It’s that time again, signing up new dancers, thinking of the incredible year to come and now… what are we going to do!? What performances will the troupe do?! What themes or shows will the company dance to this year? AHHHH! Decisions, decisions!! One of the hardest tasks as a dance teacher is picking the perfect themes or shows for a new dance year. It could be rather intimidating going through the countless shows or possible themes that would best showcase the growth and talents of your dancers. How does one pick a dance theme. There are several approaches you can take to help ease the process. The following are some of the possible areas you can draw your themes and show ideas from:
1. What’s new on Broadway? – Shows are constantly being advertised for Broadway and that is one of the perfect sources on new releases or hot shows ideas to hit the stage. Keeping up with the latest Playbill news is sure to give you the jump on what will take the world by storm and put your dance company ahead of the performance game!
2. The Classics– You can never go wrong with the classic musicals. Some shows have never stopped being a hot commodity in the world of dance and theater. Musicals such as Wicked, The Little Mermaid or Once on this Island will never go out of style, will always be fun to produce and not to mention a treat for all audiences.
3. Seasonal– The time of the year is another thing to keep in mind!! Is it the Holidays? Spring time? Keeping these points on the table will help guide your thoughts and ideas and possibly determine the ideal show for your troupe. A snow themed backdrop for instance would be a perfect way to tell your rendition of Nutcracker or any other wintery idea you’d like to perform… maybe a Flowery setting to welcome the arrival of spring…? A Haunted House or graveyard for that spooky dance number to celebrate all hallows eve…?? The dances steps almost create themselves!
4. Fun Locations and Events-Other things to consider are different destinations or fun activities to do. You can ask yourself, is there a particular destination you always enjoyed the culture of? Hawaiian? Africa? Europe? How about a fun event? The Circus? Mardi Gras? A hootenanny? Under the Sea? You can use these locations or activities to create the foundation of what you would like to do for your performance.
5. Retro– How about getting far out with some fun 50s Doo Wop, 60s Tie Dye, 70s Disco or a 80s montages? Throwback events are fun and allow parents and grandparents to relive special times in their lives and see what their friends or family members would like under that nostalgic light.
7. Mix and match… make it your own– It’s easy to get stuck in a dance rut, performing the same show year after year. Instead, how about selecting several different scenes from well-known shows?! How about songs from popular artists? For instance, say you’d like to put on a Halloween themed production, begin by jotting down some fun ideas monster related shows/musicals/songs that are associated for this spooky time of the year: Rocky Horror Picture Show, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” Phantom of the Opera… or maybe the Monster Mash! After writing down your ideas, think about some of the more memorable musical scenes from each production. So let’s take the Rocky Horror Picture Show for instance. One of the more well-knows dance numbers from this particular musical is the “Time Warp.” As a Halloween enthusiast, I would be over the moon to see a local dance company’s rendition of this timeless dance. Next, put in some of the hits like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”! Nothing would get a crowd on their feet faster than hearing a classic tune and watching their friends and loved ones get down to it… makes for great memories as well as social media posts!
8. Your Scenic/Prop Providers– Many scenic and prop houses cater to dance studios in particular so it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to find inventory that are vibrant, abstract, whimsical that were made especially for dance. Your regular consultant is a great source for performance ideas. Being in the business for a number of years gives them that extra knowledge and allows them to help you in any way they can. Don’t be afraid to ask!!
There you have it! A few tidbits that may help narrow down the search for your next show. No need to fear drawing a huge dancing blank on your stage, it just takes stepping outside the box and letting your imagination take off. Although making the ideal show is the goal, it is important to keep in mind that dance is fun and meant to be enjoyed on every level of the process, even the technical parts. The only one that can limit you is you so let those creative juices flow.