The post below was originally shared on Instagram and lead to some inspiring, thought-provoking comments - other people sharing how they feel about small-group performing at the end of class. If you're interested in this subject, I'd recommend reading them here!
Last week, I went along to Lizzie's Commercial class and Iris's Commercial Latin class, as a punter (perks of the job!). And at the end of their classes they introduced something that, in the past, I’d have said ‘wasn’t an AE Dance thing’. But…after last week, I think I’m going to change that.
In the final 5min of class, once we’d all practised the routine loads and asked our questions - they had us perform the choreography in smaller groups with the rest of the class sat at the front of the room, hollering their heads off!* See below for evidence...
My initial worries were that the dancers would feel exposed and stressed. I assumed I would feel exposed and stressed myself! BUT I WAS TOTALLY WRONG. IT WAS ABSOLUTELY-BLOODY-FANTASTIC!
As you can see from these videos, when we perform for each other, we GO WILD. As a member of that audience you are genuinely buzzing to see your class mates kick ass. Even if they’re total strangers! Watching someone “feeling themselves” as they perform is SO ENERGISING. You can’t help but show them love. Hence why it gets very noisy.
Once you experience that, as an audience member, it makes it a hell of lot easier to stand up and perform yourself. You catch that energy from each other. You see the smiles in front of you and you absorb the cheers (knowing it’s genuine because you were in their seat 24 seconds ago). And this lifts your confidence to a point that, what felt disgustingly scary 5mins ago, now feels really, really fun!
It’s important to see each other dance, to celebrate each other and to remind ourselves that the best thing about any performance is seeing a performer’s love for what they’re doing.
Here’s how I think Lizzie and Iris made a scary thing a confidence-boosting thing:
They set groups in a low-key and equal way. And by that I mean they just gave everyone a number or split the group based on where we were standing in the room (this IS a core AE Dance thing). There’s was no HORRIFYINGLY painful selection process. Hell no. We’re all had an equal space in that room and we are deserved to be celebrated equally.
They’re both super vocal when groups performed (and actively told us that cheering during performances was important!). It’s hard to not get excited and stuck in when surrounded by a crowd of cheering humans!
Before we started performing, they gave us plenty of time to nail the choreo and ask questions. So we didn’t feel like we were holding on for dear life by the time our group was called up. We felt ready!
As a dancer, I got a boost from the experience and left feeling proud of myself. As a class member, I felt love and pride for the people around me. And as a fellow teacher, I felt inspired by Lizzie and Iris. And I could feel their love for the group too.
If this has got you thinking "right, I think it's time I get to one of these classes", you can book here now 👇
*If you’re reading this and have just been a bit sick in your mouth, please don’t worry! NO ONE IS EVER GOING TO FORCE YOU TO PERFORM IN THIS DANCE SCHOOL! We respect and encourage any ’not for me thanks babes’ moments and are very happy for people to opt our of performing (as long as you still cheer like a mad(wo)man).