Dance Ed Tip #28:
3 ways to prep dancers for a great performance!

April 30, 2018 - Olivia Mode-Cater

 
Let me tell you something you already know: it’s performance season! From the months of April to June, it feels like concerts, recitals, competitions, and shows take over our lives. I have already gotten one group through two performances and I have another that I am preparing now. Getting students to feel confident and prepared to hit the stage is some of the most tedious and tiring work that we do. Here are 3 things I do to make each sure each class is fully prepared:
 
1. Make students embody your notes.
 
After students run a dance, teachers usually have lots of notes to give in very little time. This means that we say the note to the dancer and then move along to the next one. Then, we run the dance again and are annoyed and surprised that the note wasn’t applied! This is why when I give corrections, I now try my best to make time for the students to embody each note. As we know, dancers are kinesthetic learners so when they move to apply the correction, it tends to stick.
 
2. Discuss and practice the piece’s intention.  
 
The majority of corrections dance teachers give are on technique. This means that sometimes we forget to discuss the intention of the work. I always try to make time to sit down with my dancers to discuss what the piece is about. We talk about what it feels like to perform the dance, what it looks like from the audience’s perspective, and what facial expressions/energy would be most effective in conveying the dance’s intention. I also ask the students to embody that intention during several runs so that it really becomes part of the performance.    
 
3. Pace the information you give out.
 
Like most dance teachers, I am a big planner. I have spreadsheets, timelines, and to do lists that help me get ready for each show. I am always tempted to share out all this information with my students and parents, so that they have everything they need. Sending out too much information, however, can backfire and cause everyone to be overwhelmed and confused. This is why I pace out which information I give. I send out outlines of important dates and times in advance, but I only give out the nitty gritty details 2 weeks before the performance. This helps everyone focus and be ready for each event.  
 
I hope these #danceedtips help! Happy teaching!
Olivia