What Is Theatre?
What we call theatre can take many forms — everything from a Shakespearean drama staged before an audience of thousands to a group improvisation in an elementary school classroom. All forms of theatre, however, include three essential elements: an actor, a story with a conflict, and an audience.

Theatre Terms

  • Acting: the process of creating roles and characters in dramatic context
  • Audience: one or more persons who observe actors in a scene or play
  • Conflict: when the desires of two or more characters are opposed to each other
  • Costume: an actor’s stage clothing
  • Dialogue: words spoken by the characters in a play to communicate their thoughts, feelings, and actions
  • Elements of drama: plot, character, theme, dialogue, music, and spectacle, according to Aristotle
  • Plot: the structure of the action of a play
  • Script: the written dialogue, description, and directions provided by the playwright
  • Setting: the time and place in which the dramatic action occurs
  • Theatre: the imitation or representation of life, performed for other people; the performance of dramatic literature

What Is Music?
Music is organized sound created to communicate an idea, feeling, or process.

Music Terms

  • Articulation: how individual notes are attacked
  • Design: the arrangement of musical parts; the form of the music
  • Duration: music in time; the length of the sounds
  • Dynamics: loudness and softness in music
  • Expressive qualities: variables within performance parameters
  • Melody: a planned succession of pitches; the tune
  • Music: organized sound
  • Pitch: the high and low qualities of music
  • Rhythm: the patterns of sounds in relation to the steady beat
  • Steady beat: the regular pulse of the music
  • Tempo: the speed of the music
  • Timbre: tone color; the distinctive quality of a given instrument, voice, or sound source
  • Tonality: the combination of pitches as they function together

What Is Dance?
All dance — whether it is about a story, a culture, a specific style, a feeling, or movement for movement’s sake — involves a body in motion. All styles of dance communicate using the basic elements of time, space, and shape.

Dance Terms

  • Chant: singing or speaking that repeats itself
  • Choreographer: person who creates the dance
  • Choreography: the dance movements
  • Cue: a signal
  • Freeze: stopping all movement
  • Shape: using the body to create lines
  • Space: the locations occupied by the body; for example, low, middle, and high levels or negative and positive space
  • Time: the cadence or meter that determines the motion, which can be slow, medium, or fast
  • Transition: the passage among ideas, places, thoughts, and stages

What Is Visual Art?
Definitions of visual art vary depending on cultural context and personal viewpoints. As students develop a personal understanding of art, it is important that they support their opinions with evidence.

The fourth lesson in Program 1 models an approach to art called aesthetics. As the Learner Teams and students created definitions of art, they were, in essence, engaging in philosophical inquiry.

Visual Art Terms

  • Art: the conscious production or arrangement of sounds, colors, forms, movements, or other elements in a manner that affects the sense of beauty
  • Composition: design manipulation — balance, repetition, movement, unity, and center of interest
  • Craftsmanship: quality of design and technique
  • Elements of art: components artists often manipulate — line, color, shape/form, value, texture, and space
  • Intent: the mood, message, or meaning desired by the artist
  • Performance art: a form of theatrical art in which thematically related works in a variety of media are presented simultaneously or successively to an audience
  • Technique: materials and working methods used by artists