It’s that time of year again folks!  We have to start all over again!  New everything!

It’s the time of year that many of us have to select a recital or showcase theme to wrap everything around.  Over the years we have gone through lots of show ideas and many that we just did with generic titles like; Dancin’, of Everybody Dance Now.

Here are a few recital and ballet ideas that I have done over the years or that I have flat out stolen from my friends.

 HATS OFF TO DANCE: Every dance has a hat!  I think I first hear this theme from Larrainne Susa and it was one of my very favorite.  Oder extras of the hats and collect them after the show!  I have used the hats over and over and over again for other projects and shows!

 YOUR AUTOGRAPH PLEASE: Every dance is about a famous person!  Famous singers, famous people from history and celebrities of all kinds.  Heard this one from James Dance Center in Kissimmee, Florida.  We put a couple huge signs in the lobby for people to autograph and left plenty of space at the end of the program for students to autograph for each other.

DANCIN’ ACROSS THE USA: Songs about the States (North/South/East/West too) Deep in the Heart of Texas, Route 66…this one’s easy!

 YOU BETTER WORK: Dances based on occupations!  Don’t leave out the Dance Teacher!

 FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD: Songs about food with the program as a menu!  My friend Scott Sisbarro did this and used a more updated title: YOU GOT SERVED

 YOU GOT SCHOOLED (or SCHOOL DAYS):  Songs relating to school activities.  Band, Sports and hundreds of classes!  For the ballets we used foreign languages and foreign studies like German (the polka), French (mimes), Spanish……you get it!  Did a modern piece based on a Geometry lesson and another based on Harry Potter’s Hogwarths.

 DON’T BUG ME, I’M DANCIN’:  Everyone was a bug of some kind!  Chinese beatles, lady bugs, Jimmeny Cricket, butterflies……it’s easier than you think because a lot of bugs come from specific countries.  Don’t leave out the Flight of the Bumble Bees and exterminators!

 DANCING COUNTS! :  Songs with numbers!  You get extra credit if they appear in numerical order!

 A WALK THROUGH THE PARK:  Ideas based on a visit to a theme park!  We did ours on Disney the year before we went to dance in the park, but every theme park has millions of ideas running through it, including the shows in the park.

 TUNE IN:  Dances based on TV shows with Commercials inserted.  The program looks like a TV Guide.   Loved this one!

CHILDREN OF THE WORLD:  Dances from around the world.

 NEW YORK, NEW YORK:  Dances from Broadway Shows…there are thousands!

YOUR TICKET PLEASE:  Dances to themes from movies both old and new!

 CALENDAR DAYS :  Holidays and seasons highlighted. Back to School,sports seasons and Famous birthdays are included.  Vivaldi’s Four Seasons are great for the upper level ballet or modern classes.

COME FLY WITH ME:  Destinations you can fly to!

 HISTORY REPEATING: Anniversary show bringing back favorites from the past

 WATERS OF THE WORLD:  Dances based on bodies of waters, rivers and underwater worlds.

 COLOR MY WORLD (or TRUE COLORS):  Every color in the rainbow/crayon box can be danced about!

 LET’S GO TO THE CIRCUS: Always a fun theme, fresh popcorn being popped in the lobby always sets the scene. We did this one three times over the years.

DANCIN’ THROUGH THE DECADES: Popular theme!  Everyone has to do this once.  Dances are arranged to bring the audience through the decades beginning with the 1910’s through to the latest dance craze.

DANCIN THROUGH THE ZOO:  All about animals, including the carousel, the snack barre, the dolphin show and the butterfly gardens.

 FANTASIES AND FAIRYTALES:  Pixies, Fairies, Trolls and good old Mother Goose!

We’ve also done full Ballets, sometimes with the entire studio and         sometimes with just the Ballet and Preschool Departments


NUTCRACKER (OF COURSE!)  Just remember, it doesn’t have to be a perfect professional rendition!  Baby snowflakes, baby dolls as gifts, little baby mice, little children at the Christmas party, Extra little candies and other dances can be added to the story line to include everyone.  Russians can be hip hop or acrobatic dancers.

Soldiers can be tappers.  or, use the Nutcracker story line and wrap it around a different holiday like the Fourth of July.  There are no NUTCRACKER police!!!!

COPPELIA  Again, stretch the story to include everyone.  Start with the basic plot and build out from there.




 THE ELEPHANT’S CHILD, a wonderful story by Rudyard Kipling

A TASTE OF OZ based on the story of Dorothy!  That one changed me for the good!

CINDERELLA  The teacher can always play the wicked Queen!


Remember, don’t feel bad if you stretch the theme!  That’s what good dance teachers do!   If you need more details on any of these, just ask!

If you have some……leave them here for others….especially your favorites!

here’s another one from Holly Costa!  Thanks Holly!

Holly Costa Love these ideas! Don’t forget: “From the Pages of a Book”: use all types of books, authors – this works great for all ages/levels! We even constructed a huge “book” that would open and the dancers would “dance right off the pages”!
Susan Edson:

We did “Our Town” and used many of the establishments in the community. Even the surrounding communities. Even used the “Welcome to” signs of the towns in the opening.


  1. Hi…we are always coming up ideas for something different…it is always a challenge but very fun. Our recital always has a story of some type to it..this year the title was…Galactic Journey. It started on the planet Zenon where everyone was always sad, the head martian, Zorka, was on her Space Pad and heard the song Happy on Space Book ! She played it for the little martians and they all started dancing and it made them happy…soooooo Zorka was on a mission to find Happy and bring it back to Zenon! ( we made a flying saucer out of foam board and hung it with fishing line from the battons. When Zorka pretended to get into it and then crawl out so no one saw her, we raised the saucer. I have the script for this…I always write them) She lands in Disney and little dancers all have related dances. She finds Happy from Snow White, and wants to bring him back…then travels to Las Vegas and finds a lady that says she is Happy when coming out of happy hour…(This is where all of the bigger kids dance, along with a trip to the Carribian where she finds someone dressed as Pharell singing Happy and drags him off and brings him back to Zenon and all the little martians are Happy forever….( The little skits in between are quick and gives everyone a chance to do some acting and the kids and parents really love it) I hope this brings so ideas to the table and makes you think out of the box. We are creative people all of us and it is fun…..Now…what to do this year???

    Aurora Rose Dance Academy Dolly Spinelli Aurora, OH

  2. We did “Our Town” and used many of the establishments in the community. Even the surrounding communities. Even used the “Welcome to” signs of the towns in the opening.

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