Dance Teacher Resources

Dance History: Literary Ballets Quiz

Royal New Zealand Ballet
Royal New Zealand Ballet's Tonia Looker and MacLean Hopper in Liam Scarlett’s 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream' 2015. Photo by Stephen A'Court.

Do you take the time to teach your student about dance history? Giving them a quiz is a fun way to open up discussion about famous ballets and choreographers. Here’s an example:

1. In which ballet would you find the characters Olga, Lensky and Tatyana?

a) Othello

b) Onegin

c) A Midsummer Night’s Dream

d) Wuthering Heights

2. On whom were the title roles of Romeo and Juliet created in MacMillan’s 1965 ballet?

a) Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureyev

b) Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gelsey Kirkland

c) Carla Fracci and Erik Bruhn

d) Lynn Seymour and Christopher Gable

3. Il Sogno is a ballet score based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream and recorded by which musician?

a) Elvis Costello

b) Paul Simon

c) Philip Glass

d) Tom Waits

4. Which choreographer has not created a ballet version of Dracula?

a) Michael Pink

b) Richard Alston

c) David Nixon

d) Mark Godden

5. The Moor’s Pavane is a one-act ballet based on which work by William Shakespeare?

a) Othello

b) The Tempest

c) Love’s Labour’s Lost

d) Much Ado About Nothing

6. Who created Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for The Royal Ballet in 2011?

a) Michael Clark

b) Christopher Hampson

c) Shobana Jeyasingh

d) Christopher Wheeldon

7. David Nixon’s 2008 adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is set in which European city?

a) Paris

b) Milan

c) Amsterdam

d) Prague

8. The ballet Le Corsaire is loosely based on a work by which famous poet?

a) Alfred Tennyson

b) Lord Byron

c) William Wordsworth

d) Louisa May Alcott

9. La Esmeralda is a three-act ballet inspired by which novel by Victor Hugo?

a) Les Miserables

b) The Man Who Laughs

c) Napoleon the Little

d) The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Notre-Dame de Paris)

10. To which composer’s score are both Cranko’s and MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet set?

a) Tchaikovsky

b) Stravinsky

c) Prokofiev

d) Ravel


1 – b; 2 – d; 3 – a; 4 – b; 5 – a; 6 – d; 7 – a; 8 – b; 9 – d; 10 – c

By Rain Francis of Dance Informa.

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