Understanding Your Audience
Updated: Jun 6
One of the trickiest but most beautiful things about dance is that you convey a strong message without speaking. Dance is a universal language that presents a story and purpose through movement. By crafting each dance to perfection, a thousand words can be said in a single moment in time. This can make choreographing a difficult but rewarding process. One revelation I’ve had when creating my work is that those who have mastered the choreographic process have mastered the human psyche.
When choreographing, I put myself in the audience's shoes by asking:
What is the main message or point of my piece?
Who is my audience? Are they family, friends, or fans of the art?
How much dance has my audience been exposed to in the past? Is their eye “trained”?
Will the audience be able to understand my message without context?
Does the movement I created truly reflect my intention?
How will the audience react?
These questions help me understand how people will view and interpret my work. All humans are subject to innate biases based on past experiences, so I have to take this into account when creating a piece. A person's culture, age, and gender can influence how they perceive the work you create, so it is important to ask yourself these questions in the creation process.
Probably the most important question of all is, “Will the audience be able to understand my message without context?” If you are trying to take a stance on something, whether political, social, or personal, the audience must understand what the piece is about, or else you’ve lost their interest.
By understanding who your audience is, you can craft a piece that will have an incredible impact. The ability to predict an audience's reaction is an important skill that shouldn’t be overlooked when you begin creating dance pieces.