Clogging to "Sweet Home Alabama." Juggling apples and oranges. Karate kicks. With a little creativity and a good attitude, the talent portion of a beauty pageant is what can set your child apart from the rest of the contestants! Encourage your star to express herself through her talents, whether that's singing, acting, playing an instrument or baton twirling.
Your child's talent can be anything -- just pick something that showcases her unique personality. Don't take anything too seriously, and most importantly, have fun!
Here are 10 showstopping talents for child beauty pageants that are sure to wow the judges' panel.
10: Sing a Song
Does your child have a voice that could land her on the next season of "American Idol?" If so, she should highlight her voice with a song that expresses her personality and shows her range. Make sure she chooses an age-appropriate song (Beyonce's "Single Ladies" isn't really suitable for little girls) and dresses to enhance any obvious theme. "Rockin' Robin" is a perfect tune for kids, and wearing a blue- and red-feathered costume is a charming accent for the routine.
Can't carry a tune? She can always opt to communicate a song through sign language. This unique interpretation of delivering a song will be a favorite among judges!
9: Demonstrate a Martial Arts Routine
Displaying a karate or martial arts talent can be tricky; you want everyone to see each technique and step distinctly, so it's important to move somewhat slowly and speak loudly so everyone can hear the demonstration. Or, your child can perform this kind of routine to upbeat music as a type of dance number.
Props like breakable boards and crisp white uniforms (don't forget the belt to show what level of study she's completed) are a great way to give the performance an edge. Want to go a step further? Introduce a partner to the stage and demonstrate self-defense moves inspired by martial arts.
8: Just Dance
If dancing is your child's talent, there are many styles she can choose to perform. Of course, traditional tap, ballet and jazz are very popular, but if she wants to stand out from the crowd, clogging, break dancing or ribbon dancing are great alternatives.
It's important to choose the perfect song to go with a dance performance is incredibly important -- it could give her the extra few points she needs to win a pageant. Dance to a song that shows creativity, such as Michael Jackson's "Thriller" or "Praise You," by Fatboy Slim.
Other pointers? When choosing a costume, go for details like shiny sequins, feathers or bright colors. And above all, the dance routine has got to be flawless. Ask a relative or friend to help with choreography, and videotape the routine so your child can review it, make tweaks and practice, practice, practice!
7: Get Multicultural
Performing a cultural demonstration is a great way to score points with judges. If your child has a connection to a certain culture, she can display her talent -- and heritage -- with pride!
Irish dancing, Bollywood dancing (a commercial name for modern Indian dancing) or Hawaiian hula dancing demonstrate time-honored traditions and are crowd favorites. Most cultural dances also have extraordinary, eye-catching costumes.
If dancing isn't for your child, other possible demonstrations include plate spinning, yodeling or reciting a poem specific to a culture, such as Abe "Del" Jones' "The Neverending Trail" about the Trail of Tears.
6: Bend It Like Shawn Johnson
Gymnastics showcases your daughter's dexterity and tumbling abilities. Bring the necessary props, like a floor mat and a balance beam. Choreograph a routine that includes splits, jumps, flips and cartwheels, and choose music that's upbeat and exhilarating to get the audience excited about the act.
If she's got experience with cheerleading, go a little outside the box and insert cheers into the routine to make it even more entertaining. She can cheer for her school, city or state to show a little hometown pride, too.
5: Play an Instrument
Playing an instrument is a classic, time-honored talent in the beauty pageant circuit. Traditional instruments that consistently rank among judges' favorites include the piano, violin and guitar.
Harps are also beautiful, striking instruments to play during the talent segment of a pageant.
However, if your daughter has a sense of humor and a wicked talent, leave tradition behind! Encourage her to play a song on the harmonica, and dress the part in overalls, a plaid shirt and a cowboy hat. She can also pound out a beat on the drums or perform a song with handbells. Judges see a lot of kids play instruments, so make sure your little one has her song down. It's got to be a totally terrific or one-of-a-kind routine to stand out!
4: Perform Tricks
Magic tricks are a great way to engage an audience in your talent performance. Whether your child demonstrates card tricks, cuts a partner in half or pulls a rabbit out of a hat, the audience is sure to love the craft behind the illusions.
Don't be afraid to push the envelope! Bring a well-behaved pet to the pageant if your daughter has taught it a series of tricks. Another pageant-worthy trick is juggling. Your child can always juggle traditional balls or clubs, but why not incorporate other exciting props into the routine? Kids can learn to juggle almost anything -- plates, scarves or even different types of fruit!
3: Recite a Favorite Poem or Monologue
Does your child have a passion for theater? If so, reciting a dramatic poem or monologue is a perfect talent for her to display at a beauty pageant. Have your child choose a passionate piece that allows her to give animated expressions, such as Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech or "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," by Maya Angelou. Theatrical monologues are also great for children; for example, Walter Ben Hare's "S-M-I-L-E," or a passage from "Alice in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll.
If your child would rather perform something more lighthearted or humorous, choose poets with playful voices, such as Shel Silverstein or Dr. Seuss. Remind your daughter to speak slowly and clearly so the audience can understand her!
Acting comes naturally to some children. Have your little thespian perform a solo scene from a favorite movie or impersonate a celebrity, like Elvis or Cher. If your child is creative but also a little stage shy, she can put on a short puppet show. Write a script that has some depth and meaning, or tie in something the audience can relate to, like a comical take on current events. Jokes are another great way for your child actor to shine. Either recite a few favorites for the audience, or write a brief stand-up comedy act and take the stage!
1: Twirl a Baton
Baton twirling is a classic talent performed at beauty pageants. Have your child practice traditional twirling tricks, such as catching the baton behind her back while spinning or leaping. It's a bonus if she can include tricks involving various body parts as well, such as the neck, knees, elbows, wrists and feet! The faster she learns to twirl her baton, the more impressed the audience and judges will be.
To make the routine even more exciting, incorporate traditional gymnastics, such as cartwheels, flips and splits, into the performance. As always, she's got to put a big smile on her face during her act! The audience will enjoy seeing that she's having such a great time on stage.
Lots More Information
- 10 Notable Beauty Pageant Moments
- 6 Unusual Beauty Pageants
- Pageant Tool Kit
- Celebrity Pageant Contestants
- Pageant Quiz
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