Definition

As the notion suggests, a dance essay is a written review that discusses and attempts to provide a detailed assessment of a dance. However, you might ask, “What should I write in this essay?” Since dance is usually supported by a piece of music or is a part of a concert or stage performance, the review should evaluate not only the general aesthetics, style, and mood of the dance itself but also critique the space, context, and music, as well as body plasticity and techniques

Purpose

Preparing a dance essay is a common task for students that can help them develop their writing and creative skills. Professors either offer a specific dance performance for the review or allow students to choose one. On the one hand, your goal is to evaluate the performance; on the other hand, your evaluation should be interesting and engaging to make people actually visit the performance. Therefore, you will have to spend some time and effort on the preparation. First of all, much will depend on the type of dance under analysis. For example, discussing classical ballets is a rather easy task since such pieces are widely known to the general public. Therefore, people can easily understand what you are talking about even with limited background information. Nevertheless, preparing a fascinating review of contemporary dance will take you more. If you want to know how to write an exceptional modern dance essay, you can use the valuable tips that we have prepared for you.

The First Stage: Preparation and Watching

Obviously, the first task is to choose the performance and see it. You can either visit a concert, a street performance, or watch a record on TV or the Internet. Before the dance performance, you should gather some background information in order to be able to understand what you are going to see. You should read about the history of the performance, as well as gather information about the dance and dancers. Preferably, you should take a piece of paper with you to make some notes while watching. Now, equipped with the knowledge and full of passion, you can proceed to the next stage.

The Second Stage: Questions and Answers

When you have seen the performance, it is high time to prepare the skeleton for your dance essay. To leave no detail to chance, you can simply use the list of questions to be answered.

  • Who are your readers? How can you engage them?
  • What is your general impression of the dance? Did you like the performance? Was it fascinating? Was it boring?
  • What did you like the most? Was anything uninteresting or annoying?
  • Did the performance or dance communicate any message or idea?
  • What was the choreographer’s plan/intention? Did dancers manage to implement it?
  • Were you surprised or shocked during the performance? Why? Recall the exact reason or moment.
  • Did the dance have a plot? Did you understand it?
  • Did the dance have any historical background?
  • Recall the genre and form of the piece.
  • What supportive elements impressed you? For example, scenery background music, costumes, or light.
  • Was it folk or folk-related dance? If yes, note details: culture, ethnic group, country, period, etc.
  • Did the dance have an accompaniment? Was it appropriate? According to you, why did the choreographer choose that specific piece of music?
  • Did you like the performance of the dancers? Did they move synchronously? Did they carry a tune?
  • Who was the best dancer? Why do you think so?
  • What mood and energy did dancers have?
  • Whom can you recommend the dance performance?

The Third Stage: Writing a Dance Essay

Now, you are on the final lap. At this stage, you simply have to synthesize all the information and impressions in a mesmerizing piece of writing

Introduction. First, you should get your audience acquainted with the dance performance. Therefore, provide some background information, including but not limited to the name and style of the dance, the choreographer and dancers, the location where it was given, and the medium used for watching (either in-person or TV/Internet, for example). If you have information about the history of the dance, provide it in this part of your essay.

Atmosphere. Second, provide a brief but concise depiction of the atmosphere of the dance. Give an example of what interested you the most. Finally, describe costumes, scenery, accompaniment, and light of the performance.

Interpretation of the Dance. Here, you should focus on the socio-cultural context of the dance and the story it tells. Try to guess and interpret what the choreographer or director wanted to tell you through this dance or what they wanted you to see or feel. Next, think about the realization and assume whether the right artistic were used or not. Define the basic elements of the dance and their role in the performance.

Evaluation of Dancers. Here, you should analyze the physical fit, skills, and charm of dancers. List the leading performers, as well as the names of their characters if applicable. Recall a few fascinating elements of their performance and describe them.

Your Personal Impression. Here, you should describe in detail your feelings during the dance performance and after it, the so-called after-taste. Remember about your audience and choose only the moments that impressed you the most and might be interesting to your readers. Here, you can also provide some critique and name not only successes but also weaknesses or problems you noticed in the performance.

Conclusion. In this paragraph, you should summarize your impressions about the dance and recommend it to the specific type of viewers.

Editing and Proofreading. At this stage, you should not only correct grammar mistakes but also eliminate any biased or aggressive ideas. Finally, check the flow and ensure all your claims are well-supported with evidence.

Congratulations! You have just finished your dance essay!

Rules to Remember

  • It is not a performance report! Please, do not retell everything that happened on stage since no one wants to read a boring narration. Rather focus on elements of the dance that made you think and feel.
  • Do not try to seize the unseizable! If you watched a play or ballet, you should better choose one piece to describe in your essay in detail rather than writing about the entire performance in general.
  • Be creative and write with passion!

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