What Happens If …
The competition dance life we experience here at ProAm Dance Studio is no doubt full of fun and excitement … there’s nothing like the feeling of leaving your heart out on the dance floor in front of the judges after months and months of rehearsals! For our dancers, the event experience is made up of those moments and so much more, from the hallway-practices to the snack-and-selfie breaks to the awards ceremony. But of course with all of those moving parts, surprises can and do happen. Practice and preparedness are our strongest safeguards when it comes to powering through when unexpected things happen.
Being prepared means we are equipping our competition dancers with more than the skills needed for the choreography; we’re teaching them how to problem-solve at a moment’s notice. They are learning how to think on their feet in more ways than one! In our experience, scenarios like the ones below are sometimes unavoidable … but also unpredictable. As teachers, the best thing we can do with the team is talk through the “what-ifs” and discuss solutions, while being careful not to take our focus away from the dancing. We want to find the sweet spot of being prepared without placing undue stress on the dancers.
So what if one of these scenarios happens? We handle it and keep dancing! Here’s how we strategize with the dancers about how to keep a cool head:
What happens if … a teammate is absent? With a last-minute absence, we discuss “dancing around the gap” as if that person were present, or measure whether we’re able to completely re-block the dance. Before taking the stage, we’d walk through the dance together and make any minor adjustments.
What happens if … a costume malfunctions? Prior to taking the stage, the dancers are learning to check and re-check their costumes, tights, shoes, and accessories, but if something still goes wrong, they have a choice to make: if at all possible, they are to keep dancing and ignore the problem. If the problem is too severe to overcome, then they make a quick exit.
What happens if … you feel like you can’t dance? If it’s nerves, we would advise our dancers to press through it. The nerves usually disappear! But when it comes to illness or serious injury, it’s better to bow out with your chin up than potentially make the problem worse.
What happens if … the music stops while you’re dancing? The dancers know that the show must go on, so if the music stops, they understand to keep moving and stay in sync. Non-verbal communication is key, but they have permission to count out loud if it helps!
At ProAm Dance Studio, we’ve learned through experience how to handle unexpected challenges gracefully, and we want to ensure our competition team dancers can do the same. Through practice and preparedness, our dancers are able to become more and more skilled at keeping their cool when surprises pop up. It’s a skill that will never go out of style!