I think there are a few reasons why this particular performance went so well, namely:
- The primary school we were performing at is just lovely, their fete is lovely and they therefore draw a lovely crowd. The sort of people who probably appreciate a dance school where the kids have genuine rather than showbiz smiles on their faces, where the moves are age appropriate and the stylings are gender-neutral, and nobody gets upset if the littlies stare vaguely into space while their teacher does all the actual tapping.
- This is our 6th performance at this particular fete, so we really knew what to expect. There were NO technical problems. The boards went down easily and quickly, the ipod/sound system worked, no tap shoes were forgotten: in other words, we were very well prepared.
- The choreography was pitched at the right level in terms of audience entertainment and what the dancers were capable of performing and remembering - the remembering part is not to be underestimated when you're tap-dancing!
- I didn't talk at this one. Sometimes I think I should, you know, talk my school up, but I never feel I do a very good job of it and this show I decided to let the kids' dancing speak for itself. That's what people want to see, right? Not the crazy purple lady burbling on, just the cute kiddies and their tap skillz.
- My injured foot didn't play up. All week I'd been nursing a sore left foot, and ended up having an x-ray for a suspected stress fracture in the 5th metatarsal. Happily, it turned out to be just tendonitis in that area, and coddling it all week was probably a very good thing (my feet don't get much rest otherwise) because, as I expected, when it came to performance time, a rush of adrenaline took over and I completely forgot about my sore foot. I was hugely relieved to find that my foot felt absolutely fine afterwards, and in fact didn't start hurting again until the next tap lesson on the Monday. But it is mending, and school holidays will do it a world of good.
- Finally, and I think most importantly, the tap kids are so ace. From the adorable Littlies who hold my hand and get slightly stage-struck but who melt the audience's heart with their cuteness, the Beginners who sort of know what to do (but haven't quite mastered doing it all at the same time) who smile and jump around with adorable enthusiasm, the More Than Beginners who are bursting with pride at how they are doing fancier footwork now and can't wait to show everybody, the Intermediates who I think of as my Broadway class because they possess skills and aplomb, and finally the Advanced Group who are starting to really wow the crowds with how good they are and are giving the other groups (and parents of the younger tappers) something to aspire to. I always say it, but it's true: I have the nicest families tapping with me. I love those tap kids.
Thanks as always to my Number One Crew: production manager Nell and head roadie Fixit, and to all the wonderful tap families who came and danced. More photos here.