I got a surprise (pleasant, as it turns out) the other week when a dance show sponsor told me she had room for me to do TWO dances in their up-coming show. Wow! This changed everything! Now the problem was not narrowing down my music choice to only one number. I could do both fast and slow, or pop and classical, or drum and lyrical. Now the choice was; which two songs can I confidently dance to without wearing myself out, either physically or mentally, during one, leaving me unprepared for the second?
I realized that this is a more advanced challenge that comes once you get past the basic panic of first performing in public, and that I was ready to think about it. Although I had danced two dances in an evening before, it was rare and I was still working on through all the problems of just getting out there. I’m sure my early second dances were of questionable quality. Now the prospect of two spots on a lineup sounds like fun and not punishment. How to contrast your skills? What opportunities to dazzle the audience? And as always, what costuming will be possible? The choices multiply with two dances in one evening.
I’d say that the only real guidelines I’d give are that you want to have contrast between presentations and that it’s good to have the more impressive piece to be the second of the two. When I say “presentation”, I’m encompassing musical sophistication, dance skills difficulty, costume selection, but not necessarily length. These goals give you more things to think about in addition to the stuff we all consider while selecting music and learning steps and combinations- where does what I’m doing fit in the spectrum of things I can do? What does it contrast with?
I had to scramble a bit to make my choices in time for the show. It would be so much easier if I’d keep up to date the database of the songs I like to dance to, sortable by length and style. I should keep track of the key combinations and moves I enjoy doing, annotated with notes about mood, speed, style, maybe more.
And certainly I should keep a notebook of what’s in my costume closet so when I shop, I know what I’m missing or what would match. Wouldnt it be great to have a flip-book (like kids have of animal heads, bodies and feet) of tops, bottoms, belts, scarves, and jewelry so you could visualize putting together outfits from your pieces? Clear plastic leaves to overlay a picture of yourself would be great!
So there’s always more to conquer while on the path to better dancing and performing. Hang in there and enjoy the journey!