The Three Factors of Movement: Time, Effort & Flow

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  • 0:03 Movement
  • 0:31 Effort
  • 1:29 Flow
  • 2:47 Time
  • 3:54 Lesson Sumary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Cara Randle

Cara has a Master's in Teacher Leadership as well as a Bachelor's in Elementary Education. She has taught on the Elementary and Pre-k level for 5 years.

Movement can be broken into three factors: effort, time, and flow. Each factor is important and is related to the others. Read on to learn about each factor and how they relate to movement as a whole.


Have you ever thought about what's involved in movement? It may be an odd thought, but it's actually very complicated and dynamic. Movement can be described as having effort, time, and flow. But what does this mean? Does it mean that you put in effort to move, that you use time to move, that you flow through your movements? Not really. Effort actually consists of both time and flow, which may not mean at all what you're thinking. Let's look at the true meaning of these three factors of movement.


Effort is the main factor of movement. Flow and time are both parts of effort. Effort is the all-encompassing factor. Effort combines quality, shade, passions, and inner attitudes that are communicated through movement. Effort can be described as both practical and sensitive. The practicality and sensitivity come through movements in the use of flow and time. Effort is used to understand movements on a deeper level. By looking at the effort, flow, and time, a person can understand the subtle dynamics of movement. It allows for a person to understand the inner emotions and intentions behind movements.

For example, when a door is closed the movement is intentional. Closing a door is generally calm and determined. A hand reaches for the knob, and the door is pulled to a closing position. However, you could slam the door in anger. This is a more sudden and harsh movement. The same body parts are used, and the same action is accomplished but in two completely different ways.


Flow as a factor is about emotion, stability, durability, evolution, and emotional immersion. Flow is the starting point of effort. It's in charge of the ongoing stability of all motions. Without any flow, movement would be contained to one area or space. It would be contained to only one motion. This makes flow very important to movement as a whole. Flow also allows for movement to show emotions. It's the expressive or repressive part of movement.

Flow is referred to as either free flow or bound flow. Free flow is more expressive and shows more emotion. Free flow is sometimes described as an uncontrollable movement. It's fluid and allows the inner emotions to come out. Bound flow allows for movement in a more controlled way. Bound flow is described as more firm and with boundaries. It's about keeping emotions in and contained.

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