So you've got a routine (yay that's so awesome) here's a quick checklist of how to turn an average routine into an awesome routine...
1.) Do what you are good at
Flaunt your best tricks, own your moves! Work to your strengths not your weaknesses. If you are flexible put all those bendy poses in, if you love drops go for the drops, spinning your thing then spin away, or if you are super strong then go for holds and slow muscle up moves. I think you get the picture!
2.) Don’t do what you are not good at
Don’t feel like you have to cram in every trick in the book or do moves that you can’t quite do just because you think the routine won’t be up to scratch without it.
3.) Make sure you have enough stamina
Never struggle through a routine - make it shorter if you have to or choreograph more resting points so your arms can take a break. Cross train your stamina with cardio training prior to your show. There's nothing worse for the audience than seeing you huffing and puffing and busting your guts. They want effortless ease and grace at all times.
4.) Take your time
No need to rush through a routine showing off all your repertoire. Pause and breathe. Enjoy yourself and your audience will enjoy with you.
5.) Milk those big moments
When you hit a big moment pause take three deep breaths - I guarantee you think you are holding it longer than you really are. So relax and milk the moment - the audience will love you for it. They will probably applaud loudly too.
6.) Make sure your routine has variety
Mix up dynamic moves with slow moves. Move around the apparatus. Do drops but also do holds. Do splits and backbends. Yep everyone does them but everyone does them because everybody loves them! If you’ve got them use them. As a rule of thumb a great routine will consist of at least one splits move, one bendy move, one hold and one drop.
7.) Give the transitions as much thought as the tricks
Remember you can’t hide - the audience will be watching as you get in and out of moves so make these deliberate and interesting as well. The cleaner and more intricate your transitions the more you will captivate your crowd.
8.) Don’t repeat yourself
If you are on silks and you have done the same climb twice - make sure you vary it by the third. If you are on hoop make sure you vary your ways of getting on it. Never repeat your sequences as padding (it's just plain boring).
9.) Use your music
The more musicality you can bring into your routine the more your audience will be with you. If I haven’t listened to the track before I do a routine to it (for example using other people’s music) I never really feel like I do the routine justice as it will never fit right. Listen to your music - let the music inform what moves you do - choreograph your big drops to big phrases and use cues in the song. Music is your lifeline to performing a good show.
10.) Play with the apparatus
If you’re doing silks you are using huge big bits of fabric, so show them off. Trust me the audience loves a bit of wafting and floofing. If you are on hoop don’t be afraid to play with it. I sometimes like to think of it as my best playmate and we have fun together! (Or maybe that’s just me being weird).
11.) It’s the how rather than the what
Don’t obsess over what tricks you do. Yes by all means incorporate different tricks and master new things for your own personal satisfaction but the audience can’t tell the difference between the innovative vs. standard or hard vs. easy. All they see is you wrapping and unwrapping yourself in various ways or you making lots of different shapes. That’s it. What matters is the grace, presence, connection, and variety that comes through your movement.
12.) Perform your routine in a variety of ways until you find something that feels right for you
Choose a mood or emotion to play and vamp it up, go over the top - play it like you are the diva queen who owns the stage, then perhaps play it sexy and raunchy (if you're comfortable with that style), or slow and secretive - like you have a hidden secret you want to tell. Perhaps you are curious, cheeky or surprised, or full of mystery and intrigue, see what happens when you Tinkerbell it up. Play with different dance styles or moods or emotions. Is there a story to your routine? Can you take your audience on a journey with you? Most of all just have fun with different styles and characters until you find something that really feels right for you.