detailed written description over a video

Learning Goal: I’m working on a dance question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.

Contemporary Ballet


by George Balanchine

Moon Over Jupiter

by Dwight Rhoden


by Christopher Wheeldon


by Maurice Béjart


  • Watch all four videos and select one out of the four to complete the assignment. After viewing the complete video performances, include detailed written descriptions, observations and reactions for each production category to support your analysis. MAKE SURE YOU INCLUDE EACH PRODUCTION CATEGORY IN YOUR WRITTEN DESCRIPTION
  • Read chapter five(571399501) and identify the notable contemporary ballet characteristics that were included in the performance. Provide examples of the characteristics as part of the summary in the conclusion section of your written assignment.
  • The critique assignment should reflect your honest observations and opinions and will vary depending on your aesthetic experience viewing dance productions.
  • Avoid unsupported statements such as “I liked the dance” or “I disliked the costumes”. Always include detailed examples to support your descriptions, observations and reactions and provide video time-marks to document your examples.
  • Do not use any published online materials such as reviews, critiques, biographies, quotes or content created by another individual as part of your assignment submission. Each critique should be written in your own words based on your individual observations and honest reactions to the performance.

George Balanchine

George Balanchine was an American ballet choreographer who was one of the most influential 20th-century choreographers. Styled as the father of American ballet, he co-founded the New York City Ballet and remained its Artistic Director for more than 35 years. Born in St. Petersburg, Balanchine took the standards and technique from his time at the Imperial Ballet School and fused it with other schools of movement that he had adopted during his tenure on Broadway and in Hollywood, creating his signature “neoclassical style”. He was a choreographer known for his musicality; he expressed music with dance and worked extensively with leading composers of his time like Igor Stravinsky. Balanchine was invited to America in 1933 by a young arts patron named Lincoln Kirstein, and together they founded the School of American Ballet. Along with Kirstein, Balanchine also co-founded the New York City Ballet (NYCB).

Click to view video: Apollo Ballet

Dwight Rhoden

Dwight Rhoden is an American choreographer and artistic director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet who began dancing at the age of 17 while studying acting. He has performed with the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Les Ballet Jazz de Montréal and was a principal dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. He has appeared in numerous television specials, documentaries and commercials throughout the United States, Canada and Europe and has been a featured performer on many PBS Great Performances specials.

Click to view video: Moon Over Jupiter

Christopher Wheeldon

Thanks to his innovative pas de deux, skillful use of space and lush musicality, Christopher Wheeldon has become one of the ballet world’s most in-demand choreographers. Born in Somerset, England, Wheeldon trained at The Royal Ballet School before joining The Royal Ballet in 1991. He soon moved to NYC to dance with New York City Ballet, but eventually realized that choreography was his passion, and became NYCB’s first resident choreographer in 2000. Seven years and 16 ballets later, Wheeldon founded his own company, Morphoses, for which he choreographed six more ballets. He left Morphoses in 2010, and his already busy freelance career picked up even more speed. Last spring, he choreographed the hugely popular Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for The Royal Ballet and The National Ballet of Canada. Today, you can see Wheeldon’s dances performed by nearly every major ballet company in the U.S.

Click to view video: Us


Maurice Béjart

Maurice Béjart was a French-born dancer, choreographer and opera director who ran the Bejart Ballet Lausanne in Switzerland. He developed a popular expressionistic form of modern ballet. One of Béjart’s masterpiece works of dance was choreography he set to French composer Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero.” In The New York Times, Jennifer Dunning described Béjart’s “Bolero” as “probably his best known and most popular dance.” Created in 1960, the dance features a dancer on a tabletop, surrounded by seated men, who slowly participate in the dance, culminating in a climactic union of the dancers atop the table.

Click to view video: Bolero

Video Information:

Each of the four ballets represents different styles of contemporary ballet choreography. Many current choreographers continue to create new ballets that are inspired by innovative modern dance artists and by non-traditional music and themes. The fusion of different dance genres along with the use of unconventional costumes and variety of footwear can create works that may be challenging for audiences to identify as a ballet.

  1. Apollo Choreography by George Balanchine
  1. Moon Over Jupiter Choreography by Dwight Rhoden
  1. Us Choreography by Christopher Wheeldon
  1. Bolero Choreography by Maurice Béjart

Video: (List Title)

Production Categories:


  • Choreography:


  • Quality of Dancers Performance:


  • Music:


  • Set/Props:


  • Costume:


  • Lighting:


  • Story Line & Character Analysis:


  • Conclusion:


Title: After The Rain

Production Categories


  • State the full name of the choreographer.
  • Describe the choreography and include detailed observations and reactions to the performance.
  • Provide specific time-mark examples to support the descriptions, observations and reactions.


Choreography: The choreography by Christopher Wheeldon appeared to be very simple, which was exquisitely executed by the two dancers in the piece. However, after viewing the entire dance the choreography was filled with complex partnering and phrasing, musicality, emotion and beautiful images. I absolutely loved the subtle differences in the work, such as the varied arm positions, unusual transitions and intimate connection shared between the dancers (time: 1:40-3:00). These small differences, combined with individual choreography for both dancers highlight the few unison moments in the piece, making them much more impactful (time: 4:00-4:30). The beautiful motifs were carefully placed throughout the piece; the concepts of swaying used in the beginning, middle, and end were truly breathtaking. The intimate weight sharing and body contact (time: 6:10-6:35) demonstrated how much trust the dancers had in each other was a highlight of the performance.

Quality of Dancers Performance:

  • State the name of the dancers or the character’s names. (If available)
  • Describe your reactions to the dancer or group of dancer’s performance and include rationale why they stood out.
  • Provide specific time-mark examples to support descriptions, observations and reactions.


Quality of Dancers Performance: The two dancers in this performance Victoria Jaiani and Temur Suluashvili from the Joffrey Ballet were clearly technically skilled and have years of performance-based experience. The dancers ability to display emotion and meaning within the choreography showcased their depth and range as artists (time 6:55-7:25). Their partnering skills along with the amazing lifts they were able to execute (time: 7:30-7:45) helped to make the remarkable duet a very memorable dance between two accomplished performers.


  • State the title of the music and name of the composer. (If available)
  • Describe the music and include detailed observations and reactions and provide specific time-marked examples to support your descriptions.
  • Were you familiar with the style of the music or the composer?
  • Did the music support either the storyline or choreographic idea?


Music: Like many other aspects of this work, the music is incredibly beautiful, yet simple. Spiegel im Spiegel by Arvo Pärt has always been one of my personal favorite pieces of music, based on the amount of emotional impact it can create. The music crescendos and establishes a sense of calmness and serenity and along with the overall simplicity highlighted the dancers performance and supported the theme of the choreography (time 4:00-5:00).


  • State the name of the set designer. (If available)
  • Describe the background sets/handheld props (If available) and include detailed observations and reactions.
  • Did the sets/props support the storyline or choreographic idea?
  • Provide specific time-marked examples to support descriptions, observations and reactions.


Set/Props: The stage floor was clear, however there was a drape of fabric located in the upstage corner and several overhead abstract objects suspended over the stage throughout the performance. Although there was no person credited as the set designer, and I was unclear of the exact purpose the set pieces, they did help to create an ethereal atmosphere and appeared to support the floating dream-like quality of the dance (time 00-1:00).


  • State the name of the costume designer. (If available)
  • Describe the costumes and include detailed observations and reactions.
  • Did the costumes support the storyline or choreographic idea?
  • Provide specific time-marked examples to support descriptions, observations and reactions.


Costumes: The costume worn by Victoria Jaiani was a nude color leotard while Temur Suluashvili wore fitted light-colored pants with no shirt. The minimal costuming originally designed by Holly Hynes allowed the audience to focus on the dancers and their movement and the intense physical contact between them (time 6:55-7:45). The costumes simplistic design reinforced the intent of Mr. Wheeldon’s choreography and highlighted how the couple relied on each other to establish their strong connection throughout the dance.


  • State the name of the lighting designer. (If available)
  • Describe notable lighting design or effects.
  • Did the lighting support the storyline or choreographic idea?
  • Provide specific time-marked examples to support descriptions, observations and reactions.


Lighting: There were only two noticeable variations in the lighting design originally created by Mark Stanley throughout the dance, but they are very impactful. The two dancers were illuminated during the entire dance with a blue overhead and background lighting. At the very end of the piece (time 8:00-end), all other lights on the stage began to dim except for a small shaft of light focused on the dancers. I love how the lighting added a sense of finality to the piece and created a feeling of intimacy between the two dancers, which clearly supported the overall choreographic idea.

Storyline & Character Analysis:

  • Describe the storyline or choreographic idea of the performance.
  • Were the dancers successful in their portrayal of the characters?
  • Did you understand the storyline or choreographic idea?
  • Provide specific time-marked examples to support descriptions, observations and reactions. (Reminder that some performances may be abstract and not include an obvious theme)


Story Line & Character Analysis: The dance was an intimate portrayal of a relationship shared between two people and was relatable to the audience. The consistent physical contact, partnering, and delicate yet powerful movement performed by the dancers supported the theme of the choreography (time 7:30-8:35). Although there were some dance movements that were unfamiliar, I was able to understand the overall idea of Mr. Wheeldon’s concept for the dance.


  • What was your overall impression of the performance?
  • Which of the production categories support your opinions and final analysis and provide specific examples.
  • What notable physical characteristics of the performance align with the stated characteristics discussed in the corresponding chapter. (Classical ballet, contemporary modern/dance theater, folk/ritual, musical theater, and social/ballroom dance.
  • Did the performance meet your expectation and would you want to see similar productions?
  • Compare and contrast with other performances included within the assignment (if applicable).
  • Avoid re-stating the summary of the storyline of the performance and focus on your honest critique of the production elements.


Conclusion: After the Rain was truly one of the most beautiful dances I have ever seen and I would enjoy seeing more of Mr. Wheeldon’s work. The technical precision and emotional range displayed by the dancers were truly breathtaking. The music created by Arvo Pärt was incredible and along with the costumes and lighting helped to illustrate the essence of Mr. Wheeldon’s choreography. Notable contemporary ballet characteristics discussed in chapter five such as the use of minimal sets, non-traditional ballet movement, and abstract storyline were included throughout the performance. Overall the dance exceeded my expectations and is a sharp contrast to Dwight Rhoden’s Moon Over Jupiter, which was performed by a large ensemble and was punctuated by very quick and aggressive yet stimulating choreography.

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