How to describe someone dancing

How to write a Professional Dance Scene (Tips and Examples)

So you don’t know how to write a dance scene? The words to use, the actions to describe. It can be challenging. What’s too much? What’s too little?

This post will give eight tips on writing dance scenes in a screenplay that most people miss and give actual dance scene examples from scripts accompanied by the movie scene. 

So you can write your next dance scene, whether that be:

  • Slow dance
  • Salsa dance
  • Dancing in a club
  • Lap dance
  • Pole dance
  • Breakdance

Let’s begin:

1.) Know the Dance Style and Tell the Reader

This first tip will break the show don’t tell rule, but in specific scenarios, it’s justified. 

Name it. 

Whether it’s a classical ballet dance or a tap dance. 

Saying what type of dance we are about to read on the page is the best way to describe it. It doesn’t matter how you tell them as long as it’s in there.  


They enter a wonderland of hip-hop break dancers.
She laces up her ballerina shoes.
Announcer Next up to the pole, we call her...White Diamond.

It’s best towards the beginning, especially if the movie isn’t about a dancer and this is a one-off scene. You have to let the reader know what type of dance is happening. 

Naming, the dance in the opening, helps the reader imagine what the setting looks like and how slow or fast the dance is happening. 

If it’s in a nightclub, people will assume it’s fast-paced unless described differently. If it’s in a strip club, people will think it’s slow and sexual. 

We will get in some great ways to describe it, but you must first understand, what you say is more important than how you say it. 

2.) Dance scenes are written short

This tip always stops people in their tracks. But yes, dance scenes are written short and not that descriptive.  

In my research, every single written dance scene is shorter than the actual movie version. Generally, for every one page in a script, it equals one minute on the screen. But for most scenes with motion, like dance scenes, action scenes, fight scenes. 

Screenplays are just a blueprint for a film, so when writing, remember naming every twirl, flip, or spin isn’t just not needed it’s arguably considered bad writing. 

How short are we talking?

I’ve read dance scenes that say

They dance

Yes, Hollywood produced screenplays. 


Pulp Fiction ScreenplayPulp Fiction Dance Scene


The director will come up with what it looks like; it’s your job to come up with what it feels like. It’s your job to write the essential parts. Now that’s extreme, but it shows how minuscule this part of your script should be.

Example 2:

LALA Land ScreenplayLALA Land Opening Scene

Even in a musical, The entire four-minute scene is written in half a page.

4.) Describe the Whole Emotion, not the Entire Dance

When writing a dance scene, you want to give a feeling. This feeling should reflect the tone at the moment. 

The non verble comunication. 

What are the expressions and emotions your character gives off while dancing? These words are far more valuable in a dance scene than the actual move itself.  


There are no dance descriptions even written just about the emotion the protagonist is feeling.

But what dance moves do you describe? Keep reading.

3.) Only Describe the Essential Dance Moments

What is essential? 

The broad strokes of a dance or the most crucial moment.

  • The big move for the judges.
  • The hardest part for the dancer to pull off. 
  • The moment of significantly heightened emotion. 

If you watch movies, every dance scene has one. And if you read the screenplays, the writer usually writes only that part. 

4.) Use Vivid Action Words

How do you describe dance in words? Don’t use dance terminology unless your writing about some Olympic or sporting event. Or if the term is being used in dialogue. 

We can talk about what you don’t do because there aren’t firm rules on what you should do when it comes to creativity. 

But generally use words that paint a picture. The image you give with your words is all that matters. 


Don’t write this

She jumps

Write this

She leaps

or better yet

She floats in the air. 

Think about it everyone jumps basketball players, kids on the playground. But “floating” paints a picture of grace I can see. It’s specific to a ballerina or contemporary dance. 

Example 2:

Don’t write:

She dances with her hands up.


Her hands held rollercoaster high, raging to the beat of the drum.

I’m trying to describe dancing in a club or a Rave. 

Since we are trying not to bore the reader with too many details, we have to paint an image with the words we know. Think what type of jump it was? Basic terms will not work when describing a dance. You have to think harder than that. 

5.) Break Up More Extended Scenes with Dialogue

Dialogue is a great way to break up any action, including dance. It stops your dance scene from being two-wordy and keeps the reader engaged. 

I think about the Mr. and misses smith dance scene. This scene is quite long, but what keeps it intresting is the antiques and wordplay from both assassins trying to get the upper hand during the dance.  


Mr. and Mrs. Smith Dance Scene

6.) Know the Steaks of the Dance Scene

Who wins or loses. 

Not purely speaking from a competition sense but ask yourself:

  • What do we find out about the protagonist?
  • What questions do we have after the scene?

The actions your character takes during the dance scene speak volumes. 

Just like the Mr. and Mrs. Smith example above, we can tell by the conversation they don’t trust each other, but by the end, we find out that maybe in their marriage, real feelings were involved. 

Find out the steaks of the scene, who wins and who loses based on the result of the scene. 

If you noticed, this isn’t much of a Dance scene thing but how to write a scene in general because every scene must have these things.  

This brings me to my second to the last point. 

7.) What do we Discover as a Result of the Dance Scene? 

There has to be an end goal of discovery. If not, it doesn’t matter how amazing your wordplay is or your character’s actions.

By looking at your story from a birds-eye view, a skilled reader will know you have no idea what you’re doing.


LALA Land SceenplayLALA Land Dance Scene

8. Reference the Sound

Sound is just as big a part of a dance scene as the physical movement is, so don’t hesitate to engage more of the readers’ senses by referencing the sounds that the viewer will hear in the scene, such as the music or, like in this scene from Black Swan, the way that the music ends.


In this post, you learned:

What not to do when writing dance scenes just as much as what to do. 

  • Tell the reader the type of dance upfront. 
  • Keep them short—preferably short, punchy sentences.
  • Emotion trumps actions.
  • Never use dance terminology. It confuses the reader. 
  • Have a point ot the dance scene.

Now its time to hear from you:

Did I miss anything?

How have you seen dance scenes written in screenplays?

Whatever your answers are, let’s hear them in the comments below. 

Happy writing. 

Posted in How to Guides By D.K.WilsonPosted on Tagged dance scene

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description, content, interesting facts and much more about the film

The film begins with the fact that the Iranian dancer Afshin is severely beaten, after which the action is transferred to the hero's childhood. As a young boy, he examines a box of DVDs and becomes interested in the movie Dirty Dancing. Soon he is dancing at school for the amusement of his classmates, which the teacher is clearly not happy about. When he returns home with his mother, she asks what happened to his palm, and Afshin replies that the teacher hit him for dancing in class. His mother points him to the people from the vice police, warning his son that he is in much greater danger if these people find out about the dances. She tells him that he can only dance where no one sees him, and in case of danger he must run.

The next day at school, one of the teachers tells him about the Saba Arts Center, which is a big secret. When Afshin comes there, he sees about a dozen young people there, as well as teacher Mehdi. The teacher tells him about the two sides of their country, and then gives him a pass to Saba, after which he plays a music record for them. So for music and dancing many days pass. When Afshin once again comes to Saba, he sees that the building was attacked by hooligans who broke the windows and painted the walls. Mehdi tells the boy about the narrow-mindedness of the locals, after which she lets him watch the performance of a Russian dancer who was forced to flee his country. The boy begins to repeat his dance.

Years pass and Afshin begins to live independently. At the university, the hero meets an artist named Ardi, whose paintings are always attacked by vandals. Ardi tells the guy that he needs to be careful and secretive. He then introduces Afshin to his friends Mona and Mehran. In the evening, they go to an underground nightclub together. There they dance and have fun. A girl draws attention to Afshin. After that, the heroes go to Mehran's house, where it turns out that he has access to youtube, despite the firewall. Afshin is immediately looking for a video about dancing. The next day, he begins to dance, trying to reproduce what he saw. He spends a lot of time training and feels his progress.

Soon he has an idea and invites his friends to open a dance studio. At first, his friends laugh at him, but Afshin does not give up. Mona's fiancé Nasser shows concern as this could get them in serious trouble. He says that in a couple of months in prison, his close friend turned gray. They decide to open a school in an abandoned print shop. The girl who was watching Afshin in the club becomes a witness to their conversation. When friends first gather for the first lesson, this girl also comes to class. Her name is Elijah and she also wants to take up dancing. She decides to show off her skills, and it turns out that she is a talented dancer.

The next day Afshin is talking to a girl and she says that he is talented, but he needs to work on his technique. The girl says that she was taught to dance by her mother, who before the revolution was a member of the national ballet. For further training, the heroes spend many more days. Soon Afshin invites Elijah on a date. Mehran is visited by his brother Sattar, who reports that the elections are in chaos, as the president has many opponents. He asks his brother to be his man inside the university, supplying him with information. Mehran refuses, justifying himself with upcoming exams. Soon, young people attend a rally in support of the new presidential candidate. After that, the heroes are stopped by people from the vice police, who threaten the heroes, and especially Monet. The heroes are beaten, especially Nasser, who ends up in the hospital.

In the evening Elijah and Afshin dance together, and after a while he finds her in the club. She is under the influence of drugs and refuses to leave. One of her acquaintances pushes the hero away, and he walks away. The next day, he meets her at the university and they talk. She tells him that their studio is useless as there is no use for it. In the evening, Afshin tells his friends that they need spectators, since there is no point in dancing if no one sees it. Friends say that the risk is too great, after which Elijah invites them to dance outside the city. Afshin invites them to go to the desert, where the regime does not operate. The young people continue their training, and Elijah gives Afshin some more instructions, after which they kiss.

In the evening, Elijah comes to Afshin's for dinner, but turns out to be under the influence of drugs and ruins everything, because he cannot control himself. She tells the hero about her mother, who was also a drug addict. Elijah was constantly trying to get her attention, and therefore wanted to become just like her. Her mother died of an overdose when Elijah was only 13 years old. She found a powder in her mother's things and took it, which helped her cope with the pain. Afshin helps the girl survive the most difficult withdrawal after giving up drugs. When the hero meets his friends again, Ardi is not happy that Afshin left them for a girl and abandoned his idea of ​​dancing for people.

In the evening, friends discuss the upcoming concert, deciding who to invite, fearing the consequences. Mona is too afraid, so she leaves. Returning home, Mehran finds his brother there, who found his dance sketches. He says his friends are troubled. Afshin invites 20 people to the concert, arranging to meet on the highway outside the city. Mehran reports everything to his brother and the people from the vice police. Ardi gathers people in a minivan, Mona is among those who want to attend the concert. When the heroes arrive in the desert, Mehran gives the exact address to his brother Sattar. Before the audience has arrived, Elijah is about to take the drug, which Afshin notices. The girl tries to justify herself, and then the audience comes.

Afshin, Elijah and Ardi start dancing. The morality police are arming themselves with clubs and knives, preparing to punish the young people, but it turns out that Mehran pointed them to the wrong place, as he remained loyal to his friends. The trinity ends the performance, and the audience applauds.

After some time, it becomes known about the re-election of the old president, and everyone is sure that the votes were rigged. Immediately begins a procession against his regime. Afshin and Ardi also participate in it, filming everything on camera. Soon they meet with a beaten Mehran, who says that he is going home, as his relatives order him. He also reports that he was beaten by his brother, who wanted him to betray his friends. Afshin and Ardi rejoin the procession, which is then dispersed by aggressive followers of the president, who begin to brutally beat people. Afshin takes out a camera and starts filming what is happening, after which he is tied up and put into a car.

Soon he, along with other Protestants, is taken to an unknown place, where they start beating him in turn. The queue reaches Afshin, after which he is severely beaten. Then one of the men pulls out a gun and points at the guy, preparing to kill him. But then one of the detainees runs away, and the villains rush after him. Afshin takes advantage of this opportunity and goes into hiding. He wanders in the desert and gets to the highway in the morning. Then Afshin gets to the city and meets with friends, whom he says that he will lay low, as they are still looking for him. Nasser offers the hero to fly to Paris according to his documents, as he fears for his life. Afshin does not want to fly away, but Elijah also persuades him to obey his friend and leave the country. Only Ardi is not happy with this idea and goes to another demonstration without even really saying goodbye.

Friends drive Ardi to the airport and drive past the demonstration. Soon they arrive at the place and Afshin successfully passes customs control, deceiving the inspector. He boards the plane, mentally saying goodbye to his friends. He soon arrives in Paris, where he helps with the production, still introducing himself as Nasser. On the evening of the performance, he meets his old teacher Mehdi, who now lives in Paris. The hero shares with him the complexities of his current situation.

During the performance, Afshin steps out of character and introduces himself to the audience in his real name, telling the truth about his government. After that, he starts dancing. Iranian government agents immediately stop the concert and try to capture Afshin, but then leave, not wanting to make themselves look bad. The audience begins to applaud Afshin, expressing their support for him.

90,000 dancing cadets against armed schoolchildren - DW - 01/20/2018


Alexander Poychev


Problems will not disappear anywhere if their discussion is noticeable with far -fetched moralizer scandals. Teenage violence is one of them, says Alexander Plushev.


Screenshot from video of Ulyanovsk cadets Photo:

In Soviet times, when atheism was part of the internal policy of the state, on the days of major Orthodox holidays, a serious struggle for youth was played out by the standards of that time. Now, when a rare presidential candidate can afford to ignore Epiphany bathing in an ice hole, it is hard to believe that participation in a festive service or even a religious procession was considered a non-conformist, oppositional act with possible consequences, comparable in courage to going out to a massive unauthorized rally these days.

To prevent young people from attending services, Soviet television, which was scarce in entertainment, broadcast some kind of musical program like “Melodies and Rhythms of Foreign Variety Art”. Mostly they showed artists from the countries of the socialist camp, but no, no, and there were flashes of ABBA or Boney M. The pernicious influence of the West was considered a lesser evil than religious opium. Nowadays, everything has changed: religion is recognized as spiritually useful and deeply integrated into the social life of the country, and television has lost its monopoly on information and, moreover, entertainment. But the techniques remain the same: if the authorities do not know what to do with a problem, it is best to pretend that it does not exist, replacing it with some kind of simulacrum.

Timely desecrations

Scandals with insults, desecrations, violations of moral and ethical norms, and similar nonsense have been working very well in this capacity lately. Since the people want to judge, you need to give him such an opportunity. Especially if something inexplicable, potentially dangerous and uncontrollable appears. Something that I don’t even want to talk about, let alone discuss.

State television, which willingly covers any shooting in the US in the news, was, to put it mildly, extremely sparing in its coverage of attacks by Russian teenagers on their schools. Such an agenda, especially on the eve of the elections, is unacceptable for the television audience: what kind of stability is this, if almost every day something happens in schools that even at 90 did not happen. An amateur parody video clip filmed by cadets of the Ulyanovsk Institute of Civil Aviation was much more willingly analyzed. I had to use this story twice. After the Perm attack - as something seemingly serious, with the involvement of moralizing regulars and inspections of the prosecutor's office, and after the drama in Ulan-Ude - as a pure farce: everyone no longer swears, but dances, as if in an Indian film.

Non-obvious borders

In passing, it is worth noting that the “quality” of simulacra is gradually declining: from dancing in the temple and twerking against the backdrop of military monuments, which, at the very least, could really hurt someone, slipped down to a clip in caps, capable of cause at least some indignation only among the regular propagandist. It would be funny if it were not tragic: it is becoming more and more difficult to understand which borders should not be crossed so as not to fall under the distribution of the state morality machine.

Naked female students on the calendar for Putin do not in the least confuse moralists at the federal level, but cadets in caps, grimacing to a popular song, are driven to white heat. The president's words about German prisoners are taken for granted, and a schoolboy from Novy Urengoy, who said, in fact, the same thing in the Bundestag, causes an explosion of indignation. The name of such discrepancies in interpretations is legion.

An alternative to the deceived

Well, how can this double morality, or rather its complete absence, affect schoolchildren? They are not idiots, they see and understand everything perfectly, including because they do not watch TV: this is well felt in commercials from schools where teachers or directors frighten young oppositionists.

Whether in Navalny, in AUE, which is remembered because of the attacks on schools, in the notorious blue whales, or God knows what else, teenagers are looking for an alternative to completely lying and stealing adults. An alternative center of power, strength, order, with which you can associate yourself, with which you can not be afraid of being absorbed by the stupid and hopeless swamp of Milonovshchina and Mizulinshchina.

Who is to blame

This cannot but frighten. Especially in a state where all processes seem to be under control. But if so, then the responsibility for what is happening does not lie with the society, in which this problem was not discussed and to which it was not even officially spoken out. Responsibility lies with those who diligently do not allow this discussion and information.

Responsibility also lies with those who believe it is right to keep problems quiet - they say, so as not to produce imitators. Teenagers just hate you precisely because you consider yourself smarter than them.

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