Dance Studio Owner

5 Recital theme ideas and inspirations

Dance recital themes

It’s the New Year and time to get re-inspired! Start the year off right with a creative theme for your studio’s annual recital. Adding a theme to your recital will foster a sense of community within your studio and cohesiveness within the show itself. Dance Informa has brainstormed a list of five ideas to inspire you and help get your creative juices flowing.

Pick a destination. Whether it’s New York, Paris, Las Vegas, London, Tokyo or Hollywood, cities are truly meccas for inspiration. Each location has unique art, food, fashion, language, music and culture. Pick a city to inspire your students and your studio. Or have your recital take audiences on a trip all over the world. This is a great way to celebrate the diversity of your dance curriculum and of your students at the studio.

Roll out the red carpet. Treat your recital like an awards show! Go Tony-themed with Broadway musical routines to some of today’s hit shows like Hamilton and Holiday Inn or upcoming productions like Hello, Dolly! and Anastasia. Dance is so diverse on Broadway right now. You’ve got Latin, hip hop, ballet, tap and even circus arts. Broadway is a great theme that gives you a lot of flexibility in choosing pieces to fit every genre and class at your studio. Other awards show ideas are the Oscars, the VMAs and the Grammys. An awards show theme can also inspire great publicity, set design and after-party celebration. Roll out the red carpet, have your dancers pose in front of a step-and-repeat, and give out mini trophies to your teaching staff or graduating seniors.

Get trendy. Instagram hashtags are trending…literally. Bring popular hashtag themes from the computer screen to the stage. Throw in a hip hop number to Justin Timberlake for #ManCrushMonday, a Fosse-inspired musical theatre number for #ThrowBackThursday, an award-winning competition routine for #goals, or a provocative contemporary piece for #nofilter. Encourage your students to get involved in sharing promo videos and posters on their social media accounts. And create your own creative hashtag for your recital so that audiences, dancers and parents can save and share their photos and memories all together.

Go iconic. Still having trouble getting inspired? Look to the “greats” — legends, divas and icons who continue to offer us inspiration. Pick songs from first-name famers like Madonna, Elvis, Adele, Prince or Beyoncé. Other celebrities can inspire your choreography, too. Create a pin-up girl jazz number à la Marilyn Monroe, a suave but athletic musical theatre number like those of Gene Kelly, or a sweet Shirley Temple tap routine for your youngest dancers. Pick icons from different decades so that people of all ages in the audience will feel a personal connection to the dances on stage.

Think historical. The history of dance, that is! Give your students and audiences a rundown of dance history through the evening’s performances. Have your running order recount the beginnings of Jack Cole Jazz, the evolution of hip hop or the ballet classics. This theme can be a great way to educate your students about the history behind their favorite dance styles and trends. At Dance Informa, we truly believe that informed dancers bring more to their dancing than just technique and musicality — passion for and understanding of their craft as a true art form.

By Mary Callahan of Dance Informa.

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