Interview — Dance Recitals And Who They’re For

Every year we look forward to the amazing performances displayed by recital choreographers and dancers. Here’s why you should too!

After block parties, battles, competitions and school productions, we now get to participate in studio recitals as a platform to grow and showcase our hard work again. So what are dance recitals really? Dance studios, often annually, hold dance recitals for dancers to work closely with a team of dancers and choreographers. They are targeted to the studios’ students but everyone is welcome to join!

Courtesy of Converge Studios (@converge.studios)

There are two ways to be involved as a dancer. Firstly, and more commonly, studios hold auditions by genre and release an audition piece to be learned. Oftentimes, dancers are only allowed to be a part of one or two items. Choreographers then get to choose the dancers they want in their items during the audition process. Some things they usually look out for are quality of movement, musicality and also a sense of individuality in one’s performance. We’ve also seen dancers get handpicked by choreographers just by attending their classes. This might make it slightly more exclusive but it also opens up the criteria for choosing dancers. Choreographers may pick a dancer based on the growth and consistency they’ve shown instead of their performance solely on the audition day — we all know the nerves might get to us.

Watch on YouTube

Once the dancers are chosen, the team gets right to work. From getting acquainted and brushing up on physical fitness to internalising the music as well as routine and direction of the item, there is usually a span of three to six months to prepare for the big show.

View post on Instagram

Aside from weekly training, there will also be vettings and combined rehearsals to gauge everyone’s progress. Since dancers train and interact within their item, this is where they get to see what other pieces of the recital look like — and it’s always so exciting to watch everything unfold. This is also where the directors of the show figure out how to piece the items together, including the sequencing and the flow of the storyline. Afterall, recitals always have a creative overall theme to them!

Courtesy of O School (@oschoolofficial)

As time passes, the show starts to come together with fuller routines, transitions, acting, costumes, make-up and lighting. Finally, bump-in day comes! Similar to a combined rehearsal but now on the actual stage, dancers get to practise with the space, lighting, sound system and ambience to get the feel of what it’ll be like the next one to two days during their actual shows. All they have to do now is imagine the space filled to the brim with a screaming audience.

One Dance Asia Recital. Courtesy of Poey YT

On the actual day(s) of the recital, dancers can expect to be at the venue the entire day, even if their show begins at 8 p.m. This gives everyone plenty of time to settle in, prepare themselves (costume, make-up, hair), have a few technical runs to ensure everything is running smoothly and even fit in one or two final full runs to seal it in.

View post on Instagram

And now it’s the audience’s turn to get ready, get to their seats and enjoy the grand show these dancers, choreographers and directors tirelessly worked so hard for. Months of training for moments of joy, laughter, tears, laughs and love. A recital is often marketed to be for the dancers but it is for everyone. A platform where dancers share the stage and also where choreographers and directors push their creative limits, the audience gets absorbed into the elevated execution of dance, friendships are forged, boundaries are broken and dance is always celebrated.

O School Recital. Courtesy of Poey YT

But enough of how a recital works, let’s talk to dancers who are and will be part of upcoming Converge and O School recitals to find out what motivated them to take part!

Dreamfellas: Which recital will you be a part of and what is your role in it? Tell us more about what it will be about this year!

Grace: I will be an item choreographer in O School Recital 2023! I want to keep the storyline a secret, but it will be about something that all of us can relate to. Like all experiences that O School brings, hopefully the audience will be able to find themselves in the story, and bring a little piece back home with them.

View post on Instagram

Ayu: Converge Recital! I’m a dancer in Anna’s and Syamir’s item. The concept for the recital this year is entitled ‘And the winner goes to…’. The theme is quite generic and broad for now, but for our item at least, we are using the game ‘Need for Speed’ as an inspiration. So it will be like we are the characters in the game!

Courtesy of O School (@oschoolofficial)

DFL: So this isn’t your first recital experience, how does this experience differ from your previous ones?

Grace: I was previously a dancer in several of O School’s recitals, so it’s a big change for me to now be part of O Crew! In many ways, I feel way out of my comfort zone, and think back constantly about the experience of just being a recital dancer — learning and absorbing. But I’m also grateful to be given the opportunity to try a different role in the production. It’s time to pass this experience on, and I hope to create a very special memory for my recital dancers too.

Ayu: Every recital is different because I get to learn from different instructors, even if it’s the same genre. Previously, I learned from Lum Lum, Shauna and Madhu for Dancehall and this year I get to experience the way Anna and Syamir approach the genre.

Converge Recital. Courtesy of WK Productions (@wkproductions__)

DFL: Why do you find yourself coming back to the recital experience?

Grace: I think O School Recital is unlike any other production I’ve ever experienced. It taught me what it means to be part of something bigger, a story that binds and resonates with us all. That can be very powerful with the right community, and the people at O School always put community first. Recitals also connected me with friends that I would never have crossed paths with, and they played a big part in my formative dance years. I’m eternally grateful to have met them!

Ayu: I feel like recitals are a good platform for dancers who want an opportunity to train under a professional and perform in a production. Honestly, I find myself coming back for recitals for the same two reasons: I want to train under these choreographers and I want to perform and experience the stage again.

Courtesy of O School (@oschoolofficial)

So if you’re contemplating on that next recital audition, take this article as a sign to go for it!

Converge Studios had their recital ‘And the winner goes to…’ on 22 and 23 October at NUS UCC. Needless to say, it was a successful and blazing show that reminded the community what artful contributions that dance can bring into our lives.

Meanwhile, O School will be holding their recital next year on 11 and 12 March with more details to be released. So keep a lookout for that!

For more dance reads, click here.


Interview — Tcartsba At The Phaze International 2023


Move And Groove To Seven October Dance Events