Planning, organising and executing a dance show can be an exciting but stressful affair, so we asked some experienced dance teachers if they had any advice or tips for getting a performance to run smoothly and this is what they said:
Manage the Practical Stuff
Often, it’s all the non-performance components of a dance production that cause the most stress, including:
Costs: These can spiral for any dance production so plan your budget carefully. Consider venue fees, costumes and props. If there’s any shortfall in your finances that limit the scope of your show, organise fundraising events or source second-hand and loan props from other dance groups.
If you have room, store your costumes from previous performances. These can be adapted with a set of gloves, hat, leggings or minor alteration to look completely different from their original use. Parents are happier to buy 1 or 2 new costumes if older ones are being re-cycled for other routines.
Music Copyright: There are a number of regulations you need to comply with to avoid infringing music copyright laws but Youth Dance England have put together an informative guide on the Use of Recorded Music in Dance Performance.
Working with Children: Aside from the particular teaching style you’ll need to adopt to get the best performance from young dancers, you must work within the law. Make sure you’re familiar with all of the rules listed in The Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014 Act which came into force in 2015.
The right costume should express the principle theme of a performance and stand out on a large stage so explore all your options. Perhaps more importantly, those costumes need to be robust enough to withstand repeated performances and be comfortable for the dancer.
There’s nothing more frustrating than spending hours agonising over costumes and then finding they don’t fit well on arrival or that they don’t complement the dance, music or stage setting. The dress rehearsal allows you to be sure that the costumes look right on each member of the school or class and that they match the routine.
As you piece your show together and practice, conduct dress rehearsals as soon as possible. They give you the opportunity to see how your costumes work with the choreography, sets and lighting and make any final adjustments before the big show.
Final rehearsal – bad rehearsal - equals a good show!
Nude Leotards & Quick Changes
Nude coloured leotard or bodysuits are great for quick backstage changes and they are a fantastic foundation garment. It also helps, with those quick costume changes, if everything is well organised behind the scenes. Make sure your costumes are laid out or hung in the order they will be worn and that changing areas and passageways are free of any obstructions.
Involve the Family
In addition to a lot of clear instruction and practice, young or inexperienced dancers may need a lot of reassurance to overcome nerves and develop self-belief, so involve their families. They’re usually very supportive and keen to help their child practice and develop their confidence outside of class.
Pins and Grips
Always keep a stash of safety pins and hair grips in your pocket. They’re invaluable for dealing with any unforeseen wardrobe malfunctions or fixing hair that comes loose.
Expect the Unexpected
Even for most established dance and theatre companies, things go wrong so expect the unexpected and try not to panic! Dancers and performers know if anything does go wrong they carry on. Most audiences are incredibly sympathetic and understand that “the show must go on”!
Do you have any other tips you’d like to share with the Dance Depot community? Feel free to add them in the comments below!