“Oops! It Happened Again!” by Emaleee Morem
As we prepare for SPRING!!, we are excited to learn more about the Guild’s SPECTACULAR workshops through interviews with our four instructors. Emalee is one of our instructors and her workshop is “Oops! It Happened Again!”; it is scheduled for May 22 at 12:00 (noon) CT.
How to prevent and gracefully deal with less than ideal performance situations. From costume malfunctions to props taking on a life of their own, Emalee will give examples of common "oops" circumstances, ways to prevent them, and ways to gracefully continue a performance if you encounter less-than-ideal situations. This is a lecture style workshop. Emalee will show examples of accidents with costuming, props, jewelry, etc., and ways to recover. It will be a hands-on showcase. She will have notes summarizing the workshop also. With over a decade of professional performance experience with multiple dance troupes, she has learned a lot of tricks and will have tips to share!
As dancers, we can say that no two performances are the same. Am I right? There are a gazillion ways it can go wrong (the stage is too big or too small, the floor is too cold or slippery, a bad hair day, a new costume that doesn’t cooperate, etc.).
Luckily, we have Emalee to the rescue! We didn’t want you to wait until May 22 to make your next performance error-proof, so here is a sneak peek interview from Emalee and her initial Oops! tips.
The last thing any of us want is a costume malfunction when performing. What is an important tip you can share to help me (and others) overcome our fear of costume failure?
The most important tip to overcome fear of costume failure is to practice the entire dance (makeup, hair, jewelry, props, shoes, and all) in full costume at least a day in advance, and RECORD IT so you can see how you look. This gives you the most accurate idea of how the performance will go. Is your veil going to be very ‘staticky’ and make your hair stand up? Is your earring going to snag on a piece of your costume or an accessory? Are your hooks secure or needing adjustment? Does spinning one way make your skirt open up further than you’d like and you realize you’d prefer to spin one way only? If you don’t film your performance, at the very least, put on your costume and practice the aspect that you’re most worried about.
What’s always in your dance bag to fix last minute costume or makeup malfunctions?
I bring my miniature sewing kit with me to every performance. A needle and thread is so much more reliable than a safety pin; although those are always in my dance bag, too! I also have a backup makeup stash in my dance bag that has bright lipstick, a dark eyeshadow, and blush, in case I accidentally leave my makeup bag at home. I also pack Static Guard or a nontoxic static cling preventing spray. I will talk about all the things I store in my dance bag at the workshop.
Can you share a story or experience when you had to overcome challenging performance situations?
One thing that’s always difficult and hard to control is music issues. It can be embarrassing for many reasons! I’ve had to run off stage during a show to hit “stop” so my CD would stop LOUDLY skipping. It was a brand-new CD I had just burned, too! It’s always important to have a back up to make sure you CAN be in control and you’re prepared. When I learned it wasn’t my burned CD (I tried the back up, too), but rather the sound system that was causing the issues, I still felt some embarrassment for having to run off stage while the audience had to listen to a skipping song. I felt less embarrassed since I knew it was not an old beat-up disk. My tip is to be sure to test your CDs. It’s also important to communicate with the sound technician if you have false stops in a song, or if you’re using two songs back-to-back to ensure they don’t shut down the lights or go to the next song too early.
Given your experience in performing, what questions should aspiring performers ask themselves so they can be better prepared?
The best way to prepare for any performance is to know what the floor of the performance space is like as well as the size of the space. I normally wear ballroom dance shoes when I perform, but sometimes they get very slippery, so I plan to wet the bottoms with some water just before going on to prevent slipping. This is also important to know in the case of outdoor performances; is it a hot stage, grassy space, or are there loose random rocks and sticks?!?. The size of the space is important to know both for traveling formations (even as a soloist!) and potential dance props. Plus, you need to know where the audience will be seated (one side, two sides, all around?).
Save the date and plan to register!
You’re invited to join Emalee whether you’re a first time dancer or someone who has been on the stage many times.
Spring Spectacular Workshops are now open for registration! Guild members enjoy discounted pricing!