Preparing for the end of year concert is something that many dancing teachers forego, simply to avoid the stress of it all. We on the other hand do it because our pupils absolutely love it. It is the high light of their year and it is tradition in our studio to do a show right before the students go on holiday, just to keep them working and motivated right into the end of the year.
Some studios choose to do a show once every two years and make a huge production out of it. Although we have thought about doing this, we decided that it would be best to focus on getting our pupils exam work up to scratch.. We focus most of our attention at the beginning of the year on exam work, then festival and badge tests and only use the last two to three months of the year to prepare the students for our concert or end of year show.
Our concerts are never too well rehearsed, but our focus is to let the pupils express themselves and most of all have some fun, while also getting the experience of performing in front of an audience, which is very important in any young dancers life. After all, isn't that why most children start to dance in the first place - to be on the stage? We also put a lot of focus on keeping the audience entertained. The idea of a year-end concert is not to have a perfect performance, but rather a performance that everyone can enjoy together, including irate fathers who have been dragged away from their sport to come and watch their children dance.
Although our pupils don't have long to prepare, we start preparing up to a year in advance. Firstly we pick a theme to work around. Having a theme gives the concert some continuity, rather than jumping from item to item randomly.
Once we have decided on a theme, we spend a large amount of time getting suitable music together and casting our dances according to what types of dancers we have in the studio. Fortunately our concerts are very varied, as we teach many different forms of dance, so it is relatively easy to keep the audience entertained.
Here are some tips that you may find useful when planning your end of year show.
It works well to start the show with the slower or weaker numbers and work up to a high just before interval, so that the audience want to see more.. After interval try to stay away from too many slow numbers, as this is where the audience will start to get restless. Work your upbeat numbers in the second half and end the show with something extra special that will have your audience feeling good as they leave the theatre.
Speeches need to be kept to a minimum. After all the audience wants to see a dance show, not listen to formalities all evening.
Make sure that all your music is properly cut, edited and that it flows nicely from one number to the next. Try to keep your show flowing. Instead of closing your curtains after each number, try to blend one number into the next one. This will also teach your pupils how to enter and exit a stage gracefully.
Finally, you need to remember to have lots of fun. Although the last few months of the year is tiring, it can be very rewarding as well. We introduce new things, and even let them try making up steps of their own.
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