Organizing a performance group to represent your club at community events can provide enormous benefits to your club as well the places you perform. Many community events need entertainment, and dance provides a fun and enriching experience. For you, public performances are great for raising awareness about your dance style and your group. Plus, there may already be some members of your group who are just itching to show off their dancing skills. Let them have the limelight!
Once you've got your group together and practicing, offer their performances to dance festivals, community festivals, folk festivals, libraries, after-school programs, and retirement homes. When booking a show, there are many considerations to be made. Be sure your entire group and the community event coordinator are ready to commit to the expectations of the performance before you sign everyone up for it. Ask the event coordinator if there will be appropriate flooring, enough space, and a sound system (or any other requirements) for the dance show. Find out if you will be required to rehearse or attend planning meetings before the event, and if so, can they be scheduled at a time when you and your performers are available. Also, arrange for a green room or meeting space for your dancers to gather before the show and get ready. Ideally this would be a break room with snacks, water, chairs, bathrooms, and a changing area. Communicate about costumes, props, CD/ipod needs, performance duration, speaking opportunities, your group’s name on the event’s advertisements, waivers and photo releases, if you can hang banners and pass out flyers, and whatever else you imagine may be involved with the engagement.
Always consider your audience. Costumes and music selection must be age-appropriate, so find out who is going to be watching the show before you start planning it. When desired, create an audience interaction section for them. Get people out of their seats, clapping, and trying a move or a step with you. Be sensitive to everyone’s abilities—for example, you could give children something easy to do like the limbo, or you could give people with disabilities a hand gesture to try.
Take pictures of your performances and post them on your site as a way of attracting new performance opportunities. When possible, you can charge an“honorarium”, a small fee. This money can be given to charity, paid to performers, or kept in a special fund to help support the performance group. Common purchases are for costumes and travel expenses for a special performance.
Performing is great fun and wonderful exposure for your group. It’s also a big responsibility and a potential liability. It is highly recommended that you put your performance agreement in writing. ASDA’s resource library has a sample contract that you can use.