Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tips for preparing a performance - Other considerations

So this is essentially part 2 from the last blog. Again, I want this to be at a high level so I won't go into like choreography 101 or things like that... I'll cover those more detailed things in other blogs at some point.

All right... so you have figured out your music... what else do you need to think about?

You want to think of your costuming early. Sometimes it takes time for the ideas to fully develop and will morph as you're working with the piece. But thinking about this earlier rather than later is a good idea... b/c you don't want to be scrambling at the last minute to find costuming items or make them. As I've talked about in a previous blog, remember that the costume should ideally work synergistically with the performance to enhance the mood and the overall aesthetic of it all.

Remember practical considerations:
  • Will the venue allow for bare bellies? (Most do.)
  • Will you be using a prop? If so, does that mean that things are off limits because of it? (e.g., be careful with anything protruding like spikes if you're doing veils)
  • Will you be doing floorwork? If so, you need to make sure that your costuming is something that can allow you to go down and off the floor without hindering. Also consider whether you would wear kneepads and, therefore, whether the costume hides them well enough.

Those are just some ideas of things to keep in mind.

What accessories will you put with your costume? I'm putting this as a separate category because, sometimes, we forget about those. ;) Also think of the level and style of bling you want to wear. Do you want to go for mega sparkle? National Geographic look? Minimalistic? Just like everything else, it all should work in synergy. If your costume is already very sparkly, maybe your jewelry doesn't need to be... or you could go for the 'disco ball' effect (not necessarily bad... it depends on what you do).

Hair and Makeup
Again, in that blog on synergy and all that, I mention considerations. But, yes, think of those things early too... what if you need to learn a new technique for something specific that you had in mind? Or you need a certain product?

Shoes or barefoot
Sometimes it's a stylistic choice... sometimes it's a practical one... and sometimes people can only do one or the other. But think about it proactively. It may modify your costume and your moves if you do one versus the other. So keep that in mind. Also keep in mind that, for all that you were thinking of dancing barefoot, sometimes it just won't be possible. So have an idea of footwear that you could wear. For example, I did a performance a few years back where I had planned to be barefoot but the stage was really in a bad shape; I ended up dancing barefoot anyway and got a splinter... not fun...

Make decisions
There will be times when you will be faced with options and ideas that are of equal values... they will fit but it will give a different slant or just a smidgeon of a different flavor... or they could even be drastically different but just as good. Then you just need to make a decision. There's no right or wrong oftentimes so it's not uber easy to just pick (though it gets easier with time) but you just gotta do it. Listen to your gut feeling. It will rarely stir you wrong. And if that gut feeling is conflicted, just pick. ;)

Time and its pitfall
Say, you are preparing way in advance of a performance or you don't even know yet when you will be performing or whatnot so you have a loooooooot of time to get ready. That's both good and bad. It's good because you do have time. It's bad because you will have a harder time making decisions, fooling yourself that, since there's so much time, you can choose later. Then your progress may end up being slowed because you aren't making decisions that you should. So don't fall prey to that.

Another consideration is that (and that's my issue often), I end up not working on things that I should be working on because I have plenty of time... and then suddenly it's crunch time. One day, maybe, I'll learn. Though, I've come to realize that I work better under pressure so maybe a part of me is putting myself under pressure purposefully. The pitfall with that, though, is that life will interfere at precisely the wrong moment... thus putting even more pressure (and less time to work with).

Things that you want to do with this performance
I will talk about this in more details in a future blog but one thing that you may want to think about proactively is what you want to do/accomplish with this performance. Here, I'm not talking about the message that you want to convey but 1 or 2 simple things that you want to work on to make your performance skills progress. (This tip comes from Miss Tempest. I used to have too many things that I wanted to do with a performance and she wisely advised in the workshops in Indy to pick only 1 or 2... more than that is too much to process.) For example, it could be things like 'Not look down.' or 'Remember to smile.' Again, more on that in the future but it's something to keep in mind as you are developing your piece and, specifically, when you get close to performance time.

Past performance playlist
So I talked about the 'Performance ideas playlist' in the previous blog. The 'Past performance playlist' is a list of all the pieces that I've worked on in the past. The reason why I keep it is mostly for a convenient and quick way to find a past performance music piece (my music library is rather large). I keep it in chronological order. And it's fun to look back and see what you have worked on... you may eventually notice trends about your work and what inspires you. And that is information that can be very relevant for future performances. In addition, should you want to revisit a piece, it's right there! ;)

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