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Key concepts in arts disciplines


Relationships and connection

Dance is a socio-cultural art form in which relationships and collaborations are naturally developed through co-constructive artistic practices.

Dance requires sensitivity to and awareness of the actions, ideas, and responses of others to cultural practices and to conventions of particular dance forms.

Invention and creation

Dance creation is a cycle of invention and reinvention.

Dance works are created and re-created through the process of manipulating a range of elements, devices, structures, and choreographic devices.

To dance is like "dreaming with your feet” (Constanze) where the learner is empowered to create movement based on feeling and on trial and error.

Embodiment and performance

Dance is self-expression through movement, which is felt in heart, body, and mind.

Performance is integral to dance as the means to communicate ideas, concepts, stories, and feelings.

Existing ideas are challenged and new ideas explored through the process of active reflection.


Relationships and connection

Drama is interaction, action, and reaction.

Learners work collaboratively with each other, with ideas, with text, with symbols and images, and with technologies, to tell stories, challenge ideas, create, and perform dramatic work.

Drama is founded on principles of trust and empathy.

Embodiment and performance

Drama utilises both personal and universal experiences to inform the creative process.

Drama expresses ideas, emotions, and stories through body and voice.

Dramatic meaning is communicated through the physical.

In drama, working in role is central to the notion of embodiment, achieved through research and committed portrayal of characters and their histories.

Reflection, challenge, and transformation

Drama reflects or holds a mirror up to our world.

Drama interprets the way in which others interact in past and present cultures.

Through the performance and experience of drama, we explore and challenge ideas and perceptions of the world, and of ourselves.

Music – sound arts

Imagination and connection

The creative processes of music – sound arts require the generation, refinement, and revision of musical and sound ideas through composing and performing, whether individually or collaboratively.

Visions of sound are constructed, co-constructed, and re-constructed, creating new sounds and combinations through the use of musical conventions and technologies.

Production and transformation

Through the alchemy of interpreting and transforming sound to symbol and symbol to sound, living worlds of sound are created and re-created.

Risk-taking and experimentation develop self-expression and personal identity.

As unique and powerful socio-cultural art forms, musical arts act as a catalyst to change people’s ideas and feelings, to add value to their lives, and to build communities.

Inquiry and perspective

Music of the past and present, whether traditional or revolutionary, analogue or digital, acoustic or amplified, and from diverse cultures and contexts, shapes our music of the present and future.

Music history and ethnomusicology investigate aesthetics, cultural practices, social and political perspectives, and the formal qualities, elements, and principles of music, music criticism, and music appreciation.

Visual arts

Creativity and connection

Creating is a process of engagement.

The visual arts are about giving form to ideas and expressions for the purpose of engaging and interacting with self and others.

The creative process explores and questions notions of identity and community.

Reflection and critique of visual cultures defines us and connect us to our worlds.

Inquiry and production

The process of inquiry is founded on the formation of a problem or question.

It is reliant on a responsive process of investigation, critique, evaluation, and synthesis within and through the production of work.

Challenge and invention

The visual arts aim to create contexts where students take risks with their ideas and concepts generated from their interaction with the worlds they live in.

They are premised on the notion that instability in terms of knowing or knowledge is a productive space for invention or the creation of the 'new'.

Transformation and empowerment

Creation is a process of transformation – change, conversion, alteration, metamorphis – realised through expression and production.

Transformation creates the conditions for empowerment of both individuals and (on a more collective basis) groups or communities.

Art history

Discourse and reflection

Art history explores how art mirrors and communicates the ideas, norms, and conventions and the traditions and customs of societies and cultures, whether of the Renaissance or the twenty-first century.

Theory and discourse, terminology, and visual language connect art history to the visual arts and visual culture.

Reaction and change

Art history inquires how artists change art through risk and collaboration.

In a cycle of dissonance, invention, and innovation, artists react to institutions, academies, and art movements and challenge them to embody their presence.

Aesthetics and beauty

Art history investigates and questions changing notions of taste and beauty, the canon of fine art, and the formal qualities, elements, and principles of art, art criticism, and art appreciation.

Pluralism and flux

Art history teachers might have the opportunity to diverge occasionally from the curriculum to broaden student horizons and experience.

Teachers model inquiry by introducing concepts of flux, change, transition and transformation, dissonance, and action and reaction in art.

Recent and contemporary art might echo threads from the past.

Change is a mechanism and flux is a condition of our era.

Last updated April 23, 2012