As temperatures drop outside, many dance studios begin to plan their annual holiday show. For students, this performance is their chance to show off to family and friends, and the moment they’ve been working toward throughout the fall. While part of the thrill of live performances comes from their unpredictability, it’s helpful to be well prepared to ensure events run as smoothly as possible. Here are some suggestions. .
1. Be as inclusive as possible. When brainstorming themes, talk to your staff, get them to make suggestions and share ideas. This will help everyone to feel they’re part of the show, and will help generate excitement. Remember that the holiday show takes a lot of work, so you want to ensure that your staff, students and parents feel invested.
2. Once you and your colleagues have come up with your theme, include your parent committees. They can be extremely helpful in coordinating the details, be it costumes, logistics, promoting the show or chaperoning backstage.
3. Be sure to write down your game plan for the show. It’s helpful to work from the big to the small, from the show’s theme down to costume details and backstage logistics. If you write it down, it will be clear in your head, and thus better communicated to others.
4.Treat your performance venue as a special space. If you’re performing outside of your regular rehearsal studio, talk to your students about the venue and explain to them that it should be treated with the respect that a performance space deserves. If you’re performing in your regular studio, collaborate with your students to transform it. This can be done using props like curtains and risers, but it can also be done simply with everyone’s attitude. If everyone treats the space differently, it will feel transformed.
5. On show day, excitement levels will be high! This is part of the fun of holiday performances, and it’s helpful to have people around who can keep the excitement up, without letting it get out of hand. Be sure to have people backstage who can manage the energy flow.
6. For schools with multiple performances, remember each one is unique. Every performance should be treated as thoughtfully as the first. Everyone involved should take the time to focus, and remember that, although they might be familiar with the work, the audience is seeing it for the first time.
7. And a final easy tip: remind everyone to be meticulous about taking care of their belongings: costumes, shoes, make-up and other performance gear. After each performance put things away carefully and properly, so that everything is ready for the next show.