This article draws attention to the skilful use of language in the context of contemporary dance practice, specifically in teaching and creation work. It considers three example projects from dance to discuss how a practical dance vocabulary might emerge from certain conditions. These projects include: the expert teaching practice of an independent dance artist, as documented in a book/ DVD publication; a collaborative dance-science enquiry into choreographic creativity, from which an accessible toolkit for schools was developed; and the linguistics-informed research of a dance company focussing on the development of a glossary of terms used to share their process. This essay differentiates between language-in-use and language-in-print to explore how practical knowledge in dance might be documented for the purpose of communication to others. The potential of video annotation for this purpose is speculated about, and research from anthropologists studying skill learning in other practices offers a backdrop for discussing the challenges of articulating and valuing practical knowledge.