When you’re choreographing a new dance routine for an upcoming recital, you might ask yourself, “Should I try to make this funny?” You’ve probably seen some hilarious performances that thrilled the audience, but also some comedic routines that fell a little flat. There’s definitely value in adding humor into a recital – it’s a fresh experience for the audience and your students – but it can be pretty intimidating. If you decide to take the plunge and choreograph comedic dance routines, use these suggestions to help make them a success.
Get the Dancers On Board
You could create the most hilarious dance routines known to man, but if your dancers aren’t invested in the piece, they won’t go the way you planned. Before making a commitment to a comedic performance, talk to your students about it. Make sure they’re comfortable with the idea of a funny routine and are willing to commit to it.
“Dancers aren’t necessarily trained at making themselves appear goofy, nor are they always comfortable owning humor,” Abby Bender, artistic director of the Triskelion Arts and Schmantze Theatre, told The Dance Enthusiast. “If a performer can commit fully to whatever the ‘funny’ in the work is, be it concept or movement, then it will resonate and people will laugh… hopefully.”
Once your dancers are on board, they’ll probably have some great suggestions and be able to help you shape the piece.
Tailor Humor to the Audience
You should always consider your audience when creating a comedic routine. Grandparents probably won’t understand the same jokes as young adults. If it’s a more family-oriented performance, tailor the humor toward the tastes of parents. A piece that’s performed at a school should involve comedy that speaks to your students. You should also take care to make any humor appropriate. Any mature songs, movements or concepts should be avoided. Keep the performance family friendly so you don’t step on any toes.
Schedule a Test Run
No two people have the same sense of humor, so a performance that might leave your students in stitches could be lost on their parents. If you’re concerned about the reception the piece will have, consider inviting in a few people for a test run. Don’t use parents – you don’t want to ruin the surprise! – but instead bring in a few of your friends or other instructors. Listen for their giggles and use any feedback to tweak the performance and optimize the comedic effect.