Why your child should dance in the SMALL shows
Performing in local shows is fun and beneficial for dancers of all ages. It’s the BIG, year-end dance recital, with fluffy costumes, that moms dream about before their child is even born. To be sure, valuable life lessons are learned at the big show; however, SMALL, local shows offer unique benefits, as well. They round out the performer in these practical ways:
1. Learn fast, then just do it. We spend an entire year studying our big recital number, but an appearance at the local shopping mall will likely be prepared in just a few rehearsals. There’s a short window of opportunity to become wonderful. Showtime comes quickly and the pressure is on – with no excuses. What perfect practice for life!
2. There’s nowhere to hide. The year-end recital stage is usually in a big auditorium at a local high school. The audience is a black, faceless vacuum just beyond the footlights; but in a community show, the audience is up close and personal. The wall between performer and audience drops. Dancers can connect eye to eye with the patrons, and take cues from their instant reactions, either positive, negative. Here’s where a dancer turns into a performer.
3. More chances for success and failure – It’s one big show in the spring for most dance schools. How good would a basketball player be if she played in only one game per year? Local shows let the dancer get up in front of people and experiment. With this practice comes comfort onstage.
4. The nuts and bolts of professionalism are learned on the small stage. Everyone knows that we have to do special hair and make-up for the big recital, and we have to really pump it up onstage. The local performance is where the dancer learns that every show requires that same level of commitment. The audience must get our best – every time – whether there are eight people or eight hundred (best performance, best appearance, best behavior). “Yes, you must have a perfect hair-do even if it’s 101 degrees and you’re dancing on asphalt.”
5 Adapt and make do. Sometimes there’s barely enough room to do a pas de chat, let alone a cartwheel, when you’re dancing on a flat bed trailer at the Italian festival. “Should I take a chance and throw that back handspring or will I hit the lady in the front row?” These decisions “on the fly” create a seasoned, fast thinking performer. Afterward the teacher should discuss the choices the dancer made and give feedback.
6. “Serve a purpose greater than your own self-interest.” (John McCain). Dance is personal; but, by appearing locally we get a chance to use our talents to help others. Out-of-state competitions and trips to Disney are nice, but there’s nothing like a beautiful, elderly person in a nursing home, who for ten minutes can enjoy life again as she’s watching a pre-schooler dance – to remind us that charity begins at home.
So…when your dance teacher offers your child the chance to be in an extra show, sign-up!