• Reviews should include up to three pieces from a single program. 3-5 pages, doublespaced 12 pt font, written in the first person, past tense (“I saw,” “I watched, “I
experienced,” “I thought,” or “I was struck by…” etc.).
• Have a pen or pencil and a notebook to hand before you start watching.
• Before watching for the performance, review the program, familiarize yourself with
the names of the pieces, the choreographers, the dancers, the music and any key
information that the choreographer has provided.
• Turn off your cell phone, and/or let your housemates know that you are watching a
performance. Try to avoid pausing and/or interruptions as best you can.
• Think about how you are feeling as you wait for the show to begin. What are you
expecting to see? How might this be different if you were in a theatre.
• Make quick notes between pieces; make longer notes after the performance.
• Look up the artists’ or company’s website after the show
• For the opening paragraph of your review, explain the circumstances of the review.
Explain where, when and what. Set the scene. Talk about how you felt before the
• Write three (or more) paragraphs per piece. **In dance, individual works are called
• Paragraph A describes what you saw, the name of the piece and the key
collaborators (choreographer, composer, lighting designer and sets or costume
designer) and summarizes the piece in a few sentences.
• Paragraph B and C (and D/E) each focus on a single aspect of the piece such as the
choreography, performance by a particular dancer or in section of the piece, the
staging, the lighting, the energy, music, costumes or other aspects of the piece. If you
can’t identify a specific dancer by name then describe their role or costume so
others will be able to identify them.
• Repeat the formula for each piece in the program. Add additional paragraphs
• The last paragraph of the review sums up your overall impression of the program,
outlines positives and negatives, and answers the question “would I recommend this
show?” You may also comment on what could have been done differently to
improve your experience (different program order, better lighting or acoustics, live
vs. live-streamed or pre-recorded, etc).
• Try to write your review soon after you saw the performance; the fresher it is in
your mind the more detail you will be able to provide.
• Remember the key to a good review is to describe first, assess second.