When it comes to the competition circuit, each new year brings a plethora of choreographic, music and fashion trends to the dance floor—from dancing in socks to dancing with props. To cap off a great year of dance, Dance Teacher spoke with competition judge Lauren Renck about four of her favorite trends she saw this year.

1. Participating in competition master classes

It's a chance for dancers to connect with other dancers their age. I think it's important to take class with other people who don't go to your studio. If you can take a class during the competition, it changes the experience from just a performance opportunity to another learning opportunity.

2. Using props less and/or more creatively

I think there's been more of a focus on the creation of movement and using different choreographic vocabulary instead of just making it about a prop. Even when props are used, I feel like they're being used in a smarter and more creative way.

Lauren Renck has been a judge for Headliners, I Love Dance, Believe, Elite Dance Challenge, Impact Dance Adjudicators, Nexstar, Step Up 2 Dance and Encore DCS. Photo courtesy of Renck

3. Getting creative with popular music

There are those songs that people dance to every year, but it is always a great thing to see what you can do with a well-known piece of music. Even show tunes or songs that we know choreography to—taking those and putting your own twist on them is wonderful to see.

4. Returning to classic jazz and ballet

I have noticed a return to classic jazz—which I love! And ballet, too, which is also really exciting to see.

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