Saturday, May 08, 2010

So We Think We Can Judge?

Ever since moving here, we have attended the annual spring performance by Form & Fusion, the university dance company. We enjoy how all the factors come together to make up the "experience" of each number: the eclectic music, the choice of costumes and lights, the choreography, and the mix of dancing abilities (there are a lot of male athletes in the troupe, recruited more for their ability to lift the female dancers than for their own dancing prowess). We're no dance experts, but we've been in and around the performing arts long enough to be able to appreciate what makes a dance good and to enjoy the artistry.

Well, Susan and I had to be more keen as audience members tonight than in past years because we were asked to judge this year's performance. The dance company's artistic director asked me in advance if I would judge; and when we arrived, she handed Susan an extra ballot and asked her, too, to fill one in. We were given these "points to consider when evaluating the dances":
  • Was the music appropriate for the movement?
  • Did the steps reflect the music?
  • Were the patterns on stage interesting?
  • Was there clarity of purpose?
  • Did the costumes enhance the movement?
  • Did the dance keep your attention?

The dances were separated by category (large-group, small-group, and solo), and we were to select one winner in each. I knew that it would be difficult to recall dances from the first part of the program by the time we got to the final numbers of the night, so I jotted notes in the program during each dance. It was still tricky, though, because some dances were so similar in style to previous dances (and thus didn't "stand out" clearly in my mind after they were done) and because my notes were so unscientific (e.g., "ballet-ish to rock beat," "in synch to song," "glittery Wacko-Jacko tap dance," etc.).

The stress of watching in judge-it-but-try-to-enjoy-it-simultaneously mode was coupled with self-doubt at the end of the night when Susan and I compared ballots before turning them in. We had not selected any of the same dances in any of the categories. I'm hoping that the other judges' votes will lead to clear winners for the choreography awards, which are to be given out next week. If were to be called back to judge a "dance off," there's no telling how useless I would be.

1 comment:

  1. It was, as always,an entertaining evening!