Last week I performed in Waukesha at the library, where Kate Fitzgerald-Fleck and her colleagues have created an amazing children's department. There's a fine performance space, too, and it allowed for the kind of show that I like best - lots of interaction.
There are many excellent children's performers of all types, but my favorite has always been my dear friend Tom Pease. Tom is a master of interaction. It's rare for him to do a song where the audience doesn't participate. As he and I talk, we often discuss new ways to get people involved.
Some family shows have the kids sit up front on the floor, while grownups are mostly behind them, in chairs. Although this might seem to make sense, it makes it harder to get families interacting together, which is the point of a family show in my opinion. The set up in Waukesha was just like that. Grownups were involved, but they were in the back.
While doing "Mi Cuerpo," a favorite song in Spanish with lots of movement, I suddenly got inspired and had the kids stand up and go back by their parents, and do motions with them. The wall was broken, or at least cracked for a moment, and kids and grownups were all in the same reality, having fun, making faces at each other, and laughing their heads off. Singing, too, of course.
It's one thing to get kids to do something. The challenge is to get kids doing something with their grownups. This was one small solution.