[ATTENDED May 19, 2012] Out of This World
My four-year old daughter Tabitha was in her first recital last night. Of all of the shows that our family has attended over the last few months, none has been as full of emotional highs and lows, laughter, shock and cuteness as this one.
Not bad for two minutes of a song called “Disco Galaxy.”
I have no intention of critiquing any performances on the stage tonight. Every girl and boy tried his or her best and they all did better than I could do. However, since this is my first amateur performance that I’ve seen as an adult, I want to make some general observations about on-stage performance.
TV shows and movies about performance always talk about basic rules for being on stage: SMILE SMILE SMILE! Smiling on stage and exaggerating your movements and crazy makeup are all essential. It actually gets a bit tedious (as I’m sure it does for the performers).
So based on TV and my recent live experiences I’ve taken some notes:
- Smiling. Yes. You absolutely MUST smile onstage–big, fake, over-the-top smiles. If you do not do so, you look sullen and grumpy. Even if you are just concentrating, you look sour-faced. I never would have believed that was true, but it certainly is.
- Confidence. Nothing projects as much as uncertainty. If you are confident and act like you are supposed to be doing something, people assume you are supposed to be doing it. Any mistake will be assumed to be part of the show–most people don’t know what the routine is supposed to be, anyway. So just act like you know what’ you’re doing and don’t hesitate!
- Timing. As above, do it fast! It’s better to not do the step than to do it late. Obviously this isn’t true for little kids who are just learning. They need to keep practicing the routine. But as mentioned above, the audience doesn’t know what you’re supposed to do; however, if you do it after everyone else, everyone know that you were late.
- Exaggeration. Learning a dance routine is tough. I wonder if the routine is taught in an exaggerated way. I never would have thought that a giant kick could look so much different from a 3/4 kick, but it really does. You really can’t overdo it in dance.
- Acting. Like with exaggeration, learning what the motions are supposed to say is clearly important. Fluidity and purposefulness all help with this–otherwise you look like you’re just jumping and waving your arms about.
- Costumes. Dance costumes flatter no one.
This show gave me a huge appreciation for professional dancers–while I never thought it was easy, I never realized just how hard even the seemingly simple steps are.