Students will submit a review comparing and contrasting dance sequences from two ballet companies doing the same repertoire (e.g. Giselle or Swan Lake) on film, in terms of their cinematic technique, dance style, choreography, and/or context within the storyline. The student may also wish to comment on the dance sequences effectiveness in terms of character or plot development.

Since many of you have probably not written a dance paper before, below I have set out the format in which this paper should be approached. NOTE: EVEN THOUGH A DANCE REVIEW REFLECTS YOUR POINT OF VIEW THE WRITER SHOULD NEVER USE THE WORD “I” OR ANY PHRASE THAT IS SELF –REFLECTIVE ( e.g. “in my opinion” or “to me”). THE READER ASSUMES THAT ANY OPINION GIVEN IS THAT OF THE WRITER.



This final paper should include the following paragraphs:


1.     Your thesis: In the first introductory paragraph you will talk about what area of ballet you are going to be focusing on in your paper. Ideas for your thesis can include (but are not limited to), the development of classical dance over time, the difference in dance styles from one company/choreographer to the other, development of the storyline by using dance as a storytelling device, the performance ability of the dancers, etc. These are just some ideas but you are welcome to come up with other areas of inquiry.


2.     A synopsis of the two films: In this paragraph (or two) you will give a brief overview of the storyline of each of the ballet. Make sure to give the reader the names of the main characters so you can use them later in your paper as you describe a certain scene.


3.     What you want to say to back up your thesis: Decide on one small element seen in both films but also derived from your thesis above (e.g. the amount of floorwork in the choreography, the way the set or environment is used, costuming, groupings of dancers etc.). Tell us in the first sentence what the element is that you are going to talk about. Then give the reader an example from each of the films either showing the similarity or differences in the way the two companies use that element.


4.     This paragraph should have a different element than #3 but gives examples also of similarity or difference how it is used between the two examples.


5.     Tell us your overall opinion: In this paragraph you can sum up your overall impression of the two films. You can state which one is more appealing and why. Go to town! Write your opinion but try to relate your reasoning back to the examples you show us in paragraph 3 & 4 and remember you don’t need to include the words “I think…”. Whenever you write a paper we know this is what your opinion is because YOU wrote it. That’s what makes the pen so powerful!


Approved Films


Bolshoi Ballet

Australian Ballet


National Ballet of Canada


Swan Lake:

The Kirov Ballet


Maryinsky Ballet

Royal Danish Ballet