ASPIRE BLOG: Commitment

I felt very proud to be part of ASPIRE this week.

Our vocal and junior drama ensembles were invited to take part in the Catholic Schools Week Mass and their hard work and commitment paid off when an appreciative congregation listened to their gorgeous singing and watched their imaginative interpretation of the gospel. Thankyou to everyone involved, especially Jeanette, Michael, Lisa and Kirsten who did such a fabulous job preparing the cast in addition to their regular ASPIRE repertoire.

I think one of the reasons our students were so successful this week was because they committed to what they were taking part in. The drama group gave due respect to the message they were conveying and weren’t too over the top (a common mistake when performing physical theatre) whilst the singers not only sang their hearts out but committed to the mood and dynamics of each hymn, adapting their performances as required.

Commitment doesn’t just mean turning up each week and learning your lines or music. It’s about really getting to grips with the piece of music you’re playing, or the scene you’re performing or the emotion you’re trying to convey through dance. You have to commit to each moment you’re on stage. If you don’t commit to what you’re doing, you run the risk of not conveying the story to the audience, to not engaging the audience and essentially not getting the most from your performance.

I had the great pleasure of doing some drama work with our intermediate dance ensemble this week, as they are being asked to depict many different characters this year. We looked at physically becoming different characters, how they move, what their faces look like and how we avoid going completely over the top with them. The big challenge was to not be too ‘dancey’ - a massive challenge for a dancer. They really have to commit to not worrying about perfect lines, or performing in complete unison, they need to not worry about looking silly. It’s a tough ask for them.

Whilst watching the senior drama perform short devised pieces this week I was again reminded how important it is to commit to what you’re doing. One of the pieces fell apart at the end of the scene, a common occurrence when devising and improvising. One of the reasons it fell apart was because the group stopped committing to the performance. As they lost focus and character, they lost the scene. It’s something that happens time and time again, and a lesson we repeatedly learn, whether you’re a professional performer or a young aspiring one.

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Anna Kerrigan

Anna is the Artistic Director of ASPIRE, an audition-based drama, dance, music and creative and performing arts program produced by the Catholic Schools Office of Maitland-Newcastle.