Why I Run “Lazy” Showcases

The end of the year is coming up, and if you or your child do any form of performing arts you’ll no doubt know that means showcase season! Big costumes, fancy hair and full day rehearsals are hallmarks of this season for many kids, and it can be a stressful time for students, teachers and parents alike.

That’s why we do things a little differently at Circus Akimbo. We’re lucky enough to have our own studio to use as a performance space, which already takes a lot of the heartache out of finding and booking a venue to use. You won’t catch us spending ages choreographing routines or ordering expensive costumes either. Although we spend months working with our students before a concert, our time goes into helping each student find a skill they love, and developing a routine that showcases their personal strengths whether that be balance, strength, flexibility or something unique to them. Importantly, although we guide the process, the students themselves develop choreography to expresses themselves as individuals – our goal is not to create clones of ourselves!

On the day, there is no dawn til dusk flurry of activity. In fact, there’s often no one around until two hours before the show. We open early to let the students warm up, run their routines and settle into the space. Even for youth circus concerts, there tend to be only one or two trainers present, with the students taking majority of responsibility for setting up the concert. At our last youth circus concert, we had all the students helping to set up chairs, a 9yr old ringmaster, a 4yr old and 11yr old ticket seller, a 10yr old sound operator… Although that meant at some points the show wasn’t as smooth as a professional show, crucially, it was put on by the kids and remained all about them, without unnecessary adult interference.

You may notice too, that at no point did I mention leaving the kids time for costumes, hair and make up. Our students perform in clothes they love and are comfortable in, not assigned costumes. Some turn up with colourful tights and glitter in their hair, others perform in a tshirt and shorts. The only requirements for costumes are that they are practical e.g. covered knees for silks, and age appropriate. While students are encouraged to treat the showcase seriously and put effort into their performances, the important part for us is what the students have achieved, not how they look. The expectations for adult students are slightly different, as they are old enough to know what they want and provide their own costumes, but the focus remains on the skills and individual expression.

If you’re comparing our style to the high production values at other studios, you’ll see an incredibly “lazy” production team. But by stepping back from the action we let our students shine!

Want to see this in practise? Join us this Saturday 28th November for our Halloween Horror Show!

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