What takes a group performance to the next level for you?
Taking it to the next level for me includes awesome spacing and transitions but also that the group is together on telling the story/sharing the passion. i.e.: Do they all understand why they need to tell this story or go on this journey? Do they all share the same enthusiasm, commitment and level of energy? That is what I love to see.
What makes a performance stand out for you?
There are two reasons why I would give top marks to a piece. One: The dancers are clean, technically lovely and demonstrate good skills for their age group. Two: They are sharing something with the audience, could be joy, could be something that pulls at our heart strings, could simply be the love of dance. Sometimes, I give top marks for reason one, and sometimes I give top marks for reason two. For the performance that has both? That mark would be through the roof.
What qualities do you specifically look for in performances?
I love a performance to be well choreographed and that the costume / appearance reflects suits the overall vision. I look for clean lines, spacing, transitions. I look to see how the dancer is using their technique. And most of all I look for something that engages the audience and brings us in. You could be a totally non technical dancer but you can be super compelling to watch if you are committed and enjoy your time on stage.
What tips would you give to first time contestants?
Keep your eyes up and out over the heads of the audience, try not to dance too close to the “wings”, everyone there is actually rooting for you and wants you to succeed. Take that moment before you exit the stage to really look out and celebrate that you did it! Mistakes don’t matter! No one knows what the dance was supposed to be except for you and your teacher, so try to just enjoy being a dancer with something to show off – you and your dance.
What are you looking for in duo/trio/group routines?
When I watch a duet/trio I like to see the dancers work with each other, make eye contact, use spacing/levels, tell a story together. If they could dance it as a solo performance, I wont be as willing to give it top marks. For a group routine the first thing I look for is if they are all working at the same level, do they all have the same energy and are they all bringing the vision or telling the same story. Then I watch for the team work – spacing, transitions, levels, is there bumping? Or do they have it all together?
What should every dancer be thinking or remember every time they’re performing?
Remember we are on your side. We want you to succeed. Live in the moment and breath!!!
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