Unit of competency details

CUADAN608A - Extend contemporary dance performance skills to a professional level (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to CUADAN608 - Extend contemporary dance performance skills to a professional levelUpdated to meet Standards for Training Packages. 20/Nov/2013

Release Status:
ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 06/Oct/2011


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 100105 Dance  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 100105 Dance  12/Apr/2012 
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Modification History




This version first released with CUA11 Live Performance Training Package version 1.0

Unit Descriptor

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to perform complex contemporary dance technique demonstrating range, depth, precision and artistry across contemporary dance repertoire at a professional level.

Application of the Unit

This unit applies to dancers who are moving towards professional careers in contexts where complex contemporary dance technique and versatility are required for performing as members of a professional dance company as an ensemble or soloist dancer.

At this level, dancers are constantly refining their technique and perfecting their artistry across complex dance sequences and repertoire, including improvisation, solo and group work.

While some 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 during practice sessions, rehearsals and live performances.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

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


Not applicable.

Employability Skills Information

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content


Performance Criteria 

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria

1. Execute a professional level of artistry and presentation in rehearsals

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

1.2. Apply a professional level of concentration, facility and expertise to refine extended contemporary dance technique  in each section of class work 

1.3. Develop complex performance attributes  and quality of movement in sequences of extended difficulty 

1.4. Show strength, precision and complexity in all aspects of footwork 

1.5. Exhibit a professional level of physical learning and adaptability  to incorporate unseen combinations with speed and verve 

1.6. Refine techniques  for working with a partner

1.7. Demonstrate through ongoing technical strength, diversity and refinement, evidence of advanced self-correction and concentrated response to feedback

2. Perform at a professional level

2.1. Undertake preparations  appropriate to performance contexts 

2.2. Ensure that personal presentation  is appropriate to performance contexts

2.3. Apply performance psychology techniques  to preparations

2.4. Perform repertoire demonstrating an understanding of nuances and characteristics of choreographic styles

2.5. Convey, through dance, the range of human emotions  required to execute the dance pieces as intended

2.6. Inject performances with a sense of light and shade in line with choreographic intent

2.7. Follow direction from artistic director or choreographers as required

2.8. Contribute to debriefing sessions to evaluate the quality of performances and to discuss ways of improving individual or ensemble technique

3. Incorporate allied contemporary dance techniques into professional level performances

3.1. Demonstrate complex performance attributes  and quality of movement in sequences based on improvisation, in complex duo sequences and in high velocity acrobatic moves.  

3.2. Sense when partner needs to leave a balance, or needs to be steadied, and be there to offer support in duo and dance tumbling

3.3. Adapt to a range of choreographic moments by engaging with differences and similarities of shape and dynamic quality.

3.4. Apply the flexibility, sense of line and clear positions essential to the form

3.5. Engage with the style and intention of the relevant choreographic form through the application of skills and knowledge of allied contemporary dance techniques

4. Develop professional practice

4.1. Develop and refine professional work ethic 

4.2. Develop realistic parameters as a basis for extending scope of performance practice 

4.3. Identify regimes and artistic strategies  that will refine own performance technique

Required Skills and Knowledge

This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • communication skills to:
  • work collaboratively as part of an ensemble
  • respond appropriately to feedback on own skill development and performance
  • consult with peers and mentors, including interpersonal skills relating to listening, questioning, gaining feedback and giving information
  • initiative and enterprise skills to:
  • work creatively with music and dance
  • adapt appropriately to cultural differences in dance
  • dance with artistry and assurance
  • communicate mood, style and grace through dance
  • develop increased range and sequencing of individually-unique improvised movements
  • learning skills to:
  • develop strong contemporary dance techniques through:
  • practising complex movements and sequences
  • a positive attitude to dancing
  • implement a personal physical conditioning program
  • extend improvisational responses to a wide range of stimuli for performance and choreographic development
  • planning and organising skills to plan practice time
  • self-management skills to:
  • arrive punctually at classes, rehearsals and performances
  • dress appropriately
  • observe dance discipline and follow direction
  • apply safe dance practices and identify risk factors
  • demonstrate professional work ethic
  • show a consistent level of commitment
  • maintain spatial discretion between self and others when moving
  • teamwork skills to work collaboratively with others involved in dance classes and performances
  • technical dance skills to:
  • execute high level of competency in each section of class work
  • respond to different time signatures
  • execute counterbalance, support, manipulation mechanics and medium power lifting
  • demonstrate facility in grip leverage, thrust and counter-thrust and coordinated timing
  • perform high level isolation and energy placement techniques
  • retain and reproduce complex movement sequences
  • show alignment and extensions in combinations of a high level of difficulty
  • execute balances, turns and jumps on and off centre in a wide variety of shapes
  • perform multiple turns in a variety of body shapes
  • show facility and speed in directional changes
  • develop a high level of spatial awareness in group movements, including floor patterns and aerial pathways
  • exhibit a high level and range of coordination of limbs, torso and head
  • observe and interpret the physical body.

Required knowledge 

  • choreographic and stylistic nuance in relation to contemporary dance
  • genres, styles and philosophical nature of contemporary dance
  • influential choreographers in contemporary dance
  • relationship between acting and contemporary dance
  • correct contemporary dance terminology
  • roles or hierarchy in professional situations, such as:
  • auditions
  • rehearsals
  • performances
  • principles underlying dance movements and techniques, such as:
  • movement efficiency
  • relationship with gravity
  • spatial awareness
  • successional movement
  • use of breath
  • folding
  • extending
  • rotating
  • shifting weight
  • anatomical and alignment principles, including:
  • skeletal structure
  • 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
  • risk factors in dance for the physical body
  • stage geography and directions
  • musical rhythms, including:
  • time signatures
  • beat
  • tempo
  • syncopation.

Evidence Guide

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:

  • execute physical and conceptual understanding of the fundamental technical principles in contemporary dance
  • perform contemporary dance sequences before an audience in ways that demonstrate:
  • expressive skills in line with choreographic intent
  • an ability to respond to complex changes in tempo, time signatures and musical phrasing
  • a high level of dance improvisational skills
  • facility and speed in directional changes
  • a high level of spatial awareness in group movements
  • harmony of movement when performing with a partner
  • develop professional practice
  • display a consistent level of commitment to developing performance quality and artistry in the given style.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment must ensure access to:

  • fully equipped dance studios
  • live performance opportunities
  • appropriate music or accompanists.

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
  • video recordings of performances in which the candidate is dancing
  • 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 extending contemporary dance technique to a professional level
  • direct observation of candidate in 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:

  • CUADAN601A Perform dance repertoire at a professional level
  • CUADAN607A Extend contemporary dance technique to a professional level
  • CUADAN610A Extend allied contemporary dance techniques at a professional level
  • CUADAN611A Perform virtuoso contemporary dance technique
  • CUAIND601A Work professionally in the creative arts industry
  • CUAOHS602A Develop techniques for maintaining resilience in a competitive environment.

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.

Warm-up and cool-down  may include:

  • stretching
  • joint-mobility exercises
  • flexibility exercises
  • aerobic activities
  • anaerobic exercises
  • coordinated breathing activities
  • floor work.

Contemporary dance technique  may include:

  • Cunningham
  • Graham
  • release technique
  • upper and lower body poses, phrases and movements
  • correct breathing techniques
  • balanced positions, including:
  • elevation of steps
  • body positions
  • transitions while in motion and while stationary
  • standing work and travel combinations
  • jump work
  • variations in timing and styles of movement
  • expressing a range of emotions through the language of dance
  • centre control
  • spotting employment of strength and agility
  • employing visualisation techniques
  • employing strength and agility
  • demonstrating an awareness of personal and general space when travelling and stationary
  • using arm lines appropriately and extensively
  • multi-turning exercises
  • clean, sharp isocentric and polycentric isolations
  • correct posture and alignment when in motion
  • demonstrating safe dance practices in jumping and faster travelling steps
  • footwork, arm lines and head movements in combination to express rhythm
  • performing complex turns while maintaining good technique
  • moving against gravity with confidence and knowledge.

Sections of class work  include:

  • warm up
  • floor work
  • centre practice
  • turns
  • travelling sequences
  • sequences with altered spatial organisations, combining all aspects of embodiment and temporal structures
  • jumps
  • cool down.

Performance attributes  may include:

  • musicality with attention to nuances of interpretation
  • movement dynamics
  • strong sense of individuality and 'presence' in the execution of sequences
  • sensibility in sequences of increasing difficulty
  • alternative musical time signatures and phrasing as the structural basis of the exercises
  • different expressive qualities applied to movement sequences
  • reliance on individual interpretation
  • inclusion of repertoire in class work.

Footwork  may include:

  • precision in completing multiple turns
  • sequences that demonstrate a well-developed capacity to transfer weight in all pathway directions
  • enchaînements with style and confidence.

Physical learning and adaptability  may include:

  • set exercises or sequences
  • unseen exercises or sequences
  • improvised sequences
  • sequences from a range of contemporary dance styles
  • execution of extended sequences to right and left sides without prompting
  • self-correction.

Techniques  may include:

  • weight exchanges
  • falls, rolls and balances with or away from partners
  • set sequences
  • improvised weight exchanges
  • timing.

Preparations  may include:

  • familiarisation with performance environment, including:
  • space
  • location
  • size
  • audience
  • preparation of space to ensure safety of self and others
  • mental preparation
  • immediate physical preparation
  • rehearsal appropriate to audience
  • awareness of time lines leading up to and immediately before performance
  • props
  • costumes or clothing
  • make-up
  • equipment
  • appropriate footwear
  • scores
  • sheet music
  • tapes
  • competitions and auditions:
  • rules
  • judging criteria, including:
  • general appearance
  • costumes
  • technique
  • execution
  • showmanship
  • entertainment value (the ‘x’ factor)
  • level of difficulty
  • originality and creativity
  • choreography
  • synchronisation
  • versatility.

Performance contexts  may include:

  • professional production
  • solo
  • ensemble
  • corps de ballet
  • audition
  • competition.

Personal presentation  may include:

  • costumes
  • accessories
  • make-up
  • hair
  • posture
  • way of moving.

Performance psychology techniques  may include:

  • visualisations
  • affirmations
  • relaxation techniques
  • mental rehearsal
  • maintaining a work-life balance.

Emotions  may include:

  • love
  • loneliness
  • depression
  • excitement
  • diffidence
  • anger
  • sadness
  • fear
  • aggression
  • joy
  • compassion.

Performance attributes  may include:

  • strength, flexibility, coordination and cardiovascular endurance
  • detailed musicality with attention to nuances of interpretation
  • movement qualities to movement sequences
  • strong sense of individuality and 'presence' in the execution of sequences
  • sensibility in sequences of increasing difficulty
  • alternative and structurally changing musical time signatures and phrasing for extended sequences
  • different expressive qualities applied to movement sequences
  • extensive and changing expressive qualities applied to movement sequences
  • assured artistic interpretations of sequences and variations.

Professional work ethic  may refer to:

  • attentive behaviour in creative practice
  • awareness of:
  • substance abuse
  • addictive behaviours
  • expectations of others
  • eating disorders
  • effective management of personal finances
  • balanced diet
  • energy levels and personal limitations
  • stage and theatre etiquette
  • developing strategies to:
  • cope with performance anxiety
  • maintain motivation
  • effective personal hygiene habits, such as:
  • clean and short nails
  • clean and tied-up hair
  • clean hands
  • ongoing dedication to a physical conditioning exercise program
  • maintaining concentration, focus and physical alertness in all performance activities
  • maintaining costumes and other apparel
  • maintaining a work-life balance
  • punctuality and reliability
  • working creatively with individual differences.

Extending scope of performance practice  may include:

  • working effectively with tutor or coach
  • participating in professional development and other learning opportunities
  • undertaking training courses
  • practising systemically
  • participating in relevant groups or associations
  • experimenting with own performance
  • communicating with peers
  • being involved in a range of relevant performance activities
  • viewing and reviewing relevant performance events and activities.

Regimes and artistic strategies  may include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • conferences
  • symposiums
  • master classes
  • professional organisations
  • practical workshops
  • performance rehearsals
  • individual training.

Unit Sector(s)

Performing arts - dance

Custom Content Section

Not applicable.