Create Your Own Humphrey-Inspired Phrase

You’ve read the introduction and learned material from Humphrey’s choreography. Now it’s your turn to create a phrase inspired by Humphrey’s principles!

Guiding Principles:

  • Breath
  • Gravity
  • Fall and Recovery
  • Swing
  • Suspension

Using the guiding principles, create a short phrase of your own inspired by Humphrey’s movement theories. Here are some things to think about:

  • How does your breath aid your movement?
  • What actions and gestures feel natural in your body?
  • What is your relationship to gravity? When are you resisting gravity, and when are you giving in?
  • How can you use your entire body as a vessel for your emotions, rather than layering on specific performance faces?
  • Is your whole body experiencing fall and recovery as a unit, or are you choosing specific body parts to fall or recover?
  • What body parts are swinging?
  • Where are your moments of suspension?
  • What parts of your life are you drawing inspirations for your movement from?
  • How does your movement reflect your individuality?


Use music that was the norm for choreographing in the 1900’s for your phrase. Classical composers like Bach, Beethoven, and Schumman are great places to start from.

Interested in More?

Read Humphrey’s book The Art of Making Dances to dive deeper into her choreographic style. Most of Humphrey’s works can be found in video form online as well. Just search “Doris Humphrey choreography” and see which ones are your favorite!

Feel free to share these videos, embed them for your students, or link to this page. New online educational resources are being developed every day. If you have suggestions for what you’d like to see let us know:

Lauren began her training in Lowell, Massachusetts at Walker’s Dance. She was a scholarship recipient at the University of Hartford’s The Hartt School, graduating Summa Cum Laude with her BFA in Dance Performance. In her time at Hartt, Lauren furthered her training at the Jose Limon Dance Foundation, Martha Graham School, Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance, and Henny Jurrien Stichting (NL). Upon graduating she was offered a contract with Repertory Dance Theatre, where she has performed works by world-renowned choreographers such as Jose Limon, Elisa Monte, Donald McKayle, Danielle Agami, and Zvi Gotheiner. Lauren is a faculty member at Creative Arts Academy and teaches master classes at studios and University programs throughout the country. She has been a member of the company since 2014.

RDT appreciates the generous funding provided by the Utah Legislature and the Utah Board of Education that help make our Arts-in-Education Programs possible in Utah’s Public Schools.

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