3rd Term: Dance & orienteering

Dance & orienteering in format pdf


Dance & Orienteering


Every sport that we learn and practice in Physical Education requires us to use our bodies. The medium of Dance is no different. In dance, we express thoughts, feelings, and ideas through physical movement.

Dance is very physical, like most sports, but it is also an art form. Let´s look at how Dance compares with other arts:


Products of these mediums occupy a physical space. They are visible and do not change over time (except through age and damage)


Products of these mediums occupy a period of time; they are temporary. They exist only when they are performed/consumed. These products change form during that period of time.

Painting (the art of form and colour)

Literature (the art of words)

Sculpture (the art of volume)

Music (the art of sounds)

Architecture (the art of space)

Dance (the art of body movement)

Photography (the art of light)

Film (the art of moving images)

1.1 – Choreography

Dance can be choreographed or improvised:

  • Choreography is the pre-planning and rehearsal of specific movements and timings, usually in relation to music.

  • Improvisation is spontaneous movement, though is usually still performed in relation to music.

  • Often a dance routine will combine elements of both choreography and improvisation.

In this section, we will focus on choreography.

The term choreography, as defined above, originated in the world of Dance, but has since been applied to a wider range of sports and arts. So, we could talk about the choreography of a gymnastic routine, of a figure skating performance…or even of a fight scene in an action movie!

A choreographed routine must have a beginning and an end, but there are few other rules. The choice of movements is free. Creativity, imagination, sense of rhythm, appropriate ´taste´ are all important characteristics of a good choreographer.

However, the best choreographers remember to leave room for some improvisation in a routine, so the performers can individually express themselves.

1.2 – Elements of Choreography

1.2a) The Body

First, we should think about what we will do with our body.

To create, rehearse, and perform a choreographed dance, dancers must be fully aware of their own bodies. Think about things like breathing control; balance and gravity; the exact position of body parts; muscle flexibility…

The better we know our own bodies – our limitations and our abilities – the better we will be at dance choreography.

Here are some ideas for dance movements you may want to try:

  • Displacement: stepping, running, striding, skipping

  • Jumps: jumps from standing, twist-jumps, galloping

  • Turns: longitudinal turns, transverse turns, sagittal turns; one foot turns, two foot turns

  • Throws and catches

  • Balancing: different balances centring on different support points

1.2b) The Space

Secondly, we should think about space. Different types of space include: the performance space (the stage or dancefloor); the space between yourself and other dancers; and the space between yourself and other objects.

To use the space, consider:

  • Directions: front, back, right, left, up, down…and anything in between!

  • Trajectories: straight, curved, perpindicular, parallel

  • Dimensions: narrow vs wide movements, small vs large movements

  • Relationships: proximity between dancers, formations

1.2c) The Music

Music is a very important resource for dance choreography. It provides atmosphere and pacing to dance movements.

The different elements of music can be summarised as:

  • rhythm

  • melody

  • harmony


Rhythm is intrinsic to life. Everything in nature follows a rhythm: the movement of the stars, the tides, the seasons, animal life cycles, the heartbeat…

Humans place rhythm at the centre of music and dance. Musical rhythm is a way of organizing sound and silence; it is how we vary the order and progression of sounds in time.

In all forms of regular and continuous music, rhythm is measured by beats. The rhythmic pattern of beats is called the meter.


A melody is a sequence of sounds of different pitches. Musical composers use melody to express ideas, moods or atmospheres. When we hear a song and recognize it, it is usually the melody which allows us to do so. (In conversational English, we often say ´tune´ instead of ´melody´.)


A harmony is a set of simultaneous notes which supports and accompanies the melody.

1.3 – How to choreograph

At first, you should only create basic choreography with simple movements, few participants, and short duration. We should use familiar music with a very clear and simple beat.

1.3a) The Choice of Movements

The first thing to do is to determine the main movements that will be included in the choreography. Afterwards, we should create ´links´ (transitions) between these main movements.

1.3b) Sketching

After we´ve thought of some movements and links to use, we should draw them on paper. Once drawn, we should test and rehearse the routine. This should be done without music initially, so we can focus our attention on memorizing and refining the routine. Once we´re confident enough to perform the routine without music, we can then add the music.

1.3c) The Choice of Music

You can use all kinds of music, from folk dances to the latest pop songs. For our first attempts at choreography, we should use music with a clear and simple beat. This will make it much easier to create and rehearse movement routines.

Also pay attention to the structure of the musical piece: for example, binary (AB, AABB), ternary (ABA; AABABA), reexpositiva (AABA), rondo (ABACADA). Our choreography should reflect this structure; for instance, a song that repeats the same melody multiple times may encourage us to repeat the same dance moves multiple times.


Orienteering is a map-reading sport. It is practiced in natural outdoor settings. Competitors have to seek multiple marked ´checkpoints´ on a map, in the shortest possible time. Competitors are only allowed to use the map and a compass.

The checkpoints are physical flags or ´targets´. When a competitor reaches a checkpoint, they must record this.

Orienteering requires no real minimum level of physical fitness. Age is unimportant. Of course, a slim person in their early 20s may perform faster than an obese person in their 60s, but for both individuals it is possible to complete an orienteering circuit.

To reflect differences in fitness and age, orienteering races are organized into different categories. This keeps each race competitive. For very young orienteers, for example, there may be 2km circuits with very obvious checkpoints. A circuit designed for fit people in their 20s may be much longer, with more obscure checkpoints.

Orienteering is one of many outdoor ´adventure sports´ that are becoming more popular. By learning how to orienteer, you´ll learn how to read a map. This will enable you to try many more of the fun and exciting adventure sports that are practiced today.

2.1 – Race equipment

The Map

The race organizer gives the map to each competitor at the start of the race. Red circles indicate where the checkpoints are. An equilateral triangle marks where the starting point is. (see section 2.4, below)

The Compass

The compass is a magnet responding to the Earth´s magnetic poles. It will always point magnetic north (which is different from geographic north). Participants must bring their own compass, preferably one with a flat and transparent base.

Checkpoint Description Sheet

Competitors are also given a sheet describing information about the location of checkpoints. (see section 2.5, below)

The Record Card

Each competitor is given a ´record card´, which records their progress through the circuit. To finish the race, a competitor must have fully completed their record card. Record cards can be either paper or electronic.

The Checkpoint

Each checkpoint is signified by a triangular white-and-orange flag. They are hung from posts or trees.

The Clip or Electronic Device

Next to each checkpoint is a small clip or electronic device. The small clip is the more old-fashioned option; we use it to mark paper record cards. We use electronic devices with electronic record cards.


At each checkpoint, there are numerous clues which hint where the checkpoint is located. In beginners´ races, these clues are more detailed, and often describe symbols using text.

2.2 – Orienteering disciplines

The most classical orienteering races are on-foot, in mountainous regions. However, they can also take place in urban parks. Most orienteering races happen during the daylight, but can be scheduled for the nighttime, which adds to the challenge and ´atmosphere´.

Some orienteering races require participants to ski, or mountain-bike. More rarely, there are horse-riding and wheelchair variants.

2.3 – The Environment

Orienteering is a sport practised in natural locations. This means we must be very careful and respectful. Everything should be left as we found it: gates should be closed behind us; fences should not be broken; crops must not be destroyed…

2.4a – The Map (colours)

Orienteers use detailed topographic map. They often have a scale of 1:50,000 or 1:25,000. In particularly complex terrain, orienteers might use an even more detailed map, with a scale of 1:15,000 or 1:10,000.

In topographic maps, different colours represent different types of areas. In general, the more intense the colour, the more difficult an area is to traverse. So, forest areas are white, while areas with thick, impenetrable vegetation are dark green.

In more detail:

  • White: Forest, generally good penetrability

  • Green: Forest and thick vegetation, the darker the colour the harder this vegetation is to penetrate

  • Yellow: Treeless land, good visibility. Yellow areas could be wasteland, clearings, meadows…

  • -Thick yellow lattice over white: meadow with scattered trees, good penetrability

  • -Fine yellow lattice over white: open forest with scattered trees, good penetrability

  • -Thick diagonal lines over white: falling logs and branches zone

  • -Black spots over yellow: open sand, limited penetrability

  • -Green points over yellow: field with fruit trees

  • Brown: orographic formations (mountains)

  • Blue: water terrain: lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands

  • Black: roads, trails, houses, and other man-made structures, plus cut stones

2.4b – The Map (contours)

Orienteering maps have contours which indicate whether we must descend or climb. All points on a contour line have exactly the same height. The closer together different contour lines are, the steeper the terrain.

2.4c – The Map (direction)

The verb ´to orient´ (or ´to orientate´, in British English) means ´to position according to compass directions or other fixed points´. So, it´s no when we orient ourselves, we use both the map and the compass to discover where we are. If we don´t have a compass available, we should use physical reference points (e.g. hills, trees) instead.

2.5 – Checkpoint description sheet

The checkpoint description sheet given to competitors at the start of the race is a vital tool. It contains all of the information necessary to know the location of the checkpoints. However, it can be difficult to read for beginners, because it uses a special code of symbols.

2.6 – Competition Rules

The following is a translated extract from the Orienteering Federation´s official website, which details the rules for competitors. You can find them online here ( www.fcoc.info ).

  1. The first principle of Orienteering is honesty.

  2. Orienteering races are performed in silence. Communication between competitors, or the exchange of information, is strictly forbidden.

  3. Once the race has started, competitors may not receive help or ´tips´ from the race organizers (a.k.a. counsellors).

  4. Race organizers may not offer advice or ´tips´ to competitors.

  5. Competitors may not ´follow´ more advanced players.

  6. Competitors must respect other individuals, property, agricultural areas and natural areas.

  7. Competitors must respect, and not demean, all competitors from lower, higher, or equivalent categories.

  8. Race organizers have the right to inspect and verify the control card(s) of any and all competitors, at all times.

  9. Competitors must proceed through checkpoints in the correct order.

  10. If a competitor is found to have lost or vandalised his or her scorecard, they will be immediately disqualified.

  11. Observers and other non-participants are forbidden from entering the competition zone for the duration of the race.

  12. In the case of accident or injury, competitors are entitled to immediate medical attention.

  13. However, in participating in an orienteering competition, a competitor accepts the risk of injury.

  14. Any violation of this code of ethics is considered extremely seriously, and will be dealt with accordingly by the relevant authorities.