Develop expertise in contemporary dance technique

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to add range and depth to contemporary dance technique. At this level, dancers are constantly refining their technique and expression to produce performances that convey the mood and style of music through complex dance movements.


This unit applies to those who are consolidating their career in contexts where contemporary dance skills are required. They could be developing technique to prepare for performances in commercial or competition settings where they would usually be performing as members of an ensemble, though some solo work could be expected.

While supervision and guidance are provided in practice sessions and rehearsals, dancers are expected to display a high level of motivation and sense of responsibility for themselves and others when it comes to applying dance technique in a live performance context.


Not applicable.

Elements and Performance Criteria

1. Maintain a physical conditioning program

1.1. In consultation with relevant personnel identify a range of techniques to improve stamina, strength and flexibility

1.2. Set realistic physical conditioning goals aimed at improving own dance technique

1.3. Identify risk factors that may inhibit the achievement of goals and seek professional advice as required

1.4. Take fatigue, personal limitations and boundaries into account when undertaking physical conditioning program

1.5. Always perform warm-up and cool-down activities in conjunction with dance activities

1.6. Ensure that clothing and footwear are appropriate for undertaking exercise regime and practising dance technique

2. Use practice sessions to increase level of expertise in contemporary dance techniques

2.1. Practise a range of exercises in preparation for contemporary dance performances

2.2. Practise techniques to produce clean, sharp isocentric and polycentric isolations

2.3. Work on conveying a range of human emotions through dance

2.4. Explore techniques to give performances a range of dynamics

2.5. Inject creativity, versatility, individuality and enthusiasm into the performance of exercises and dance routines

2.6. Ensure that flow and interaction with other dancers are smooth and well-timed

3. Maintain expertise

3.1. Continuously practise and refine combinations of complex movements and routines

3.2. Maintain and update knowledge of contemporary dance terminology

3.3. Use feedback from teachers and mentors to identify and develop ways to improve own contemporary dance performance skills

3.4. Regularly view performances by industry practitioners as a way of sourcing new ideas and trends, maintaining motivation, and improving own technique

Required Skills

Required skills

communication skills to:

discuss dance and physical conditioning issues with relevant personnel

respond appropriately to feedback on own skill development

initiative and enterprise skills to:

work creatively with music and dance

dance with style and strong stage presence

communicate the mood or style of dances to audiences

choreograph short contemporary routines

use props confidently and effectively

learning skills to:

develop strong contemporary dance techniques through:

practising complex movements and routines

a positive attitude to dancing

develop and implement a personal physical conditioning program

develop a movement memory

planning and organising skills to plan practice time

self-management skills to:

arrive punctually at classes

dress appropriately

observe dance discipline and follow direction

apply safe dance practices

teamwork skills to work collaboratively with others involved in dance classes.

Required knowledge

well-developed knowledge of:

principles underlying dance movements and techniques, such as:

relationship with gravity

spatial awareness

successional movement

use of breath




shifting weight

anatomical foundations, including:

articulation of the spine

engagement of the feet

bases of support, including feet, legs, hands, arms and torso

range of motion of the joints

differentiation of the legs and pelvis

importance of healthy food choices in relation to wellbeing and injury prevention, including five food groups and recommended daily amounts

contemporary dance terminology

stage geography and directions

musical rhythms, including:

time signatures




overview knowledge of:

main periods in the history of contemporary dance

ways of notating contemporary dance.

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:

consistently execute well-developed contemporary dance technique

execute solo and group dance sequences that demonstrate a creative response to music

respond appropriately to constructive feedback on own skills development

follow safe dance practices.

Context of and specific resources for assessment

Assessment must ensure access to appropriate dance performance areas or spaces.

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

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 performing contemporary dance

evaluation of live or recorded performances

direct observation of candidate in rehearsals and performances.

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:

CUADAN402A Improvise an advanced dance sequence

CUADAN407A Develop expertise in dance performance skills

CUAPRF404A Refine movement skills for performance.

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:




medical practitioners

nutrition experts


family members


representatives of dance societies.

Risk factors may relate to:

consistency of a physical fitness regime

own ambition

expectations of others

injury-prevention strategies

gender issues

body image and eating disorders

insufficient hydration

poor nutrition

incorrectly fitting footwear

gender-appropriate performance techniques.

Warm-up and cool-down activities may include:


joint-mobility exercises

flexibility exercises

aerobic activities

anaerobic exercises

coordinated breathing activities

floor work.

Exercisesmay relate to:

techniques, such as:




using arm lines appropriately and extensively

correct posture, weight placement and alignment

demonstrating an awareness of personal and general space when travelling and stationary

working in a cohesive partnership with a peer, interpreting a dance style

changing sides (left to right)

changing directions

changing facings

responding to different time signatures

using shape when moving in physically dynamic sequences


floor work




interpreting rhythm to movement

lifting techniques

isocentric and polycentric isolations

energy placement techniques, including:

moving energy from the centre of the body to the outer extremities

shifting weight

moving from a standing position to the floor and vice versa

executing leaps

landing from jumps

strengthening flexibility, including:

floor work



développés and contractions





Emotionsmay include:












Performing arts - dance

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.