Swing Discussion Boards > what makes a routine a good show?

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by luh, Apr 13, 2006.

  1. luh

    luh Active Member

    I'm really late in all sorts of things, and this one is especially late, because I'm going to need it tomorrow already.

    I've just made a quick routine, for my grandpa's 90th, which my brother and me want to perform. I thought it was ok, but my brother said, for social dancing it'd be more than great, but for a show it would be not good enough.
    He couldn't tell me what he thought a decent routine would be.

    So what is it what makes a routine a good show?
    It is just about the dancing, because it is the only thing we make!
  2. hepcat

    hepcat Member

    There are a number of factors, but if I had to choose one, I'd say musicality is probably the most important. Find music that has interesting breaks and put cool moves at those breaks. Make your steps/moves match what's happening in the music.

    Also, I personally tend to prefer synchronization over visually noisey performances (cascading moves aside), although chaos on stage has a time and place. Solos can be good, but people in the background should be relatively stationary.

    Good luck with your performance luh! Don't worry about tweaking it now. Just have fun.

  3. SPratt74

    SPratt74 New Member

    I think it depends on whether you are talking about a show or a competition. But if you are talking about a show I know if it were me sitting in the audience, I'd like to see a bunch of fun lifts and falls that type of thing. However, from what I hear about competition you can't do that. All I know is that from when I was a kid the most exciting thing to watch were the stunts. I love to see how people work the steps to though, but still it's the stunts that catch some people's attention I think. In fact, I was disappointed with DWTS when they took out all of the fun lifts and falls that they used to do, because that was so fun to watch! But again, it depends on why and what you are performing, but don't listen to me as a dancer since I'm new, but you can listen to me when it comes to learning what some of the audience members like!
  4. hepcat

    hepcat Member

    Yeah, stunts are definitely important for a show. Musicality alone isn't enough for a good performance if you're doing brain-dead moves. However, consider that one camp hollywood I went to, there were 3 teams competing. Everyone loved one team because they did tons of flashy aerials and stunts. The choreography was fun and inspired, however they were sloppy and not well synched. Another team was extremely synched and did only a few well executed simple aerials. It was tight, but not as impressive choreography. They took first though and the flashy team took last. So I think SPratt74 has a point: it can depend on whether it's a performance or a competition.

  5. NielsenE

    NielsenE Active Member

    As this show is for a family gathering, and not a "recital/competition/formal perfomance", you might want to also think about ways for the show to involve the audience more directly -- either setting up a few "plants" in the audience that you'll each switch to to start a snowball style thing at the end of the routine, or to act do some sort of comic acting during a music break that you can play off of,etc.

    The other thing to keep in mind for a show, is that a show tends to be about the audience. This means steps/figures/flash that is fun to watch -- not always the things that are the most fun to dance. (This is often a change of mindset problem for people who primarily social dance in dances with a very strong improvizational background -- argentine tango, some forms of swing, salsa, etc)
  6. It's Wonderful

    It's Wonderful New Member

    The "Texas Tommy" is a crowd pleaser, and any kind of catapult. Also, tandem charleston is very popular! And russian kicks are an easy lift to throw in. Good luck! I'm sure your family will love whatever you do - mine thinks my most simple social dances are fabulous :D

    As for what makes a good routine-
    Definitely some moves that are visually interesting (like partners exchanging places), spins, synced footwork, some solo vernacular jazz stuff (maybe the shim sham or jitterbug stroll?), a lift here and there, hit the musical breaks - and you've got a great routine!
  7. hepcat

    hepcat Member

    Your texas tommy and my texas tommy (also called an apache) must be completely different things. I wouldn't have thought of a simple turn with a hand change behind the back a crowd pleaser, but then again, maybe I'm not putting enough flare into it. Are you talking about a different move?

  8. It's Wonderful

    It's Wonderful New Member

    OK, not a basic texas tommy then. Whenever I do the TT, I usually expect a free spin out, catch the follows left hand at 1 1/2 revolutions, and spin in the reverse direction back to closed (usually a spanish drag, or just a swingout). Then it looks pretty cool ;) It was taught in a class routine a while back, and a lot of people lead that amalgamation here.

    But yeah, just the hand change is a little... lame.
  9. luh

    luh Active Member

    thanks for all the replies.

    I had already thought mainly of those things mentioned,

    musicality at first (that is the most important at social dances as well for me)

    the problem is - that flashy moves and aerials - that's two things my partner can't do, since he is usually a lead, and not a very good follower. we don'T have time to practice aerials. i thought of a basic throwout, which is very simple as well.

    we decided not to do it, maybe i just have too high goals, but i don't want to do just a good social dance on the stage.

    I need my partner HERE when i choreograph it, not at the other end of the country, so i can try things out....

    we considered jitterbug stroll, shim sham, or opus 1 as well but they are boring to watch, they are mainly cool for hepcats during a social night.

  10. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    Can I add just 2(ents more???

    In Pro-Am, the student is showcased, in couples, usually the woman, and so on . . .

    This is a family thing that I can gather . . . you and your brother for your Grandfather's 90th b'day. You both need to showcase each other . . . take turns showing each other off, and do some great moves mirroring each other.

    One last thing, and it may be difficult . . . your Grandfather already loves you, and will enjoy anything that you do . . . you could make it even more enjoyable for him if you could find some music from back in his day - something he knows - and put a routine to it . . . kinda like a skit/showcase.

    Again . . . my 2(ents . . . have fun . . .
  11. hepcat

    hepcat Member

    Hear Hear! I agree with Vince A. When performing for family (or I'd even say anyone else who doesn't dance) they'll be impressed with just about anything you do and enjoy it. I know my family loves to watch me dance anything, no matter how simple.

  12. hepcat

    hepcat Member

    Plus, if it's two guys and he doesn't follow well, there are lots of cool synchronized charleston things you can do. I've seen a couple of guys do a chrleston routine that everyone liked. Plus, if he's not around to practice with, you can call the moves like in a charleston line.

  13. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    Good thinking hepcat . . . and I especially like the idea of the Charleston . . . I'm sure that their Grandfather can associate with that dance!!!
  14. SPratt74

    SPratt74 New Member

    You mean I made a good point??? WOHOO!!! I must be learning the right things then lol! I'm glad I'm getting my money's worth! ;)
  15. Flat Shoes

    Flat Shoes New Member

    When doing a show for non-dancers, keep it simple and clear. Emphasize the big things that happens in the music.

    Do not try too complicated stuff. A non-dancing audience will not be able to understand what you're doing anyway.
  16. SPratt74

    SPratt74 New Member

    Yeah but I don't think that you want your dance to be to simple and clear because that can get boring fairly quickly. ;)
  17. SuperEdo

    SuperEdo New Member

    I think that applies to a dancing audience too. An endless succession of twisty, turny, complicated moves may seem interesting techincally, but too much of it just becomes a lot of twists and turns that get all jumbled up together in my brain. In the end, what makes an impression on me are the simple moves done really well. Do a lot of simple moves, but make them great.
  18. leftfeetnyc

    leftfeetnyc New Member

    A routine...whether for dancers or non, performance or competition should start small and grow. It's like the music you are dancing to. It doesn't come out with the big bang flash jaw dropping moment, it builds to that. A dance routine follows the same formula. Start off with moves that are more simple and subtle. From there grow to the flashier and bigger moves...even if you're doing a fairly simple routine, the showier stuff comes after the midpoint in the song.
  19. hepcat

    hepcat Member

    This is all pretty interesting. I think everyone is making good points. I've never choreographed a routine. I've helped tweak some and danced them, so I appreciate the difficulty. Maybe some day, I'll give it a shot.

  20. Diavo

    Diavo New Member

    Ah, I'm late on this.
    Veit, why not do a similar thing as in Swing Kids with the 2 best friends semi-dancing together and then dancing facing each other trying to out do themselves (that's what my bestfriend & I sometimes do)?
    That wouldn't require any aerials, but you could still show off...

    Happy 90th to him!

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