Staging Ideas

The following is a sampling of short works you may

want to consider for staging.

If you would like other ideas, please Contact Us.

* No license or royalty fee required

Hanya Holm


          Ratatat is a ballet parade. It contains the

          essence of all parades: joy, pride, and splendor.

          Each solo may be performed by a man or a woman.

          Solo 1 - Quirky, something is frightening the dancer

          Solo 2 - Strong and percussive

          Solo 3 - Vibrating. Electrifying footwork

          Solo 4 - Playful and strong

          Solo 5 - Seamless and smooth

     Music: Recorded percussion music by Baby Dobbs

     Running time: 15' 30"

     Costume: White jumpsuits and jazz oxfords

     Notation: 1986

     Consultancy required

Doris Humphrey

The Call/Breath of Fire

          These historically important, dramatic solos,

          choreographed in 1929, and performed together,

          represent a statement about the early development

          of modern dance as well as about the growth of the

          individual. In Humphrey's own notes: “The

          Dissonant Power of Rudhyar's music fitly expresses

          The Call to a new vision, which is followed by a

          shriving of the old body and old ideas through the

          purification of fire.” The reference may be taken

          as an allusion to Humphrey's break with

          Denishawn in 1928 and to her creation of a new form

          of dance or, more abstractly, to a process by which

          a person matures. The Call/Breath of Fire were

          reconstructed by Ernestine Stodelle at

          The Juilliard School in 1988.

     Music: Dane Rudhyar

     Running time: 3' 30"

     Costume: Simple, long flowing dress

     Notation: 1989

     Consultancy recommended

Rachel Lampert

     What's Remembered?* (Forget/Remember solo)


An improvised piece requiring creativity from the

dancer (either a man or a woman) and

skillful directing from the stager. It is about

emotions and events that are half forgotten, dimly

remembered, as in a dream. Requires tremendous

coordination but not necessarily great technical

proficiency. Notated when the choreographer

created it for students at the University of Iowa

as part of the Educational Performance Collection series.

Music: taped dialogue

Running time: length varies

Costume: Casual pants and top

Notation: 1984

No consultancy required


Ruth St. Denis

As is the case with many historic works, the lovely dances of Ruth St. Denis are simple pieces which require artistry from the female performer. The technique is not demanding, but only a mature artist will be able to achieve the vision of St. Denis. All of the works listed below are especially good for classroom use. Most were staged by St. Denis's longtime associate Karoun Tootikian, and the notation scores are well written. No consultation is required, but only someone familiar with the St. Denis style will be able to fully realize this choreography. Music does not require permission or fees.

          Brahms Waltzes Music Visualization*

          Music: Johannes Brahms

          Running time: approx. 2 min.

          Costume: Flowing, high-waisted silk or chiffon dress

          Notation: 1970


          Music: Leo Delibes

          Running time: approx. 3 min.

          Costume: Ragged Indian jacket and

          ragged dhoti wrapped around the legs

          Set: Low bench

          Notation: 1985


          Music: Harvey Worthington Loomis

          Running time: 5' 30"

          Costume: Indian sari

          Set: a few simple props

          Notation: 1981


Ruth St. Denis in “The Incense,” 1916. Photo: Strauss-Peyton.

Helen Tamiris

Negro Spirituals (5 solos)

Signature pieces of modern dance pioneer Helen Tamiris who performed them for many years. Each solo is a little gem, simple in form, dramatically powerful and dynamically different. All can be danced by a man or a woman or they may be performed as a suite for five dancers. Although short in length they require study to make them simple and clear. Wonderful experience for students. Audiences enjoy them. Beautiful traditional music.

Go Down Moses

This piece requires the ability to change roles, from the powerful,           commanding Pharaoh to Moses, who protects, cradles and leads his people.

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

Full of undulating rocking and weighted swings, contrasted with earthy, quick and direct excursions to and from the diagonals.

Git On Board

A cheerful invitation for everyone to come board the train to the Promised Land.


The performer is sometimes the observer and sometimes the one crucified.

Somber, tortured, powerful.


Exuberant, a one-man army taking pleasure in destroying the walls of Jericho.

Music: Traditional, arranged by Genevieve Pitot, public domain

Running time: Each solo approx. 2-3 min

Costume: For men, tank top leotard and tights. For women, the basic costume is a long-sleeved leotard, matching ankle-length skirt, and tights. Various other pieces (scarves, shorter skirts, etc.) are added or removed for each section.

Notation: 1967

Consultancy suggested

Weidman, Charles

Brahms Waltzes (6 excerpts)

Delightful, short dances for a man or woman in the Humphrey/Weidman style. Varied choreography requiring different levels of technical skill.

Very adaptable to all types of performers.

     Music: Johannes Brahms, Waltzes, Opus 39, public domain

     Running time: approx. 1-6 min, depending on number of solos selected

     Costumes: Leotards and skirts

     Notation: 1981

     No consultancy required


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Fanny Elssler

La Cachucha*

          The Cachucha is a Spanish solo-dance, better

     adapted for execution by a lady than by a

     gentleman. It is danced to the melody of an

     Andalusian national song containing two parts of

     eight measures each, to which, for the sake of

     variety, there has been added a third part of

     similar duration; the whole is completed by an

     introduction and a coda.

     The celebrated Fanny Elssler, by her wonderful

     execution, won for this dance a popularity in

     keeping with its merits. The dance is best

     performed by mature artists. There is some tricky

     footwork. It helps to know classical Spanish dance

     but it is not necessary. The clicking of the

     castanets, which forms so essential a part of the

     Spanish dances, is usually neglected by all save

     Spanish dancers. Care should be devoted to this

     feature if it is at all possible.

         (Notes reproduced, in part, from Zorn's Grammar of

     the Art of Dancing, Boston, 1905. A reduced facsimile

      edition is published by Dance Horizons, New York).

     Music: probably Casimir Gide, arranged by John Lanchbery.

     (No performance tape is available.  Audio may be dubbed from the video).                                                                           

     Running time: 14 min (can be shortened)

     Costume: Spanish style dress

     Set: not necessary but information is available

     Notation: 1981

     No consultancy required

Murray Louis

Stravinsky Montage (Firebird excerpt)

          A hauntingly beautiful abstract depiction of the

          mythical firebird. Requires a technically strong,

          musical, female modern dancer who can express the

          birdlike qualities in the choreography, convey an

          alluring and mysterious mood, and hold the audience


          Notated when Murray Louis created it for women in his company.

     Music: Igor Stravinsky, “L'Oiseau de Feu”

     Running time: 3 min

     Costume: Specially designed unitard with one full sleeve attached

     Notation: 1982

     Consultancy required

Isadora Duncan

     Brahms Waltzes

          A suite of four dances for a female dancer, each

          about a minute long. An exuberant example of

     Duncan's choreography. Requires a mature dancer who

         can sustain the earthiness of the Duncan technique

     while conveying the playfulness of the movement.

     Notated when Lori Belilove arranged and set the

     work for Les Ballets Trocadero de Monte Carlo.

     Music: Waltzes, Opus 39, Johannes Brahms, public domain

     Running time: 4 min

     Costume: Red silk tunic

     Notation: 1989

     Consultancy Required

Anton Dolin

Pas de Quatre

          Dolin's recreation of the famous divertissement originally

          choreographed in 1845 by Jules Perrot.  There are four

          technically demanding classical female variations: one

          jumping, one turning, one lyrical, and one coquettish.     

     Music: Césare Pugni

     Number of dancers: 4

     Running time: approx. 8 min (4 solos, approx. 2 min. each)

     Costumes: Romantic tutus (calf-length)

     Notation: 1976, revised 1984

     No consultancy required

     Royalty: this notation score is the property of the notator

Sophie Maslow

     The Village I Knew (Yenta excerpt)

Delightfully entertaining vignette about an Eastern

European Yenta who visits her village Rabbi to

voice a grievance, and tells her life story in the

process. Requires a female dancer who can

communicate through movement and broad gesture. A

technically demanding and difficult coordination

exercise for a mature, comic performer. Training

in the Graham technique is helpful. A

musical theater background would also help. A man

is also needed in a non-dancing role.

     Music: Samuel Matlowsky and Gregory Tucker

     Running time: 3' 30"

     Costume: Peasant dress

     Set: One chair

     Notation: 1994

     Consultancy required

Don Redlich

Passin' Through

          Don Redlich's signature piece, continuously

          performed since 1959. Various dance styles are

          incorporated into the choreography including tap,

          jazz, gymnastics and the Hanya Holm technique. The

          hero is an entertaining version of a vaudevillian

          country hick. Needs a male dancer with a feeling

          for character work, an expansive personality and

          the ability to perform quick, complex rhythms.

     Music: A mix from Pete Seeger's record A Goofing Off Suite

     Running time: 9 min

     Costume: Shirt, pants, socks, shoes, arm bands, suspenders, and a hat.

     Notation: 1986

     Consultancy required