What makes a performance stand out for you?
For me a stand out performance is one that transports me out of the theatre and into the world that you create through your dance and performance. It’s a much easier task to accomplish when you are performing musical theatre or a character routine. But that does not mean that it is impossible to achieve for other dance styles. Contemporary, lyrical and modern routines should always have a concept or idea that you are trying to promote throughout the dance. The dances that clearly identify these themes or concepts and translates them to me are always stand outs in my mind.
What takes a group performance to the next level for you?
Group performances can be tricky. The ones that are elevated beyond the rest are those where all members of the group are dancing at the same level and with the same amount of passion and enthusiasm. I tend to watch the back of the stage during group routines, this way I can asses the quality of the group as a whole and not the soloist or group of dancers in the front.
What qualities do you specifically look for in performances?
I always try to think about the appropriateness of the entire performance. Did the music, steps, costuming, level of ability and performance quality all match? If one of these elements contradicts the rest it is hard to enjoy my role as an audience member.
Are there any special tips you would give to first time contestants?
Remember everything. Your teachers would not put you out on the stage if they did not believe you were ready. So listen to them. They will tell you what you need to do to improve and improving should be one of your only goals. So remember what they say and apply it, then you will improve.
What are you looking for in duo/trio/group routines?
I want to see a connection between the dancers. This means being able to have eye contact on stage and to each provide half of the energy required on stage. It should never look like one member of the team is pulling the others weight. Work together, match your energy levels and your style of dance.
What should every dancer be thinking or remember every time they’re performing?
Remember that you have two goals. Number one is to feel proud of yourself. Know that you tried your absolute best no matter what the outcome. If you fall onstage, get back up and keep going. That is certainly something to be proud of. The second goal should be to have fun. In ten years you want to remember how much fun it was to dance and perform at your age, you do not only want to remember the feelings of stress that consumed you before going onstage. So relax and enjoy yourself.
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