Spice up your ballet recitals by selecting a theme to inspire song selection and costumes.

Ballet Recital Ideas for Teen Dancers

by Carly Seifert

Your teen ballerinas may love their art -- but the thought of another typical doll drum dance recital may seem juvenile to them. Invigorate their dancing and give them something to look forward to by adding a new musical element to their performance, picking a cohesive recital theme or teaching them to use their musical gifts to support a cause.

1. Dance for Charity

Teach your teenage ballerinas to give back by participating in a charity ballet recital. Select a charity the class would like to sponsor and use the charity to inspire a theme. A charity that supports AIDS research may lend itself to red costumes or a charity that helps support veterans' families may inspire certain patriotic songs and costumes. Collaborate with the dancers to create a program for the recital that educates the audience about the charity they are raising money for and check with families and dancers to see if anyone has items to donate for a raffle or silent auction, such as a couple hours of baby-sitting, which can be held at the theatre in conjunction with the recital.

2. A Celebration of Classical Music

Honor the important role of classical music in the evolution of ballet in a recital that celebrates classical music. Pick classical music that can be played by a small chamber music ensemble -- such as Beethoven's String Quartet No. 14 in C sharp minor -- and invite the musicians to perform their music onstage while the ballerinas perform alongside them. Keep the ballerinas' costumes simple and refrain from building any set pieces, allowing the emphasis to be on the music and choreography.

3. Dance Through the Decades

Showcase the relevancy of ballet by basing your dance recital on well-known musical hits from the 1950s through the present. Your teens will enjoy dancing to iconic songs such as "Unchained Melody," "My Girl," "Mandy," "Every Breath You Take" or "Breakaway." Dance costumes can be inspired by the song or the decade when the song was written and the recital may include a variety of solos and group numbers. Perform the dance numbers in the order of the decade when they were written.

4. Broadway Baby

The stylistic variety of Broadway show tunes lend themselves to an innovative ballet recital that will excite your teens. Perform a number from Andrew Lloyd Weber's "Phantom of the Opera," with the dancers wearing the mask of the phantom as part of their costumes. Create a set piece indicative of the renowned barricade piece from Les Miserables and have the ballerinas dance around it to "I Dreamed a Dream" or "Castle on a Cloud" from the Broadway show. Have two ballerinas perform a duet of "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" or "Beauty and the Beast" dressed as the Disney leads from the stage musicals.

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