2021 Competition : Important Notes for Teachers
The Regional Finals Adjudicating Panels will be looking for an outstanding and complete theatrical performance when awarding dancers Honours for entry to the National Finals. The following notes have been compiled in conjunction with the Regional and National Finals judges and it is hoped that teachers will find them helpful.
Adjudication: The three adjudicators on the panel will be judging separately, without conferring. Their individual assessments, supported by their knowledge and experience, are combined and the announced result represents a majority response to the performance witnessed.
Performance: The adjudicators will be looking for a complete performance. It should display exceptional technique for the age group concerned and be strong, confident, theatrical and entertaining, with a good standard of body basics, appropriate costuming and of an excellent musical standard. Interest must be engaged at the outset and sustained until the very end.
Music: Avoid using popular music because unavoidable comparisons with professional performances will be inevitable. Music should be age appropriate and the use of inappropriate language is unacceptable. The quality of musical recordings is crucial. They should be of a suitable length and without cuts that destroy the shape, development and ending of the music, spoiling the performance. CD recordings are not always reliable and, if used, it is essential to have a backup for use in an emergency.
Make-up: Theatrical make-up should be appropriate, enhancing the features to replace the colour the lights have removed. Avoid heavy make-up, blue and green eye shadows (which “close” the eyes), heavy brown blusher and pink, purple or brown lipsticks (which become grey under the lights) and the use of face and body glitter/oil, unless relevant to the theme of the dance.
Costumes: Costumes of the correct length should be well fitting with head-dresses and hairstyles that compliment the dancer. Choose a well-fitted tutu that sits on the hips. Simple tutus and headdresses are preferable to over-elaboration. Loss of an item of costume, or loose shoe ribbons, will mark down the performance. The correct underwear is essential in all sections.
Props: If props are to be used at all, they should be flame-resistant, not exceed 10 kg, be appropriate and be a fully integrated part of the performance. Hand props should be relevant to the situation showing appropriate size, shape, period, weight and texture of the article: judged by the way they are handled, they should be convincing. Dangerous props, such as naked flame, glass, rice and real flowers must not be used. Any props that require the stage to be swept after use are discouraged.
To include Classical Ballet/ Stylised Ballet/ Modern Ballet. Any style of Ballet may be danced in this section. One dance only per competitor.
CLASSICAL BALLET should include Adage and Allegro. Costumes should ensure that every aspect of Classical Technique is clearly visible. Repertoire is not allowed.
STYLISED BALLET. A communication of an idea through movement, danced with Classical Technique when using hand props or with a traditional style, such as Hornpipe, Spanish, Tarantella. Soft or pointe shoes must be worn.
MODERN BALLET. A fusion which combines Classical Ballet and Modern Ballet genres but may be danced with a parallel line of leg.
PLEASE NOTE IN THIS SECTION SOFT OR POINTE SHOES MUST BE WORN
A dramatic, artistic or sometimes humorous presentation of:
- A story /character from any book, poem, play, film, history, cartoon, original created theme, etc.
- The mannerisms and essential features of animals, birds, insects, reptiles, virus, and topical
interpretations of abstract themes.
Appropriate technique for the character should be used. This is a classical dance style.
Technically the work may reference Limon / Horton / Graham / Cunningham / Release / Flying Low / GaGa or any other recognised Contemporary technique and should be underpinned with a strong classical base. The work should show an understanding of choreographic content and a clear reference to the defined principles of contraction and release, fall and rebound, use of breath and gravity and successive or initiated movement. Whilst there is an athletic strength to the work, acrobatic work should be minimal and used only to enhance the choreographic work. Floorwork should be embraced and used to make clear transitions/patterning.
Music: The range of music choices for contemporary is very broad. Classical, contemporary, folk, world, popular music are acceptable. Spoken word, text, or found sound are all to be encouraged.
Costume: This should be considered to be part of the design of the overall piece of choreography and should complement and enhance the movement vocabulary. The style can be unique/original and should make the aesthetic look of the piece coherent. Socks may be worn if they are safe.
Titles: A title for the piece should be given to describe and inform the audience of the choreographic intention.
Following the technique of Ruby Ginner, classical Greek is performed barefoot and essentially showing the use of opposition and relaxation through the movement which was core to Ms Ginner’s work.
Dances should reflect the title. Myths, studies from nature and modern-day themes are acceptable, together with the accompaniment of many different genres of music or the spoken word, provided the movements are given their appropriate interpretation and relate to one or more of the seven styles of this technique. (The seven styles of Greek dance are;
Lyric, Athletic, Bacchic, Pyrrhic, Choric, Ritual, Tragic)
There is an exciting world of Classical Greek beyond Lyrical to explore!
The range of choreographic styles and techniques is diverse. Modern, Lyrical, Jazz, Commercial, Hip Hop and all styles of Modern Theatre Dance are appropriate. These styles are informed by the choice of music, and from that the choreography should reflect the movement vocabulary. Acrobatic/Gymnastic movements are acceptable but must be combined with a recognisable dance technique and a theatrical and artistic quality. However acrobatic ‘tricks’ should be minimal and not become the main focus of the choreography. All routines should observe safe dance practice and MUST be appropriate for the age and ability of the performer. Suggestive music and choreographic content are not acceptable for a festival platform. Music with offensive lyrics is also not suitable.
Lyrical Modern work should show flowing movements that purely express the emotion of the music. Gymnastic and acrobatic work is not allowed, and floor work should be kept to an absolute minimum.
Music: The choice of music is most important within this genre in relation to the age of the performer. They should be able to understand the context of the lyrics or style of the instrumental in order for them to give a true interpretation of the music.
Costume: Costume choices should be relevant and appropriate for the style of music. There should be some coherence between the design, colour, embellishments and also a responsible and appropriate acknowledgement to the age of the performer and what they are wearing.
Performance: Expression should complement the style of the music as reflected in the choreography and there should be a journey in the storytelling of the dance.
All traditional music, songs and technique appropriate to the country of choice are acceptable. Younger competitors are expected to demonstrate traditional performances. Seniors may introduce theatrical performances that are clearly based on a national tradition.
Song & Dance (Pre-Juniors, A & B) and Musical Theatre (C, D & E)
- The song needs to be age appropriate.
- Songs with a narrative work best - which usually come from musicals or movie musicals.
- Over-staging and gesturing of the song is discouraged. It should have a natural heightened feel that has spontaneity.
- Songs should be in a key that suits the performer.
- Jumping up and down the octave if a song is too high really doesn’t work.
- Performers should be encouraged to research the context and style of the song.
- The song shouldn’t be overly cut so that the text makes no sense.
- Use basic acting skills e.g. Who am I? Where am I? Why am I telling this story? What is my ‘want’?
- The dance should come as an alternative way of expressing the theme of the song.
- There shouldn’t be dance for dance sake.
- The choreography doesn’t have to have the kitchen sink in it!
- The song SHOW OFF could have split leaps in but ON MY OWN or WHY GOD WHY? certainly does not.
- It is certainly NOT 50% dance 50% singing.
- Some songs really don’t merit too much dancing - ask the question does Eponine do split leaps in Les Miserables? But Billy Elliot does in Electricity.
- Don’t copy performances from YouTube - individuality makes an interesting Musical Theatre performer.
- If the performer doesn’t have the vocal skill or stamina to do a reprise at the end - perhaps they shouldn’t BUT it is a really great way of finishing a number.
- Breathing for dance and singing can be different - singing breath technique tops dance breathing in this discipline.
- Festivals, on the whole, don’t mic song and dance. The more you push the voice the more out of tune you get.
- Character and story must be sustained and developed in the dance break - we should know more of the story and characterisation after the dance break than before
- It is recommended to do all the singing towards the front of the stage (to help with projection). I should point out not all voices are big - Barbra Streisand has a tiny voice and would never be heard singing upstage!
- On the whole American songs should be sung with an American accent - otherwise the rhymes don’t work.
- A useful hint - sing with American vowels and British consonants so we get clear end of lines.
- Another hint - use the punctuation of the text - it tells you when to breath so that you don’t take a breath mid-sentence or mid-thought.
- Make sure you know what you are singing about! Communication is a winner!
- Singing in a musical is because you can’t express yourself anymore by saying it! This is a heightened style of theatre that needs confidence and truth at the same time.
All styles and developments in technique, including characterisation and humour, are encouraged providing the rhythms, clarity of beating and presentation of the routine is fully sustained and appropriate to the chosen musical style.
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