As producers, we look at a number of criteria for the performers we book for our shows… Here’s a few tips that we’ve learned from four years of performing and three of booking shows…
1. Tight! Your routine must be tight! Think of it as a video – where ever you pause, it must be clear what part of the routine you are at, you must be engaged (no – not married!) and in the moment, and performing the best you can. Your body must be doing the moves to the full, your face must be active.
2. Practice! Do your 4 mins on stage – and the audience – justice! Practice your act – sounds obvious, and it is! In the run up to a show, no matter how ‘insideout’ you know a routine, have a run through at least 3 times a day. And practice with the shoes you are going to wear for the act – never, ever practice in trainers or barefoot and then wear your show shoes for the first time for the performance. And treat every rehearsal as if it’s the performance – make all your moves count, that way, you won’t pick up any bad habits or forget to fully engage when you are performing.
3.Add a skill – if you can do a skill! Again obvious stuff, if you have a skill and can perform it to perfection add it to your act for an interesting twist. But don’t fall into the trap of throwing in a skill that you know nothing about / have no training in, cannot do – or are not insured to carry out for the sake of making your act interesting. It will not blow anyone’s minds, but it will blow your chances of getting booked. DeeDee and I (Lilly Laudanum) once had an act with a charleston-type move in. Being a trained ballroom dancer she could do it. Being a trained belly dancer (different dance stance) I couldn’t. It looked shoddy so we ditched it! But if you really love a certain skill, by all means get lessons in it but become fully competent and accomplished before you add it to your repertoire.
4. Do tech runs with your show shoes on. You will never know how the shoes are going to react to different types of stage finish. You will also need to know how many paces from the wings if your act starts off stage and this might differ dramatically with different shoes.
5. Safety pants are your friend. Yes, you may have sniggered at the rack of nude thongs in M&S (other nude thong suppliers are available) thinking no one in their right mind would need – even love such items. But as a performer who regularly gets near-naked on stage, nude thongs are your best friend. After all, no one enjoys lip-slip. It’s eye watering and could ruin a respectable show.