Know Your Audience
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The Audience Exercise
Have you ever wondered what goes on in your head when you're dancing? A better question to ask is "What's my audience thinking?"
I believe that in order to be successful at dancing, you have to successfully communicate your dance to your audience. I've come up with 3 questions for you to ask yourself before you start dancing.
These questions help you think about your audience and how to adjust your dance to fit your audience better.
Answer these 3 questions:
Who's watching me dance and where am I dancing?
How are they reacting to my dance?
What can I do to 'Wow' the audience so they recognize my style?
The moment you realize who your audience is, you can create and perform your dance with purpose instead of creating whatever you feel like. You can actually start a topic of discussion with your audience members by creating something that they resonate with.
Here's an example of how I would answer those questions:
1. Who's watching?
No one's watching and I'm free-styling on a video. In this case, my audience will be wherever I post the video. This could be YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, or anywhere you can watch a video. I can also be an audience member but I must watch it as if I wasn't myself. This helps me get used to viewing things with a different perspective.
2. How are they reacting?
I can read comments on my video and listen to what my audience is saying. It's a good way to gauge my performance. If they like it, I'll keep doing more while experimenting with new moves. If they LOVE it, I try not to stray too far away from what I'm doing.
As a dancer, it's tempting to want to change your moves a lot because you want to grow. When you have an audience that loves you for one thing, make sure you don't take that away from them. Don't forget that you are also an audience member.
You could watch yourself and say, "I actually didn't like this move, but I love this other move. Maybe it could be improved by changing this arm angle, etc." Always pay attention to the details and results of your dance.
3. What can I do to 'Wow' them?
After reviewing the move I liked, now I have to present it in a way where it makes an impact. Let's say my move was a new tutting sequence. I would think about a song that would compliment my moves. I might pick a song with a lot of sharp, percussive sounds to match my sharp and quick angles.
I will test it out by filming another video to see how the audience reacts. If the result wasn't good, I'd go back and try changing the moves to make them more visually appealing. You can also show your moves to other dancers and get their opinions because they can also help contribute ideas.
Once I find the move that gets the best results, I only focus on that and practice it until I feel like its perfected. It won't be the best, but I'll try to make it as close to perfect as possible, then show it to more people and repeat this process until I have 'Wowed' my audience or until people recognize me for that move.
I know that recognition and "wow-ing" an audience are extremely important for successful dancing. The whole purpose of "wow-ing" someone is to help them remember you and for them to understand that that move is something they can relate to.
You're communicating a signature move that they can understand and it makes them feel good when they can understand your dance. Think about your favorite dancer. Why do you look up to them? How well do you understand their dance? You'll start to see that the more you understand someones style, the more you appreciate it. Same thing goes for the audience. If they can understand it, they'll appreciate it.
And that is the thought process that I go through when I'm creating moves or choreography. Fortunately, since I've been dancing for a long time, I've figured out the most efficient way for me to create wow moments. Your focus is the key point. If you're not focused on wowing your audience, it will never happen. Pretty straightforward, right?
You can apply this exercise with anything dance related. As long as you know your audience and what they want, you can deliver it and they'll appreciate your efforts. It's always good to give back to your audience.
If you'd like to discuss this in detail, feel free to leave a comment below or message me through the contact page.
Have fun practicing this!