Depending on who you ask in the dance field, locomotion is usually defined as some combination of walk, run, leap, hop, jump, skip, gallop, etc. Ultimately, we’re talking about all the various methods of changing our location in space from one place to another. In the world of camera supports, once you leave behind the stationary tripod and begin to move in space with the camera you are locomoting!

In her book,
The Art of Making Dances, Doris Humphrey points out the communicative potential of simple directional movement. It’s true that once you bring the experience of moving into awareness we sense a difference, albeit subtle, in moving forward, backward, sideward, and even around in a curvilinear pathway. These movement theories translate directly into the use of camera movement through space. As Doris says, “The whole lesson to be learned here is that stage areas will support and enhance various conceptions, or they will negate them, and it is necessary for the choreographer to make conscious choices.“

Dancers can train for years to develop the ability to travel smoothly across the floor at one level, eliminating unintentional bouncing and oppositional rotation. Let’s take a look at a couple techniques that can simulate that refined action.


A dolly shot involves mounting a camera on a wheeled platform. Professionally manufactured dollies can lead to some pretty impressive results, but carts, wagons, and wheelchairs can also be pretty amazing! Remember, your dolly is only as smooth as the surface you are dollying on! Adding weights can sometimes help minimize bumps and jerky motion, although added weight isn’t always the best for padded Marley floors. If you think of the moving camera as the dancer, then a dolly shot is comparable to a center movement phrase that moves freely throughout the studio at a consistent level as it incorporates spatial pathways and corresponding changes of focus.

Dolly In an Arc (Twig Phrase and Duet Improvisation)

Dolly In (Bigger and Bigger Phrase)

Dolly In and Out Following Action (Undulation Phrase)


A tracking shot is executed from a moving dolly that follows the action of the dancer. These shots are often accomplished by placing the rolling tripod on a straight or curved track. The parallel direction that exists between the movement of the subject and camera suggests a sort of mirroring of motion, or a partnering between the dancer and the videographer.

Tracking Side (Traveling Side Phrase)

Tracking Diagonal (Traveling Side Phrase)

Tracking Documentation

Other specialized forms of axial movement and locomotion may be accomplished using cranes, zoom, focus, and hand-held techniques!