by Karen Musey
It’s the beginning of the 2016 competition season! Emotions are running high and everyone is itching to get the season underway. Help your studio’s competition season start smoothly with these tips:
Dress Rehearsal With Costuming
Judges see it every year – a dancer is performing well, and then their costume malfunctions onstage and their confidence is shaken. Always do at least one dress rehearsal in costume! Costumes don’t always move or behave in the way you expect them to. Sometimes fabric stretches more than anticipated, sometimes not enough. Checking this ahead of time will allow for adjustments to be made (sewing, double sided tape, etc!) and get rid of that awkward tugging onstage.
A benefit of this practice: while working with your costume in rehearsal, you might discover the costume moves in an interesting and unexpected way. Working with a costume in a compelling way really adds performance value to a piece. The more dancers treat their costumes as an extension of their work, the more strongly it shows up in their investment of character and artistic choices onstage.
Of course, always remember to pack a spare set of tights, a sewing kit, double sided tape, lots of hair pins and (an older pair of) shoes if available…even duct tape – you never know when it might be a lifesaver!
Prep Your Music
We’ve all been there – the dancers are in position, ready to strut their stuff and….music malfunction! Remind dancers to stay calm if this happens and to take a deep breath – they will be taken care of as quickly as possible. To help sidestep this scenario, make sure all music is burned properly, cued up, clearly marked and an extra copy is readily available.
Please be professional with cutting and editing music. Listen to the lyrics; do an online lyric search if necessary to clarify what is spoken and make appropriate cuts. Be highly cognizant of suggestive lyrics. Generally speaking, most competitions are family age-oriented and music choices should be reflective of that.
As technology progresses, studios are relying more and more on electronics. Backstage technicians are being handed more iPods and other music devices. It is not professional to expect the music technician to “fade” music at a specific moment if the time hasn’t been taken to cut it properly. Make their job easier with clear labeling, cuts and instructions – the dancers will thank you for it.