Pre-Performance Rituals of Tap Pros: In the Moments before a Performance, All Dancers Have Ways of Getting Warm, Loose, and Focused. Tap Dancers Sometimes Face Special Challenges like Not Finding the Right Surface Backstage or Needing to Keep Their Feet Quiet While Warming Up. Brian Seibert Asked Four Tap Pros about Their Pro-Performance Rituals
Seibert, Brian, Dance Magazine
I get on the wood and improvise. If I'm performing by myself, I'll throw on my iPod and just hit, listening to the song I'm going to dance to. If I'm performing with a group, we'll get an improv circle going. I never like to go onstage cold, physically or mentally. You have to get your mind flowing rhythmically. Listening to Baby Laurence's album is a ritual for me. If I can do one 10th of what he did, I'm doing great. My company and I watch a DVD with footage of the Nicholas Brothers, the Condos Brothers, Buck and Bubbles, and others. They set the standard of excellence. I've seen other dancers watch videos of themselves, like sports teams analyzing their mistakes. We only watch the old footage. Sometimes we play a game where we try to pull out something we saw.
My favorite thing to do before a performance is to teach a class or a private lesson. I completely lose myself and I focus on technique and communicating and being beard. I've been known to offer free classes on days I have performances. People call me crazy, but it works! Sometimes I'll put on my tap shoes and dance on a low pile rug, where you get a lot of resistance. It makes you break a sweat. Backstage, I like to joke with people. The more action and camaraderie, the better. I went through a period of isolating myself, but I learned that it worked against me. It made it more difficult for me to connect with the audience. Other than that, I always bring three pairs of shoes, just in case. …