chosen concept/intent.

Let's break it down:

Motif/s, what is it?

The NESA syllabus defines motif as "the earliest stage of development of a theme or composition; a movement starting point which gives the first element of form to the dance/work".

Movement motif/s are used as a device or tool throughout the composition process to achieve unity. It allows for you to consistently and clearly communicate your concept/intent without having to spell it out literally through movement.

I often encourage students to develop a motif phrase rather than one singular motif. A motif phrase allows for more variety within the manipulation process, where students often are able to create far more content that is original. Sometimes if students only have one singular motif, they often get stuck into 'repetition' rather than 'manipulation and development'.

How do you know if a motif or motif phrase is successful?

There is no real answer to this, however, their are some tips and tricks that I can share with you.