Guidelines for Written Critique of a Dance Performance
(adopted from Prof. Linda Roberts, MSU and Prof Vera Maletic, OSU)
The paper should be typed, double spaced, at least 3 full pages in length. Papers should include a cover page
which includes your name, your class and the name and date of the concert you attended. This should NOT appear
on your first page as the paper needs to be 3 FULL pages. Please use Times New Roman, 12 point font. Please
attach the ticket stud and program (or a copy of it) to your report. Organization, presentation and writing
mechanics will impact the final grade of the paper. If you need help with grammar, spelling, etc. PLEASE visit the
Academic Support Center. It would be helpful to look over this paper BEFORE attending the performance and
taking notes while the performance is still fresh in your mind. Your paper should include...
I. INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH: Mention the name of the company, its artistic director as well as any
pertinent notes about the company. If the concert has multiple choreographers, is there a theme (i.e. women over
40) or is it random artists? This paragraph should reflect your impression of the entire concert.
In your following paragraphs select one or two dances to discuss in detail. Use the guidelines below to help you
formulate your analysis for the dance discussed. For a full-length ballet or a full evening’s work discuss the work
as a whole; however, highlight specific sections or specific dances within the production. Comparisons can be
made to other dances presented in the concert. Suggestion: research the company/choreographer (web sites,
program notes, reviews, books, etc.)
II. PERFORMANCE CREDITS: List the title of the ballet or dance, the choreographer, the date of premiere (if
given), the composer of the music/accompaniment, the name of the company or principle dancers and other
III. DESCRIPTION: Here is where you get to describe the movement. How does the choreography utilize the
basic elements of dance (space – spatial aspects as well as staging, shape/design, time, energy/dynamics). What
are the movement qualities (smooth, sharp, lyrical, weighty) and dance style (modern, ballet, tap, jazz or a mix)?
How do the dancer’s interact with each other and the environment? What type of accompaniment (if any) was
used? What were the costumes, lighting, props, set or special effects? Are these elements an integral part of the
dance? Do they enhance or detract form the choreography? Cite specific examples to support your statements.
Remember to describe the movement so the reader can visualize it.
IV. ANALYZE: Here is where you explain why the dance works or suggest how it might be improved. Does the
dance have a logical development? (Note how the piece begins, ends, and is developed internally.) Is there a
sense of unity? Is there a particular structure such ABA, theme and variation, suite, rondo, fugue, etc. or a linear,
narrative, or drama...