Document dance

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to document dance sequences using basic dance notation methodologies and basic video recording and editing techniques.


This unit applies to those who are engaged in researching aspects of dance culture. They could be documenting dance sequences or dance productions in the context of dance teaching, improving their own dance technique, devising dance sequences or preserving information about performances for historical or cultural purposes.

Work is usually undertaken under some supervision, though autonomy and judgement can be expected since people are sometimes expected to coordinate wide-ranging documentation projects.


Not applicable.

Elements and Performance Criteria

1. Prepare to document dance sequences

1.1. Discuss with relevant personnel the reasons for documenting dance sequences and the range of components to be documented

1.2. Clarify elements of dance sequences that need special emphasis in documentation

1.3. Organise materials and resources required to document dance sequences

2. Apply basic notation skills

2.1. Agree on the form of basic written notation to be used

2.2. Practise using the symbols and terminology associated with agreed notation method

2.3. Notate aspects of dance sequences in line with requirements

2.4. Notate aspects of music as required

2.5. Review notation with relevant personnel to identify adjustments that need to be made

2.6. Finalise notation and submit to relevant personnel as required by agreed deadline

3. Record dance sequences

3.1. Set up basic recording equipment and accessories to accommodate angles, perspectives and sound quality required for documentation purposes

3.2. Coordinate recording of dance sequences and any commentary required

3.3. Review recordings progressively and request repetition of sequences as required

3.4. Interact with dancers and others involved in the recording process in ways that engender goodwill, trust and respect

3.5. Ensure that all activities are carried out with due regard to safety considerations

4. Finalise documentation

4.1. View raw footage of recordings with relevant personnel to determine editing requirements

4.2. Use standard features of basic digital imaging and video editing software to produce first cut of video clips

4.3. Review first cut with relevant personnel and incorporate feedback and suggestions into final version as required

4.4. Output files in the required format and ensure that backup copies are made according to enterprise procedures

4.5. Check that documentation material meets requirements and submit complete package to relevant personnel within agreed timeframe

4.6. Use feedback from relevant personnel and self-reflection to identify ways to improve documentation process

Required Skills

Required skills

communication skills to:

clarify written and verbal instructions and specifications regarding dance documentation requirements

discuss dance documentation issues with a range of people

give and receive feedback on work in progress

initiative and enterprise skills to:

analyse dance movements for notation purposes

devise concepts for video recordings that meet documentation needs

anticipate and deal with issues that arise in the context of filming dance sequences

learning skills to improve basic dance notation skills through practice

literacy skills to:

read simple dance notation

use basic dance notation techniques

planning and organising skills to plan and implement all aspects of dance documentation projects

teamwork skills to work collaboratively with dancers and others involved in the recording of dance sequences

technology skills to:

set up and operate basic video recording equipment

edit video footage using a range of standard features in basic digital editing software

manipulate digital images using standard digital imaging software.

Required knowledge

well-developed knowledge of:

principles underlying dance movements and techniques, such as:

relationship with gravity

spatial awareness

successional movement




shifting weight

dance terminology

overview knowledge of:

theories of dance analysis

dance styles and genres, and conventions relevant to analysis

staging elements of live productions

choreographic process

range of methods for notating dance

OHS issues related to:

using video recording equipment to document dance

working for periods of time on computers.

Evidence Required

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit

Evidence of the ability to:

notate a short dance sequence using symbols and terminology relevant to the dance style and selected notation method

produce a video clip of a dance sequence that:

meets specified documentation requirements

demonstrates competency in basic:

video recording and editing techniques

digital image manipulation

work collaboratively with others.

Context of and specific resources for assessment

Assessment must ensure access to:

dance notation reference materials

video recording and editing equipment and facilities.

Method of assessment

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples are appropriate for this unit:

direct questioning combined with review of portfolios of evidence

third-party workplace reports of on-the-job performance

evaluation of dance notation prepared

verbal or written questioning to test knowledge as listed in the required skills and knowledge section of this unit

case studies and scenarios as a basis for discussion of issues and challenges that arise in the context of documenting dance

review of video clips produced.

direct observation of candidate coordinating recording of dance sequences.

Assessment methods should closely reflect workplace demands (e.g. literacy) and the needs of particular groups (e.g. people with disabilities and people who may have literacy or numeracy difficulties, such as speakers of languages other than English, remote communities and those with interrupted schooling).

Guidance information for assessment

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended, for example:

CUACHR403A Develop skills in the craft of choreography

CUADLT301A Develop basic dance analysis skills

CUFDIG303A Produce and prepare photo images

CUSMLT303A Notate music.

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Relevant personnel may include:


dance teacher

dance student





wardrobe personnel

make-up artist

hair stylist

venue staff

camera operator

representatives of dance societies

sound recordist.

Reasons may relate to:

creating a choreographic record

teaching dance

documenting all aspects of a production.

Components may include:

dance movements






use of silence


special effects.

Elements may relate to:

effort, including:

time: when the movement occurs in a composition

weight: the intensity used to perform the movement

space: shows where and what path the movement follows

flow: how the movements are joined together

spatial elements, such as:

direction of movement in space

level, where movement or gestures occurs on high, medium or low level

shape, including symmetry and asymmetry

dynamics, such as:

rhythm: time and weight

duration: length of time to perform a movement

musical rhythms: association between musical notation and dance movements

body and body actions, such as:

body and body parts: the part of the body moving

step or locomotor movement: complete transference of weight

gesture, such as a movement that is not a step

relationship to others, including audience.

Materials and resourcesmay include:

reference material related to symbols and terminology used to document human movement

notation software

video editing software


video recording equipment and accessories.

Written notationmay include:

various notation methods, including:




in-house custom method

motif notation

notation software.

Symbols may relate to documenting:

direction of the movement, such as:



left forward diagonal

right forward diagonal

left side

right side

left backward diagonal

right backward diagonal

part of the body doing the movement

level of the movement, including:

low - bent leg

middle - straight leg

high - on the toes

length of time it takes to do the movement related to music notation.

Aspects of music notation may relate to:

musical rhythms, including:





time signatures, such as:




Adjustments may relate to:

gaps in notation



too much or too little emphasis on a particular element.

Recording equipment and accessories may include:




microphone stands


mini DV tapes


sound recording equipment


Ways to accommodate may relate to:

mounting one or more cameras on tripods to film continuous long shots from different angles

using hand held cameras to film close-up shots

recording sound separately.

Safety considerations relate to:

ensuring that the space is free of trip hazards

testing and tagging electrical equipment

running cables.

Standard features may include:

cropping shots

changing the sequence of shots

juxtaposing long and close-up shots of the same movement

slowing or speeding up motion

inserting stills

panning and zooming stills

synchronising sound and vision when importing audio tracks

replacing audio from original footage with separate audio tracks, such as:


sound effects

inserting captions and titles

inserting pre-programmed animation effects.

Software may include:

Final Cut Pro

Pinnacle Studio

Adobe Premiere

Corel Video Studio Pro.

Formats may include:

audio, including:



video, including:




still images, including:




Documentation material may include:

notated dance sequences

music notation

video clips

raw footage

still images of, for example:







written commentaries

copies of program notes




Performing arts - dance literacy

Employability Skills

This unit contains employability skills.

Licensing Information

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.