Audience participation in dance shows, particularly luau shows, are a mandatory clause of having dance artists at an event. You might be asked to learn a few steps or a simple dance, whatever the format is for the audience segment that the artist has planned. Please don’t heckle or be shy when this happens.
What happens if you absolutely cannot or will not get up on stage and perform. After all, you came to enjoy the show not be part of it! Althought, to be fair, a number of audience members live for these moments. Fear not, there are other ways to decline but still participate. Always decline politely. You wouldn’t want the dancer who engages you to think you don’t like them. Sometimes, a simple, “I prefer to watch you,” or “I have a bad hip but my friend wants to go up there” will suffice.
If you don’t participate in the festivities in the sharing of culture and art – the basis and purpose for audience participation – because you are camera or stage shy, get involved in alternate ways.
- Clap at crescendo moments of the dance or moments that are meant for excitement. You can recognize these times when the dancer is performing a very fast, rhythmic step that she/he worked up to, or a complicated dance step, or extremely intense physical moment.
- Call out your friends or family to participate in lieu of yourself. Put the onus on another member of the audience that will be sure to continue the fun.
- Chair dance in your seat. This might not work for a ballet stage show like Don Quixote and may be extremely bad theatre etiquette. But if it’s a backyard birthday party or a school performance, use your best judgement. You’re infectious enthusiasm might catch on and make the viewing experience of the show a great experience for connecting with the dancers on stage or other guests in the audience.
- Sing-along to the lyics of the songs used. This is also a show of support so long as you are not to bellow out and make the show about you. If you think you are outshining the dancers performing, realize it might be because your singing career could use a few tweaks from professional tutelage. Respectfully sing-along.
The most magical thing happened to me a few times. One in particular was captured on video. The children were watching and began dancing along almost translike. It empowered me more on stage and I loved the whole experience. We shared a momemt and a connection. It was nice to feel that among strangers. The music was doing the same thing for all of us, spreading Aloha!