Recitals: Theme and Variation

By on July 8, 2014

TV_RecitalThemes_MAINDance recitals are the culmination of months of hard work and practice for both the you dance teacher and your students. It is an opportunity to show the audience what you and your dancers have been working so hard on and you want it to be enjoyable, entertaining, and successful.

One way dance teachers do this is by selecting a theme for their recital. But how do you begin to choose? It is difficult to find a recital theme that is creative, unique, and most importantly fits your studio and dancers. Here are two helpful tips to help you find your next recital theme.

1) Decide who is dancing.

The amount of dancers you choose to participate in your theme is vital. If you choose to have a small portion of your studio performing a theme (competition groups, performance troupes, etc) it can be detailed and specific. This is a great place to present a story (Superheroes vs Villains, a Fairy tale, or current events like world peace, conservation, or equality). If you opt to have the entire studio participate in a theme, broader subjects (A Night on Broadway, Dancing Through the Eras, Icons of Music) usually work better.

2) Choose your theme.

Sometimes it helps to take a big idea and then narrow it down. For example, say you decide on “Weather” as your theme. You could choose songs about all types of weather (“Raindrops on Roses”, “Here Comes the Sun”, “Do You Want to Build a Snowman”, “Blown’ in the Wind”). Or you can focus on one type of weather, like “Sunshine” (“You are My Sunshine”, “The Sun will Come out Tomorrow,” “Ain’t No Sunshine”). The “Sunshine” theme can be narrowed down even more to songs about vacation, songs about the beach, a summer road trip, and so on.

Or vice versa, start specific then expand. If you have a particular song you want to use, find themes that stem from that one song. If you want to use “All that Jazz”, some themes could be Musical Melodies, Dance Genres, the 1920′s era, or Fosse.

Here is a small list of my favorite dance recital themes:

  • A Day at the Park
  • Animals/Under the Sea
  • Around the World
  • Broadway
  • Dance through the Eras
  • Disney
  • Candyland
  • Celebrities
  • Circus
  • Colors
  • Cops and Robbers
  • Fashion/Style
  • Food
  • Growing Up/Coming of Age
  • Hollywood Night
  • Money
  • Oscar night
  • Outer space
  • Seasons
  • Sports
  • Travel/Transportation

Once you decide upon a recital theme, choosing music and costumes becomes much easier. You will be able to plan ahead for decorations, backdrops, stage props, program layouts and so much more. The audience will be impressed with such a unified and cohesive performance and your students will shine!

I hope this information sparks some creativity and guides you in choosing themes for your next recital. What other themes have you used to help make your studio’s performance stand out?

Until next time, teach, inspire, and grow!

About Lana

Lana Brooks is a mother of two and certified in the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum. She is currently a ballet instructor at Southland Ballet Academy with over 10 years of professional performing experience and 10 years of teaching experience. Ms. Brooks' students have been finalists and semi-finalists in Youth American Grand Prix, LA Music Center Spotlight Awards, and the Orange County Performing Arts Center "Stars of Tomorrow" competitions and some have gone on to dance in ballet companies nationwide. She has received extensive training from the Orange County Performing Arts Center "From the Center" program for community and student outreach and has helped develop assembly programs that bring dance and arts education to Southern California schools.

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