Elise’s article: From Rehearsal to Performance Making the Shift
source Shifting all your hard work in the studio into the realm of performance can be quite a daunting task. Just like switching on the ignition and shifting up a gear, performances require an extra level of focus, commitment and stamina. In fact, performing can be one of the most grueling parts of being a dancer, but also one of the most rewarding.
source site Learning dance work for performance can be very different to taking a technique class or learning a sequence of movement. There are many things to consider depending on the performance circumstances and stylistic or thematic ideas behind the work. When learning repertoire or set choreography a dancer will inevitably feel the importance of remaining true to the original material, not only in the accuracy of the movement, but also in the movement quality. If you are learning choreography that was created for another person or group it is also important to find ways to make that movement ‘sit well’ or feel natural on your body. Finding ways to make that movement your own may allow you to deviate slightly from the original material whilst still maintaining the original quality and integrity of the piece. Being comfortable and feeling ownership of the movement you are performing is very important when dancing in front of an audience. The audience can be very perceptive and any feelings of uneasiness or awkwardness can be conveyed through body language and become obvious to the audience, so rehearsal is the best time to focus on finding your own unique pathway into the work. If you are lucky enough to work with a choreographer to create a performance piece, the rehearsal or creation process will be a first hand opportunity to embody the intention and ideas of the choreographer. It is also a great time to experiment and try out different movement approaches and interpretations. The choreographer may respond to these variations by incorporating them into the piece or they may even spark new ideas and directions in the choreography. Finding out exactly what the choreographers’ ideas are for the piece may at first involve talking with them in- depth about the look, feel, images, dynamics and themes that they envisage for the work. In some cases you may even need to conduct some of your own research to find out more about a particular theme or concept.
Once a piece of choreography has been learned or shaped, a preparatory period will
usually take place to ensure that the dancer becomes well rehearsed and equipped
with all the necessary tools to reach their performance peak by the time they arrive
on stage. Having a rehearsal plan or rough timeline will help you make the best
use of your available rehearsal time so that you don’t feel rushed towards the end.
It is equally important however not to reach your ‘peak’ too early. Jotting down
some aspects of your performance that you would like to have accomplished by
a particular date is great way of keeping track of your rehearsal process. Breaking
your piece down into separate components can also prevent you from feeling overwhelmed by the overall complexity of a performance piece.
At the beginning of each rehearsal it is good to remind yourself of any notes or
requests from the choreographer, teacher or rehearsal director from the previous
rehearsal. This will keep those important corrections fresh in your mind as you work
through the piece.
As a general rule, the very first time you run your piece at the beginning of each rehearsal is an indication of how you would look in performance (if you were to enter the stage at that point in time). This is a good way of tracking your improvement. In other words, if you start with a ‘cold run’ each rehearsal and then spend the rest of the time ironing out the problem areas you will begin to notice improvements each time and the success of these runs will also indicate your readiness for performance. Things like stamina, movement accuracy and strength will improve significantly during this time. If you spend time outside of rehearsals, either visualising or thinking reflectively about your performance and the choreography you may also begin to notice greater shifts in your improvement throughout the preparation period. Some dancers find it helpful to keep a reflective diary or journal to help them focus on particular ideas or skills and analyse their own strengths and weaknesses.
As the preparation period progresses it is a good idea to start to think about your performance quality. If you are being asked to convey a meaning, or a sense of character or narrative in your performance you need to build this into your rehearsal process. It will simply be too late if you leave it until the day of the performance. Now is the time to be exploring how your character would perform a particular task or movement, expose a raw emotion or gesture meaningfully to the audience. You may also like to experiment with creating specific images or metal pictures to recall whilst you are performing in order to help you access the right emotion or dramatic intention. Inviting some peers, family or friends to your final rehearsals is also a great way to get some feedback and help you transition into a performance mode prior to getting on stage. Once you know the movement inside out you can then free up your mind and start to concentrate on things like focus, eye-line, pace, pause, punctuation and projection. By dedicating time in rehearsal to these finer details, you may give yourself the performance edge that you are looking for.
performance vested stock options and earnings management The Performance
When the big day finally approaches, if you have taken active steps towards your own personal learning and growth as a performer throughout the rehearsal stages, you will arrive backstage feeling well prepared and confident. Nerves may still play their part, but you can be reassured that you have backed yourself up with a thorough knowledge of all aspects of your performance. The only thing left to do now is to prepare your body, breath deeply, focus your mind and get ready to enjoy the wonderful experience of performing for an audience.