Artworks that exist on a flat surface, that have height and width, such as paintings and drawings.


Artworks that have depth as well as height and width, such as sculpture and installation.


Artworks that have depth, height, width and added temporal and spatial dimensions. For example, artworks that incorporate time, such as time-based installations, or artworks that incorporate performance on a moving image.


Specific artistic awareness, or a deep appreciation of the meaning of an artistic experience through intellectual, emotional and sensual response to a work of art.

In Dance, standards of appropriateness and competency relevant to the genre/style/time/place.

In Drama, involves subjective responses to non-verbal, affective and verbal devices which can be representative of genre/style/time/place.

In Media Arts, involves engagement with and increasing understanding of how images, sounds and texts can be used to provoke responses.

In Music, involves the subjective responses by which music is perceived and judged, which can be relevant to genre/style/time/place.

In Visual Arts, the philosophical theory or set of principles governing the idea of beauty at a given time and place.

art form

Specific shape or quality an artistic expression takes, such as dance, drama, media arts, music and visual artworks.


In Dance, the manner in which movement of the body is clearly coordinated and differentiated. For example, lifting the arm with the elbow initiating the movement.

In Drama, voice: to form clear, distinct and accurate sounds for dramatic purpose; movement: to isolate and move specific parts of the body for dramatic purpose.

In Music, the way a note is sung or played, such as short and detached (staccato), smooth (legato) or accented, which contributes to the overall style and interpretation.


Generic term for the maker of an artwork in each of the five arts subjects.


Generic term for a performance or an artwork in each of the five arts subjects. When referred to generically this curriculum uses the term ‘artwork’. Within each arts subject, the subject-specific terms are used. Artworks are also frequently described with reference to forms or styles.


The established mood or feeling conveyed in an artwork or performance.


Individuals or groups of people who experience the arts in a range of settings and contexts (formal, informal, virtual or interactive) through intellectual, emotional and social engagement. The artist is audience to their own artwork.

aural skills

Particular listening skills students develop to identify and discriminate between sounds in Music. Also referred to as ear training which involves focused listening activities through with students identify sounds such as rhythm, pitch and timbre.

body awareness

Focuses on the individual’s own body shapes, body bases, body parts, locomotor and non-locomotor movements.

body bases

Body parts that support the rest of the body. For example, when standing, the feet are the body base; when kneeling, the knees are the body base.

body language

Non-verbal communications through movement, gesture, facial expression, posture and proxemics (non-verbal communication).

body parts

Isolated parts or sections of the body; for example, arms, legs, head, torso, feet or hands.

body zones

Body areas of right side, left side, front, back, upper half and lower half.


Identification and portrayal of a person’s values, attitudes, intentions and actions as imagined relationships, situations and ideas in dramatic action.

choreographic devices

The tools a choreographer selects and uses to communicate ideas, including: abstraction, sequence, repetition, transition, contrast, variation and canon.

choreographic form

The arrangement of movement within the structure of a dance.


In Media Arts, codes can be further broken down into technical codes (such as camera angles, brush strokes, body movement) and symbolic codes (such as the language, dress, actions of characters, visual symbols).

In Visual Arts, accepted ways of arranging materials into familiar forms, such as print, painting, moving image or sculpture.


The placement or arrangement of elements or parts in artworks.


The arrangement and sequence of images and text to support the purpose of communicating ideas or stories from different points of view using framing, editing and layout.


Traditional or culturally accepted ways of doing things based on audience expectations. Each art form has hundreds of conventions built up over time and widely accepted by audiences.


An intellectual and physical activity where artists explore the materials and processes to produce unique objects for the purposes of: experimentation with form or function; exhibition; production; and personal or community need. Indigenous cultures draw no distinction between art and craft and, similarly, contemporary culture values the interplay between the art/craft, design/craft, the art/designer or the design/maker. The crafted and handmade sit alongside the manufactured design object as part of historical, national and cultural identities.

design elements

Include line, colour, shape, texture, space and form found in artworks, and incorporated in the design of performance spaces (including sets) for dance and drama.

design principles

Accepted conventions associated with organising design elements and can include unity, balance, hierarchy, scale, proportion, emphasis, similarity and contrast.

dramatic action

The driving force and forward motion of drama to create dramatic meaning, tension, belief and audience engagement. The movement of the drama from the introduction, exposition of ideas and conflict to a resolution.

dramatic meaning

A signified, intended purpose or effect interpreted from the communication of expressive dramatic action.


In Dance, refers to how movement is performed, and includes the weight, force, and/or energy that are applied to movement over time. For example, heavy to light weight, strong to gentle force, or fast to slow release of energy.

In Music, dynamics and expression refers to how the sound is performed, including sound qualities. For example, the relative volume and intensity of sound.

Space, time, dynamics and relationships.

When dance occurs (how long it takes), including metre, tempo, momentum, accent, duration, phrasing, rhythmic patterns, stillness and beat.

Role and character, relationships, situation, voice, movement, focus, tension, space, time, language, symbol, audience, mood and atmosphere.

The connections and interactions between people that affect the dramatic action.

elements of media arts

Composition, time, space, sound, movement and lighting. Also known as technical and symbolic elements.

elements of music

Rhythm, pitch, dynamics and expression, form and structure, timbre, and texture.

Including tempo and metre: the organisation of sound and silence using beat, rhythm and tempo (time).

expressive skills

In Dance, the use of facial expression to communicate in performance.

In Drama, the use of facial and vocal expression to communicate in performance.

In Music, the use of elements such as dynamics combined with technical skills to enhance performance.


Directing and intensifying attention and framing moments of dramatic action.


To concentrate the attention on a spatial direction or a point in space to intensify attention or increase the projection of intent. For example:

In Dance, to concentrate on the dancer’s line of sight or dramatic action.

In Drama, to direct and intensify attention and frame moments of dramatic action or to identify the main idea of the drama.

In Visual Arts, to draw the audience’s attention to a particular point in the artwork.


In each arts subject, form is the whole of an artwork created by the elements and the way they are structured:

In Dance, form is the shape or structure of a dance according to a preconceived plan. For example, AB, ABA, rondo, narrative, chance.

In Drama, form is the way drama is structured. Drama forms are shaped by the application of the elements of drama within particular social, cultural and historical contexts.

In Music, form is the sections within a piece of music, for example, binary form (AB) contains section A, then section B; ternary form (ABA) contains section A, section B, then return to section A; rondo form (ABACA) contains section A, section B, section C, then return to section A.

In Visual Arts, two-dimensional form (see 2D), three-dimensional form (see 3D) and four-dimensional form (see 4D).

found sound sources

Natural and manufactured objects including stones and household objects.

hybrid art form

The combination of more than one art form within an artwork.


Spontaneous, creative activity applying the elements of an art form:

In Dance, movement that is created spontaneously, either free-form or highly structured.

In Drama, a spontaneous enactment taking on roles and situations to create dramatic action and extend an idea; usually short and are structured into a complete little play.

In Music, spontaneously extending and varying music ideas in response to initial material or responses invented by other performers in an ensemble.


In Media Arts, organisations that enable and constrain media production and use.

key concepts of media arts

Media languages, media technologies, media institutions, media audiences and media representation.

The individuals or groups for whom media artworks are made and who respond as consumers, citizens and creative individuals. Audiences engage and interact based on expectation and experience.

The act of representing people, places and times, shared social values and beliefs through images, sounds and text, or a combination of these. The representations are a constructed reality.

kinaesthetic intelligence

Involves how well an individual perceives and controls their body in terms of physical activity and/or fine motor skills within the space of a dance.


Light, shade and colour for effect.

locomotor movement

Travelling movements, movement from one space to another such as walking, running, hopping, skipping, leaping or crawling.


Physical resources, equipment including technologies, and information used to make artworks. For example, paint, digital camera, pencil, drum and/or clarinet.


The material used in making an artwork.

mood and atmosphere

The feeling or tone of both the physical space and the dramatic action created by or emerging from the performance.


The way the eye discovers images or text; the suggestion of movement through sound.

movement vocabulary

The accumulation of movement, steps, gestures that make up a repertoire for physical expression of feelings or ideas.


Artworks that incorporate a broad range of media including graphics, text, digital media, audio or video.

non-locomotor movement

Movement of the body occurring above a stationary base, on the spot movements. Also called axial movement. For example, bending, stretching, twisting, shaking, bouncing, rising, sinking, pushing, pulling, or swinging and swaying.


Written symbols that represent and communicate sound. Notation can be invented, recognisable to a traditional style or culture, or digitally created.


In Dance, patterns created in the air or on the floor by the body or body parts as a dancer moves in and through space.

performance style

A type of dramatic expression communicated for a particular effect with distinguishing features and appearance.


In Music, the highness or lowness of a sound.


The relative highness or lowness of sound. Pitch occurs horizontally (as in a melody) and vertically (as in harmony).

The plan or design of a piece of music described by identifying what is the same and what is different and the ordering of ideas in the piece.

The particular tone, colour or quality that distinguishes a sound or combinations of sounds.


Creating a play through improvisation or devising.


The application of arts skills and knowledge to create, represent, communicate and respond in a specific art form.


Regularly revising, developing and consolidating skills, techniques and repertoire as a class or as an individual.

process drama

A method of teaching and learning drama where both the students and teacher are working in and out of role.


In Dance, the communication of meaning through extension and focus of the body

In Drama, the loudness of the voice of an actor, and how it is carried to the audience.

purposeful play

Is a context for learning through which children organise and make sense of their social worlds, as they engage actively with people, objects and representations (Early Years Learning Framework).


The expression or designation of a character, place, idea, image or information by some other term, character, symbol, diagram, image, sound or combination of visual and aural expression, based on shared social values and beliefs:

In Media Arts, one of the five key concepts.

A concept in visual arts.


In Dance, combination of long and short movements.

In Music, combinations of long and short sounds that convey a sense of movement subdivision of sound within a beat.

In Media Arts, a technique or effect achieved in editing.


Adopting identification and portrayal of a person’s values, attitudes, intentions and actions and portraying these as imagined relationships, situations and ideas in dramatic action.


To pretend to be someone else.

safe dance practices

Can be defined as the practice of selecting and executing safe movement. The focus is on providing dance activities and exercises which allow students to participate without risk of injury. All dance movement should be performed relevant to an individual’s body type and capabilities.


The dramatic action that occurs in a particular time and place; a section of a play.


A collection of notated representations of sound used to communicate musical information. Scores can use graphic, traditional, invented or stylistically specific symbols.


The linking together of series of ideas, much like words are linked together to form sentences and paragraphs:

In Dance, a choreographic device where movements are linked together to form a series of movements/phrases.

In Media Arts, a series of still and/or moving images with or without sound are intentionally put into an order.

In Music, a melodic, rhythmic or harmonic pattern. It can also describe the process or product of arranging blocks of music using ‘sequencing’ software.


Aural effects e.g. Loudness, softness, ambient noise or music.


The distance and relationship between objects, sounds or text or the depiction of place.

story principles

In Media Arts, selecting and organising the elements of structure, intent, characters, settings and points of view within the conventions of a genre, such as a Hollywood love story that follows a pattern of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl.


the influencing context of an artwork, such as Impressionist in Visual Arts; ballet or hip hop in Dance; Romanticism in Music; or postmodern, twenty-first century or contemporary, among many others.

technical skills

Combination of proficiencies in control, accuracy, alignment, strength, balance and coordination in an art form that develop with practice:

In Dance, proficiencies developed through the acquisition of appropriate strength, flexibility, coordination and endurance in the performance of body actions, locomotor and non-locomotor movements, and developed with practice to perform in specific dance styles.

In Music, proficiencies developed with practice in order to sing or play instruments.


In Dance, the acquisition and execution of dance skills within a given dance style or genre.

In Drama, techniques include ways of using voice and movement to create role and dramatic action; also techniques in lighting, sound, set building and painting, costume making, and make-up.

In Music, the capacity to control a voice or instrument in order to produce a desired sound.

In Visual Arts, the manner of making or skills used in making an artwork.


The tools and equipment that can be materials for making and responding. One of the five key concepts in Media Arts.


Sense of anticipation or conflict within characters or character relationships, or problems, surprise and mystery in stories and ideas to propel dramatic action and create audience engagement.

The physical space of the performance and audience, fictional space of the dramatic action and the emotional space between characters.


The particular tone, colour or quality that distinguishes sound or combinations of sounds.


The order, duration and depiction of ideas and events.


In Drama, tone of voice.

In Music, the particular characteristics of a sound.

In Visual Arts, the lightness or darkness of a colour (value).


A collection of perspectives, lenses or frames through which artworks can be explored and interpreted.

visual conventions

Combinations of components and approaches, such as combinations of elements, design principles, composition and style.

visual devices

Combinations of approaches or techniques in compositions and representations.

visual elements (design elements)

Include line, colour, shape, texture, space and form found in artworks, and incorporated in the design of performance spaces (including sets) for dance and drama.

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