Part of the allure of witnessing a dance performance is watching as dancers change patterns. Formations, and formation changes, are one of the key elements of dance performance because they ensure that a piece of choreography remains dynamic and visually pleasing to the eye. There are a variety of different dance formations that can be used to create compelling dance pieces.
Staggered Line Formations
A classic formation used in dance choreographies of many different styles is the staggered line formation. The concept is simple: dancers stand in rows, with each dancer standing beside each other a specific distance apart. Behind the first row, the second row of dancers stand in the spaces between the dancers in the first line, only in back of them. The pattern can continue with many lines depending on the amount of dancers included in the formation.
Diagonal Line Formations
The diagonal line formation, popular in jazz and tap dance, is used mainly for its feature of allowing every dancer on stage to be seen equally clearly. In this formation, dancers are placed in two large diagonal lines from the back of each side of the stage to its diagonal on the front side. The lines will cross in the center, creating what looks like a large "X" on stage. A commonly used choreographic technique is to have the lines cross and uncross while performing various technical elements.
Filled-In Pyramid Formations
The filled-in pyramid formation is very helpful when trying to create tight, solid-looking choreographies. The pyramid formation is most popular in hip-hop and other urban dance styles that use formations to create a sense of cohesiveness between the dancer's movements given the fact that the dance moves of this particular genre are often more wild and freestyled than other classical forms of dance. A filled-in pyramid formation is actually a series of lines that extend further outside the ends of each line as the pyramid grows deeper.
"V" Shaped Formations
There are few patterns used more often in every style of dance than the "V". The "V" resembles a pyramid formation closely but it not filled-in with rows of dancers. Rather, the pattern begins with one person at the tip of the "V" followed by two dancers approximately a foot behind on either side. The formation continues adding a dancer to the outside of each until a "V" shape is formed. The "V" formation is commonly used as the final formation of a choreography.
Shannon Lee began her professional journalism career in 2009. Her reporting has appeared in "The Hudson Gazette" and her editing work in the "Redwood County Newspaper." Lee is also a professional dancer and owns one of the largest dance studios in her region. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with a double-major in communication studies and journalism.