Body expression


The body language represents the language of our entire body . Thanks to this, the individual expresses his feelings, his emotions, his personality through his way of acting, his gestures, his postures and the expressions of his face. In the field of the arts, body expression is a fundamental tool for dancers, actors, mimes and artists in general who often use it to represent and communicate their emotions, feelings and ideas.


What is body language?

It is a discipline that allows communication and the expression of emotions through body language . Body expression encompasses a set of behaviors and gestures, conscious or unconscious, that allow us to translate a certain number of emotional or psychic situations. Through this art, the body can manifest all kinds of actions such as turning, stretching, bending or jumping ; combining them according to varied dynamics.

  • Characteristics of body expression
  • History
  • Elements
  • Types of body expression
  • goals
  • Benefits of body expression
  • Importance
  • Examples of body language activities

Characteristics of body expression

  • The corporal expression uses the emotions, the senses, the movement .
  • It allows the expression of an emotion and gives it a meaning through the movement performed.
  • The senses are exploited . For example, the intention of the gaze and the way in which sound is perceived influence movements.
  • The movement of the body is not only part of a physical activity . It is about the manifestation of the body from different perspectives: psychomotor, socio-affective and cognitive .


The notion of corporal expression appeared at the end of the 60s , a time in which the body is not considered as more than a simple “envelope” , thus being perceived as a vector of emotion and creativity . Likewise, at this time, the discourse on the liberation of the body was developed and currents emerged that privileged its expressiveness . This vision is opposed to the sports perception of the body.


This is how body expression was located between gymnastics and dance and it is a practice that refers to both sexes.


  • Movement: this element considers aspects of spatial and temporal order and the intensity with which the movement is carried out.
  • Gestures: These are movements that express emotional states and have a significant charge. In addition, they are regulators of interaction.
  • Facial expression: Like gestures, facial expression has an emotional charge. The look and the smile are determining factors that regulate communication.
  • Body posture: It is the position adopted naturally according to the situation in which the person is. A certain posture can convey a certain emotion. For example, the backward stance can signify distrust or insecurity.

Types of body expression

5 types of corporal expression can be mentioned according to Ekman and Friesen (1969)

  • Emblems: are the gestures used that replace verbal language. They generally have a particular meaning and are consciously expressed. Any part of the body can be involved when expressing emblems. For example, a nod to say yes or no.
  • Illustrations: are the gestures that accompany verbal language.
  • Regulatory gestures: these are the gestures that favor communication and interaction with others. An example of these would be reaching out to wave or make eye contact.
  • Adapting gestures: are those gestures through which we manipulate or touch a part of our body. These can be used in order to disguise the true mood. For example, scratching is an adaptive gesture.
  • Gestures as displays of affection: they are associated with emotional states but unlike adaptive gestures, they are important for socializing since through these, feelings are communicated to others.


  • Favor communication processes.
  • Stimulate and develop imagination and creativity.
  • Work and coordinate the internal rhythm and the proposed rhythm of an external source.
  • Develop perception, observation and listening.
  • Develop spontaneity and an uninhibited attitude.
  • Improve communication from non-verbal language.
  • Encourage personal growth at the inner level and a reflective attitude, allowing the expression of the intrinsic “I” of the individual.
  • Externalize emotions through the body.
  • Stimulate personal knowledge and interpersonal communication .
  • Encourage acceptance and appreciation of body image.

Benefits of body expression

Body expression has multiple benefits, among which the development of different strategies to eliminate stress stands out . Likewise, this discipline favors self-esteem and prevents the appearance of disorders related to body image such as anorexia and bulimia.

On the other hand, body expression contributes to improving the strength and flexibility of the body .

Likewise, body expression is a valuable tool that contributes to the development of communication through the expressive resources of the body and movement . In this way, the individual has greater facility and increases his capacity for the understanding of other gestural and corporal codes different from the verbal language.

Body expression stimulates self-confidence and extraversion and can thus promote the loss of shyness .


In general , great importance is attached to verbal communication , leaving non-verbal communication aside, that is, leaving aside all kinds of bodily expressions. However, body language is of great importance both in private life and professionally .

Indeed, body language is essential in the development of effective communication and, therefore, in the development of more positive social relationships. When we master body language, we can act more consciously and more focused on our goals. We can also better empathize with the people around us. A person who handles a gesture that does not generate any misunderstanding can more quickly win the trust and sympathy of his interlocutor.

Examples of body language activities

  • The dance, the dance, the choreography.
  • Synchronized swimming
  • The pantomime
  • The theater, the dramatic play.

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