Writing introductions for a show can be tough- sometimes tougher than doing the dancing! We are people of movement, not words. We waver from trying to explain why we are such great dancers to feeling too boastful and embarrassed by it so we fall back to the same introduction we have done for years. I know I feel like that when I’m trying to write a new introduction. For the sake of this article, we are only going to be discussing spoken introductions. I’ve found some ways to help with the “boring introduction” plague. Let’s imagine we are helping our friend Fluffy the dancing kitten with their introduction.
“Fluffy the kitten is a professional belly dancer from Columbus, Ohio. She has been belly dancing for 13 years, but she really has been dancing from the womb. She dances Egyptian, Turkish, Persian, Jazz, African, Ballet and any other dance form she can study. She has studied with Coucous the Cat and every other famous cat dancer there is. Tonight she is performing a dramatic veil piece.”
1. No Cliches: To start, lets begin with the introduction Fluffy the dancing kitten sent us. We are now going to delete some key words and phrases: professional belly dancer, started dancing from childhood, whom you have studied with, every style of dance you have ever studied, etc. We are removing it because every other introduction has those exact same words and phrases. Phrases such as “professional belly dancer” means a lot of different things to each person who hears it. To one person it merely means performing for money and to another it means being a master dancer and instructor. The phrase has a lot of meanings, so it essentially means nothing.
2. What to Say (or not) about Dance Style: Describing the style of dance can also be tricky, because you are just about to go on stage and do whatever you are describing. That gives the audience the ability to decide if you are really “dramatic” enough. This part of the introduction should be done with discretion because there are times when you should describe what you are doing, such as doing another dancer’s choreography or doing a specialized style most of your audience may not know.
3. What Makes You Awesome: Once we have removed the “major offenders” of boring introductions we have maybe Fluffy’s name and that’s it! Let’s talk about what we can put instead to give your introduction more about you. For a spoken introduction around 4 sentences is great.
We would want to start with a description of the type of dancer you are. This should describe the type of dancer you want to be. This can be about your captivating veil technique, your cracking cane or your Shaabi shimmy.
Think about who you are- I’m a pretty naturally goofy person, so if it’s a casual show I might include a pun to show they are going to have a pun-derful time when I am on stage.
After that, we can share any major awards you want to share that makes you proud. These awards should be recent, if you do choose to share it. Advertising an award you won 10 years ago can backfire and give a negative impression that you stopped trying after that or the award was a fluke.
4. Where to Find You Next: If you are a dancer who is looking to promote a future show or group, share it with the audience. This can be the troupe you have just started, classes you would like to invite people to join you in or an event you are promoting. You can choose to end with some sort of catch phrase or some final hint of your personality. This is totally optional. If you have created some sort of catch phrase, this is the perfect time to share it.
New, Improved Intro
Now we are back to Fluffy the dancing kitten. With all the work we have done our final introduction looks a bit more like this:“Fluffy the dancing kitten is a world-renowned master of cat naps and purr-fect shimmies. She’s won the 2018 Master of Attacking Feet Unnecessarily Award. You can check her out next at any sunny window or at Hookah Rocks, Columbus’s premier death metal and hookah bar. Welcome Fluffy the dancing kitten to the stage- the only dance that can catch a mouse with a ¾ shimmy!”