Writing Down Choreography

Today’s post is an in-depth tutorial on how to write down choreography for ballets you may be learning.  Plus, examples AND printouts are included!

The format

Here’s an example of the format you can use to write down your choreography:

Roles for choreography – Ballet and act

  1. Steps for first section

Stage Diagram

You can divide the sections via spacing changes, musical changes, choreography changes.

The steps section

The steps section is where you write down all the dancing that you do.  For each step, I like to use the classification order as follows:

  1. step name (piqué arabesque, chassé)
  2. direction – optional (devant, derrière, alisicon)
  3. side (R or L)
  4. arms (1st, 2nd, 4th, allongé, demi seconde, etc.)
  5. orientation – optional (croisé, effacé, en face, etc.)
  6. travel – optional (counterclockwise, clockwise, R stage, L stage, downstage, upstage, manegé, etc.)

Here’s an example of how I would classify the following position:


piqué 4th arabesque R traveling R stage

Here’s one more example: (Just for the cambré)


cambré derrière R arms in 4th croisé stationary

Here’s a chart that you can print out to write down your choreography on:

(NOTE: Each row is one step, if you would like a less detailed version, go ahead and just write down certain sections of the chart in a notebook).

Choreo Steps Chart

The formations

Now, let’s dive in more detail into the structure of the formations and spacing section.

Before we get started, here’s a free stage printable for you to draw all over:

Choreo Formation Printout

Click to your right > Stage Printout for the document.

Here’s a filled out and labeled example of the stage above:


The red, yellow, and green marks at the top of the stage represent the following:

  • Red = center
  • Yellow = 1/8 markers
  • Green = 1/4 markers

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