Dance History Research Paper Topics

This year’s WDA Global Summit will be held from 23–28 July in St John’s, Newfoundland, a beautiful Canadian city on the east coast. Titled ‘Dancing from the Grassroots’, there will be many exciting events—performances, a conference including Pecha Kucha presentations, panel discussions and papers, and of course a Choreolab and master classes. We hope many Australians have made submissions to participate and look forward to once again having great representation from Australia at all events. Registrations will be open shortly.

Another opportunity available to Australian Ausdance members is the International Young Choreographer Program (ICYP), which offers fellowships to eight young artists: three from Taiwan, three from other Asia Pacific countries, and one each from WDA Europe and WDA Americas.

This year Australian Scott Ewen has been selected to participate in the ICYP. Scott attended the WDA Choreolab as a a highly regarded choreographer last year in Seoul. Congratulations Scott!

Ausdance members are automatically members of the WDA through Ausdance National’s partnership arrangement that includes publication of Asia Pacific Channels, access to choreographic fellowships, and discounted event attendance. Make sure you’re an Ausdance member before applying for any of these events.

Scott Ewen (front) with dancers and choreographers from the 2016 Choreolab at the WDA festival in Seoul. Choreolab convenor Jin-Wen Yu is kneeling, on the right. Photo: Suling Chou.
Dances History Research Project 

Choose a Topic From One of the Lists Provided

List of Available Dancers:

1.Lauren Anderson, 2.Sandra Organ, 3.Debbie Allen, 4.Josephine Baker, 5.Florence Mills, 6.Arthur Mitchell, 7.Buddy Bradley, 8.Carlos Acosta, 9.Paula Abdul, 10.Fred Astaire,11.Gene Kelly, 12.Ginger Rogers,13. Mikhail Baryshnikov, 14.Anna Pavlova, 15.Marie Taglione, 16.Carlo Blasis, 17.Fanny Elssler, 18.Gregory Hines, 19.Natalia Makarova, 20.Ann Miller, 21.Rudolf Nureyev, 22.Maria Tallchief, 23.Nicholas Brothers, 24.Vaslav Nijinsky, 25.Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, 26.Danny Tidwell, 27.Cyd Charisse, 28.Sylvie Guillem 29. Ruth Page, 30. Judith Jamieson, 31. Ben Vereen

List of Available Choreographers:

1.Enrico Cecchetti, 2.Michel Fokine, 3.Marius Petipa, 4.Alvin Ailey, 5.Martha Graham, 6.Merce Cunningham, 7.Alonzo King, 8.Robert Joffrey, 9.Edward Villella, 10.Jack Cole, 11.George Balanchine, 12.Sergei Diaghilev, 13.Lester Horton, 14.Doris Humphrey, 15.Katherine Dunham, 16.Pearl Primus, 17.Jiri Kylian, Jose Limon, 18.Ted Shawn, 19.Ruth St. Denis, 20.Isadora Duncan, 21.Twyla Tharp, 22.Agrippina Vaganova, 23.Hans van Mannen, 24.William Forsythe, 25.Akram Khan, 26.Toni Basil, 27.Pierre Beauchamp, 28.Maurice Bejart, 29.August Bournonville, 30.Christopher Bruce, 31.Agnes DeMille, 32.Mats Ek, 33.Bob Fosse, 34.Bill T Jones, 35.Matt Mattock, 36.Gus Giordano, 37.Ohad Naharin, 38.Jerome Robbins, 39.Paul Taylor, 40.Eugene “Luigi” Faccuito, 41.Robert Battle, 42.Talley Beatty

List of Available Dance Styles/Techniques:

1.Classical Ballet, 2.Neo-classical Ballet, 3.Contemporary Ballet, 4.Jazz, 5.Musical Theater, 6.Tap, 7.Modern, 8.Graham, 9.Paris Opera Ballet, 10.Vaganova, 11.Royal Academy of Dance, 12.Cecchetti, 13.Balanchine, 14.Cunningham, 14.Taylor, 15.Luigi, 16.Dunham, 17.Feldenkreis, 18.Pilates, 19.Gyrotonics, 20.Gaga, 21.Alexander, 22.Release, 23.Post-Modern, 24.International Ballroom, 25.Spanish Dance, 26.Latin Ballroom, 27.Countertechnique, 28.Baroque Dance, 29.Mazurka, 30.Polonaise, 31.Waltz, 32.Folk Dance, 33.Minuet, 

Section 1:

Dancers will choose one item from the list provided to research and learn about. Dancers will write a three page research paper describing their topic, what is the initiation/history of this topic, how did the culture respond to this topic, and how did this topic contribute to the dance world. Resources must be provided and if you need help with how to find resources and document them, please see your English teacher. The written assignment must be typed on 8.5 x 11 paper double spaced, 12pt Times New Roman font, at least 750 words. Also include an intro and a conclusion. Plagiarism will be an automatic zero, please do not copy and paste information verbatim that is already printed. Your sources must include at least two printed articles or books from a hard copy book or magazine.

Section 2:

Dancers will provide media sources to demonstrate the topic including videos, photos, powerpoints, slideshows, posterboards. Dancers will give a presentation on their topics in which they will cover the history, the contribution, and the overall response from the public about their topics. Dancers must be able to describe what takes place in the video using dance terminology and dancers must be able to cite critiques of the work presented. Creativity is greatly rewarded during the presentation.

Section 3:

Dancers will perform a 1:00 piece of choreography demonstrating their topics movement style. Dancers may perform an excerpt that has been choreographed by the subject or they may choreograph an original work inspired by the subject. The dance must include movements, positions, and poses specific to their subject.


*Remember to cite your sources and include a bibliography.


You can use the Internet, books, or magazines to help you research your dance. For example - you can type in “Dances from Australia” or “Ukrainian Folk Dance” into a search engine and go from there. Make sure you are using credible websites.

THIS PROJECT IS WORTH A SUBSTANTIAL PERCENTAGE of your TERM 2 GRADE and the performance piece is PART OF YOUR FINAL EXAM! You will be marked not only on the content, but how effectively you have used the class time…DO NOT GOOF OFF!!!




RUBRIC: Dance History Research Project


Dance:          _______________________________________________________

Student[s]:     _______________________________________________________



Presentation length:

5-7 minutes             Oral Presentation  

1-2 minutes         Dance Demonstration 

Research                                   2         4          6          8          10

Did the research cover all aspects of the assignment? (historical, stylistic, cultural?)  Was it quality research?  Was there enough research to meet the 5-7 minute timeframe?

Oral & Visual Presentation      2          4          6          8          10

Was the delivery smooth?  Were the speakers confident?  Did they engage the audience with eye contact and appropriate volume and tempo?  Was the information easy to follow? Was the visual well organized, mindfully presented, and informative?

Dance Choreography                 2        4          6          8          10

Did the students have an authentic piece of choreography? Did the movements chosen demonstrate that the style was well researched? Was there appropriate music? Was the dance appropriate in length and detail?

Dance Performance                    2       4          6          8          10

Was the dance well rehearsed? Were the movements polished? Did the students perform with confidence and add facial expressions? Were the dancers on time?

Use of Class Time                    2          4          6          8          10

Student has made effective use of class research time

1    Student has missed most classes.

2    Student has been mostly present, but does very little work.

3    Student has put in an average amount of work.

4    Student is usually on task and working hard.

5    Student is always on task.


Evaluation                                                                                          /50 points

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