In a workshop I attended, Nourhan Sharif said you should listen to a piece of music so much that you are sick of it, and only then are you ready to dance to it. Her point being that you need to know your music well to be able to do it justice with a live, improv performance.
I understand what she is saying but I also see it slightly differently - I have basically the same set that I use for all my basic gigs (birthdays, retirement parties, weddings, etc). Pretty much the same songs, in the same order, unless there is a special request or other reason that I would change things up. Lately, I have been feeling, well, uninspired when I dance to those songs. Kind of like "Ho hum, shimmy, shimmy, pop, turn, turn, turn.....same old, same old" I know them SO well, that they don't get me excited any more - you know, the feeling you get when you hear a song you LOVE and you just need to get up and dance to it right away!
I have found that, lately, my exciting (to me) shows - the ones where I finish feeling like I rocked - are the ones where I am using different music. Maybe a song I don't know very well, because I've only heard it a few times. So it's new to me. Yes, I am probably missing some accents I could be using, or getting slightly off-beat when there is a change in the music that I didn't realize was coming. But I am having more fun, and I feel like it shows. And I think that is pretty darn important.
What do you think? Do you listen to your songs until you hear them in your sleep? Or do you like to change it up frequently?