Elements of Dance

Elements of Dance at Each Level

Within each dance in the Official Syllabi published on this website, each level of dance – Bronze, Silver, Gold – has defined elements and restrictions that are designed to create a proper progression through increasingly complex concepts of dancing. 

The following list, created by Ava Kaye and Beth Knoll, touches on a few applicable ideas/ elements to be taught at each level. We hope and believe this information may be a helpful resource to you in your teaching and in your dancing.


  • To teach proper body alignment and balance
  • To teach moving the weight from foot to foot consistently through the dancing of uncomplicated patterns
  • To teach the fundamental basic movements of each dance
  • To unify the body and teach core strength
  • To introduce transitions of frame at fundamental levels


  • To introduce complex body positions
  • To advance the use of swing and shape
  • To develop the ability to dance complex rhythms and syncopations
  • To increase the ability to turn and spin
  • To introduce body isolations while in movement without disturbing core strength
  • To introduce transitions of more complex frames


  • To learn to change inside and outside of curve with greater frequency and rapidity
  • To incorporate line figures and more complex rhythms into the dance
  • To change direction with alacrity by increasing an understanding of body weight
  • To use more extreme body positions to create greater risk in the dance
  • To learn to move the whole body through isolations to create greater speed and strength
  • To increase understanding of complex frame and body position transitions

The Purpose of Open Dance

  • To encourage flexibility with timing and patterns
  • To explore new movement and shapes
  • To freely express emotion through dance
  • To break the rules!

Click HERE to View the Official NDTA Approved Syllabi for All Dances 
in Each Style of Dance:
American Smooth, American Rhythm, International Ballroom, and International Latin

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