Saturday, June 20, 2009

Before an Audience

It's always interesting to watch the effects an audience has on young dancers. The way they respond is always different for each personality. Although the older dancers each respond in a different way as well, some thriving on the attention and others getting very nervous, the responses are more evident in the little dance class of those ages 4-6.

If you put a few of the young ones in front of a crowd, they immediately begin to thrive. Others get shy, and some refuse to do anything at all! There's the one girl who never followed well in class but got easily distracted and wanted to do her own thing, but when in front of an audience, immediately began following along almost perfectly and became very attentive to make sure she performed well. There's another, a very confident dancer in class, who when she knows she has eyes upon her, suddenly withdraws and has small, timid motions. Some don't seem to notice the difference - really young, they get lost in their own little world, sometimes just standing still, other times following along and smiling for their mother. Sometimes there are surprises, like the little girl who always followed along in class and danced well who, when faced with a crowd wouldn't even get up and go on stage. Some are struck with stage fright and stand still; others do everything with exuberant glee, excited to know that they are being watched. While some withdraw and are on the verge of tears, others act like little clowns, playing off of the audience's reactions.

Although the emphasis is on making sure that everyone stays together and glorifies God with their dancing, it is cute to see how the little girls react. Even when things don't go perfectly or smoothly, the random responses of the young ones usually bring a few smiles and laughs from the audience, as we enjoy how un-inhibited they can be.

When you're on stage performing, it's easy to remember that you have an audience. How could you forget? Even if you've prepared and rehearsed for hours, there is usually a least a little nervousness and the hope that you do well. Though sometimes you get fully engrossed in what you're doing, more often you can feel the eyes watching you. Through it all, you may be praying that you do well for God's glory.

When you're not on stage, it's very easy to forget that you still have an audience. Whether you want it or not, other people are watching you, to see how you react in certain situations, to hear the careless words that come from your mouth, and to see your random crazy moments. Even when you're all alone, you still have an Audience of One, a God Who sees each action and knows each thought.

How should you respond to the "audience" around you at all times? It should cause you to think twice about each word or action, to make sure that it is truly pleasing to the Lord. Especially when young ones are watching - and believe me,the little ones do watch and often repeat even simple, random things - we have a responsibility to set for them a Godly example. This doesn't mean that you should become paranoid and act unnaturally, however. What you say and do is a reflection of your heart, so your attention should be more focused on your quiet times alone in developing a close relationship with Your Lord and finding out what pleases Him. As you seek Him, your public words and actions will become more thoughtful and you will be more sensitive to honoring Him in all that you say and do.

Above all, you should be caught up in pleasing your ultimate Audience Member and being wholly devoted to Him. Even if the others watching don't approve and call you crazy or too sensitive, it doesn't matter if you are doing what you know Your King would have you do. You may not get applause on earth, but there is only One Whose applause really matters, and His is louder and more rewarding than that of any other. We should live life loving Him and serving Him, and at the end, it will all be worth it when we hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

For more pictures of Thursday's small dance presentation, click here.


A child of the King said...

Amen, thank you for the reminder Anna! It's true, and something I've been thinking a lot about lately. What we say and do has such an impact.

Hehe, reading your observations of what the little girls do when in front of a stage is funny, because I remember what I used to do at ballet! Once during a recital practice I noticed there was a leak on the stage, and I forgot to run forward in a line with the others. The next day at the actual performance I looked and saw that the leak had been repaired, and once again got left behind! hehe, it must have looked funny, me looking up at the roof and everyone else already dancing. I was not nervous at all about the audience, or at least I don't remember being scared!

Joanna said...

Amen! I love how you compare dancing on a stage to real life and how we're living for an Audience of One.

Elizabeth Ellen Moore said...

As someone who has always struggled with performance nerves, I completely related to this post! It is true that we always have an audience, and it is even better that the only applause that matters is from our Heavenly Father. If we have that priority in place, the rest will either fall in place or not be worth bothering about!

marykhris said...

Thank you for another great post! I love to see the little lessons the Lord brings our way through our day to day experiences.
your girls look adorable- i bet you're doing an awesome job!