Monday, March 29, 2010

Audience Appreciation

I am going to participate in a Passover Seder tonight. For anyone who is not familiar with a Passover Seder, it is a dinner where everyone at the table participates in reading out of a special book called the Hagadah. It tells the story of the exodus of the Jewish people out of Egypt. There will be 24 guests celebrating Passover tonight and each of us will take a turn reading out of the Hagadah.

As I think about the Seder, I keep coming back to audience participation, and the importance of teaching this concept to children when they are very small. We tend to think that the person dancing on stage is the one who is actively engaged. But this is not true at all. Yes, of course the person on the stage is engaged but the audience member is just as engaged. The audience member is a critic, observer, and a part of the experience.

The Role of the Audience

1. To listen. We listen with our eyes and ears.

2. We are quite so we don't disturb the dancers and other audience members.

3. We watch. We look for shapes, levels, steps. We watch for images.

4. We think. We feel. What did the dance remind us of? How did the dance make us feel?

5. We share. We tell the dancers what we saw and liked.

6. We applaud. We thank the performers for sharing with us.

Sometimes it is hard to sit and be still and not be the one on stage. But when the audience has a job to do, they have the tools to focus and give feedback. They have the tools to be apart of the performance and have the opportunity  to use the dance skills they are learning by observing.

When I am sitting at the Passover table tonight, I will be an audience member and "performer." I will speak, listen, observe, think, and share.

Children at every age can be audience members and start practicing this very important job.

Have fun being an audience member with the children in your life!




  1. So I already have a blog post started about being a good audience and how I teach it to my students! Can you believe that? It says exactly this! I agree it's so hard to teach but little by little they get the hang of it. I also find that if you give them something specific to look for, it helps! Anyway, great post, and I will wait a while to post my good audience writing! :) xo

  2. Great minds think alike!! I agree that giving the children something specific to look for is very helpful. It is a great assessment tool as well. You can learn very quickly if they are able to identify the concepts you are working on. I look forward to reading you post!!

  3. Stacey- Great post! Some of your comments remind me of doing Authentic Movement in college and wondering if it could be applied to kids too. I love the idea of being a really active part of the movement experience and principles from Authentic Movement could be useful in teaching them how to give constructive and objective feedback based on what they see.

  4. Hi Lauren. I am not very familiar with Authentic Movement. Believe it or not, my daughter's kindergarten teacher holds authentic movement classes in her barn that she transformed into a studio. What I know from her explaination, is they watch each other move freely and with abandon. They are a witness to each other's movement experience.

    I agree that giving constructive and objective feedback to children is a great teaching tool.
    I also believe the more children get to experience moving, the more they learn about and can master there facilities.

    If you would like, please share the Authentic Movement Principles. I would love to learn more.

  5. Hi again. I meant to write that teaching children HOW to give constructive and objective feedback is a great gift/tool. Learning how to communicate, listen, observe and respond is not only helpful in learning and appreciating the arts but is a skill that benefits all aspects of a person's life.

    These skills are even more important to work on with children who are on the Autistic Spectrum.

    (Of course giving constructive and objective feedback to children is wonderful too - he,he!)
    I look forward to learning more about Authentic Movement!