Creating flow in a performance setting
As a director of movement performances, I value the ‘flow’ of an event. This gives it polish and lowers the stress level for everyone!
Here are some tips for creating flow.
1. Blocking – Everyone needs to know where they supposed to sit before they perform and where they are supposed to go and stand to perform. Enlist the help of teachers, etc. to ‘wrangle’ each of the performing groups if they are – for example – several classes in an early childhood center. They can even begin by sitting on their own classroom rugs, brought into the space for this occasion.
2. Use ‘magic hands’ to cue transitions. Hands with palms facing up and rising = ‘stand’. Palms facing down and lowering = ‘sit.’ Hands separating, or pointing = ‘go to your assigned places.”
3. Use shorthand vocabulary for body positions. My words are ‘sit ready position’ (that’s the criss-cross apple sauce we all know and love), ‘stand tall one and all’ for the standing neutral position. Magic hands tell people to do these things.
4. Use a song that the children know that helps them line up and move from one place to another. This makes the transition to ‘places’ part of the fun for them and the audience and keeps the pacing lively and interesting. I use
Down By the Station (from Songs for Dancing) for this because a train is a single file line that moves down a track. You can signal groups, one by one, with magic hands, to get them to their feet, and use your adult helpers to lead off the train.
This is an excellent exit strategy too, as groups leave the space one by one at the end of a program.
(I based this on the assumption that you have already taught and used this song/activity before and that it is comfortable and familiar to the children.)
I also use The Goodbye Song (from Songs for Dancing) to start off the transition to end the program, and keep the music going as they move towards the exit. (Of course, first I say all the closing stuff, then make The Goodbye Song the ultimate activity, starting in self space, then dismissing group by group, using eye contact with the leaders and ‘magic hands’ to signal)