1. Plan meticulously, but be flexible

Performing in a show for a big, raucous and appreciative crowd is a huge thrill for any dancer.  That kind of FUN, especially if it’s with live music is one of the reasons I dance.  Like most dancers, I love to perform for appreciative crowds and like many dancers, organizing a show like that seems a daunting task.  Luckily, I happen to be married to Cecilia, a dancer who does have the multi-tasking skills and radiant people skills that give her the ability to put on amazing shows to packed, adoring audiences.  What I’ve learned from years of watching (and assisting in countless ways) her work her magic, is that part of the secret is being flexible.  There are so many details to prioritize, it helps to have options and back up plans.

I hate talking about all the mishaps that happen behind the scenes because my opinion is that if the audience didn’t notice, it wasn’t a mishap.  Telling would be like giving away the secret to a magic trick.  So I am going to assume you are all magicians yourselves, so that I can pull back the curtain and talk about some of the challenges that come with performances. 

The simplest way to play your set list at various venues is to play it off an ipod or similar mp3 player.  I am open to finding an easier way, though, because I’ve dealt with some mishaps that come with playing your set list off an ipod.  I was the second performer at a show where we didn’t realize that the ipod had been put on random until I was on stage improvising to a song that was supposed to be for a group piece later in the show.  I was able to improv my way through my solo and with some tweaking of the remaining playlist, the audience had no idea that anything was amiss. 

Mixed up playlists, forgotten or malfunctioning costumes, props in the wrong places… The list could go on and on of what can go wrong at a performance and the list of solutions could be equally long.  The truth is mishaps will happen.  What helped us keep the appearance of a smooth show ( and believe me I have witnessed some less than smooth shows, as well) is the wonderful attitude everyone involved maintained even through the most challenging chaos.  We are a small group of performers who have a relatively clear idea of what everybody else on the team is doing, so when things go wrong we are able to make adjustments to keep the show rolling.   But more important than knowing what needs to be taken care of, is taking care of it with a positive attitude.  The best way to keep a positive attitude is to let go of expectations and be open to the best it can be, even if its not exactly how you planned it.