Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.


Ballet Choreography For Young Dancers


Teacher article



 Over the years I have judged many competitions where young dancers have been entered in the Ballet category and many times I have felt bad that because of the content of the choreography the dancers were basically set up to fail and would as a result get low scores. Very often it is simply a case of the teachers using steps that are much too advanced for these little dancers. As a result they struggle with trying to control their bodies and end up not looking very pretty and not understanding why.

Dancers between the ages of 5-7 can be given steps in their dances that will demonstrate good clean technique and a clear understanding of what they are doing. For example, pose temps leve or step hop done with a developpe devant is a beautiful traveling step and very rarely used. Basic positions of the feet for this age should only be 1st , 2nd and 3rd. 5th position is too advanced for this age and almost always is accompanied by pronated feet which in turn will weaken the ankles and knees. Showing turned out tendus and clean echappes sauts to 2nd with the knees right over the toes can have a much more positive effect than seeing the same dancer struggle to do a pique turn done with bent knees, weight back and arms thrown behind the shoulders. Arabesques with the leg lifted are too advanced and you can achieve the same effect demonstrating a beautiful line by just having the dancers stand in a diagonal formation with the leg carefully placed behind them and the arms in arabesque which will show that they understand where to place their legs and arms so that when they gain enough strength to actually lift the leg they will be in exactly the right position.

 Frequently changing formations and letting the dancers feel the freedom of moving around the stage, which teaches them spatial awareness is usually a good way to show off your young dancers.

Props are also an excellent choice for this age group as very often their port de bras is not as fluid as you might want. I personally love to use scarves especially made out of pure silk. Just watching the fabric billow out as the dancers move is great and then even a simple sway side to side with perhaps a little spin on both feet takes on a whole new dimension to the viewer. Hoops covered in flowers are also another useful and attractive prop. What terrific shapes you can make just by putting together a small formation of dancers with the hoops going in different directions.

 Finding a theme is also extremely helpful and helps the dancers understand what they are trying to portray. Trying to give very young dancers technique that not only do they not understand but also are unable to execute only starts them with bad technical habits that they will find very difficult to break. We will be showing different ideas on young dancer choreography for ballet in future months.


Angela D'Valda Sirico

Angela D'Valda Sirico

Originally from England, Angela spent her early years in Hong Kong where she studied with Carol Bateman. She continued her training at Arts Educational Trust in England. After moving to New York City she continued her studies with Martha Graham and Matt Mattox. She appeared with the Matt Mattox Company and toured with the first Disney On Parade working with Disney and N.B.C. Contracted to the Teatro National of Buenos Aires she performed for one year and spent an additional year as a featured soloist at the Teatro Maipo, Argentina. Travelling to Madrid, Spain she worked for Spanish television in a weekly variety show Tarde Para Todos and from there decided to form her own Dance Company. With the Company she choreographed and performed throughout Spain in theatres, and on television. Angela met her husband Steve while working together on a television special The Valerie Peters Show filmed in Tampa, Florida. In 1979 they formed the Adagio act DValda & Sirico appearing in theatres, clubs and on television shows such as David Letterman, Star Search and the Jerry Lewis Telethon. In 1982 they were contracted to Europe and appeared in a variety of shows in Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and Italy before going to London, England where they appeared as Guest Artists for Wayne Sleep (formerly of the Royal Ballet) in his show Dash at the Dominium Theatre. Angela and Steve have owned and directed their dance studio in Fairfield, CT. for the past twenty two years and in 2005 added music and vocal classes to their curriculum. Angela served as chairperson for the tri state panel of the Royal Academy of Dancing and is Co-author of a Partner syllabus currently used for teacher training by Dance Educators of America. She continues to adjudicate and teach for major dance organizations and choreographs for theatre, television and conventions and was commissioned by Boston Ballet 11 to choreograph the highly acclaimed Brother Can You Spare A Dime? DValda & Sirico are currently in production choreographing the opening to the National Speakers Association convention on Broadway at the Marriott Marquis for August of 2008. Angela is co-owner of Dance Teacher Web designed as an online resource for teachers worldwide.

1580 Post Road Fairfield, CT © Copyright 2022 by