Now that most of you are getting ready for the contest portion of your indoor season, we thought it might be helpful to put together a list of helpful tips.
Sometimes it may be easy to lose sight of the little things while preparing for the big day. While getting five more drill sets taught, an extra 16 counts of body, or trying the clean that pesky triplet roll. Remember to set aside time for you and the students to learn what goes on leading up to the performance. While it may seem like small details, these events before the performance are what determines the mindset and focus of the members for their run.
Here are somethings that may help to relieve some of the stress and nerves.
Practice in your uniforms. Get to know how the material moves with your body, especially when doing body work. Are your wearing shoes, or going barefoot? If barefoot do you have something to put their shoes in while they perform? (I forgot this one numerous times)
Take some time to make sure everyone knows how to load and unload the truck. While they may have done this a thousand times, it’s never a bad idea to refresh. Everyone has a job to do and everything has a place to go. This may help prevent something being left at the school.
Review your warmup. Whether you do sectionals, sub sectionals, or full ensemble, make sure they know the flow. This will also help remind the staff of the amount of time they have to tune, and work on things. If you have electronics, are you taking a generator or battery pack with you? Not all warmup areas have power supplied to you. If you want to make sure you have your electronics members do any segments of the show or to do some last checks on the setup, this is the time to do so.
Pack a tool kit. It’s never a bad idea to have spare parts, heads, mallets and chords with you. We have all experienced how things can go wrong at the worst possible time. Having these things ready to go Incase can really help to calm the situation.
How do you get on and off the floor? Do the students/staff have defined duties? Are there parents helping with setup? Who checks the angles of the speakers? Who centers the floor? Did your review the show info to know if it is a vertical or horizontal time? To me this was a very important time as it can have a negative impact on the most important part of the day – your performance. Taking the time to work out every detail can be the difference between a good and so-so performance.
After the show your group must pick the tarp up and carry it out of the gym. You are not allowed to fold your tarp back onto your tarp cart, so don’t waste time standing and waiting with a cart you can’t use. Get it out of the way and help other people that may be having difficulty with their equipment.
I always found it helpful to take the last rehearsal before the first show and have a preview night. We would go through the whole process of unloading, warming up, setting up, performing, and getting off the floor. It was also not a bad thing to get a friendly crowd in front of them early as well. Parents love to see the progress over the season. What better way to get them involved then giving them a night to see their child’s hard work. It will also give you a chance to review the policies/ rules with them prior to the first trip.
Remind them it is okay to get nervous. No matter how experienced someone may be – whether they are a freshman in high school or a 22-year-old who is about to age-out – everyone gets nervous. After months of preparation, stepping onto the floor at your first performance is a big moment. In this situation, members need to trust that their training has prepared them for what lies ahead, and to not overthink. In other words, be confident despite the nerves you may experience.
Take a moment before you get to the show to see if you have the most up to date version, as well as making sure your user name and password work. After the performance you can listen to your sound files and be prepared for the judges meeting.
Directors and Staff – Be sure to thank all of the extra help you have getting on and off the floor. A lot of you couldn’t do what you do or use what you use without their help.
Last but certainly not least, remember to have fun.
Good skill to all and I can’t wait to see your productions grow.
Submitted by Adam Street, NJA Adjudicator and Designer/Educator