Competition and convention season can seem never-ending, but with access to the world's most popular teachers, the experience is invaluable and gives students the opportunity to learn from the best in the business.

Seth Robinson, who teaches contemporary and improv with STREETZ and REVEL dance conventions, has taught and judged thousands of dancers across the nation. Here, Robinson offers three tips to better prepare your students for dance's ever-popular, jam-packed events.

It's a Journey

More often than not, dancers become overly focused on where they are headed and what they'd like to achieve next. This is a great mind-set to have, but being in the moment—trying to stand out and be unique for potential scholarships (or even potential castings)—is where your students' focus needs to be. Being aware that the technique they have, prior to starting a class, is what you have to work with. This can cause some kids to feel shame or inadequate. But remind students to go into the convention, workshop or class with the mindset of giving today's best version of themselves.

Tell your students: You are your biggest cheerleader. Believe in your abilities and all the progress made from the hours and years of training.

Give Yourself Space

In a crowded convention room, spread out. Please! Sure, standing up front is a great view: the teacher's sweat splashing on you and you're safely surrounded by dozens of other dancers. Who doesn't want that? Jokes aside, I always start my classes explaining to the dancers that we are here to work and learn. As a teacher, I'm here to give students all that I can in an hour or so, and the best thing dancers can give themselves in this setting is space. It's so common that dancers never get the chance to go for the moves full-out, because they are so worried about getting an elbow to the face.

Tell your students: Move around the room throughout class. While learning choreography quickly, it's a great idea to change your scenery. This will challenge your brain from merely remembering choreographing to really gaining confidence with the movement and feeling the steps.

Meet New People

I can't help but laugh when I see dancers sticking with the same friends at a weekend-long convention. You look great in your matching jackets, but I'm a firm believer in mixing things up. This is a great time to meet different people in the dance community. Challenge your students to meet the other visiting dancers and to make friends.

Tell your students: Down the road, networking is the name of the game, and the connections you make today will serve you in the future. Plus, introducing yourself to the new faces in the room will break down walls, relieving you of the nervousness that you might be feeling.

Bonus Tips

Don't forget the basics: rest and hydration. Going away after a school week can be tiring for kids, so remind your students to always practice self-care, but especially before these marathon weekends.

Support others and allow yourself to be supported in return. This is a unique chance to work with new industry people. Make it a pleasant experience by leaving our judgments at the stage door, so everyone can succeed.

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Photos by Amy Kelkenberg

Whether a dancer has too much or too little, turnout can be one of the most frustrating aspects of technique. Students often feel they must achieve 180-degree rotation to become successful in the field. In reality, the average person only has 45 degrees of external rotation in each leg, meaning their first position should be no greater than 90 degrees.

Because range of motion in the hip is ultimately determined by the joint's structure, it is impossible for dancers to increase their structural turnout. Often, though, students do not use what they have to the greatest potential. By maximizing their mobility they will find greater ease within movement, improve lines and, most important, prevent injuries caused by forcing the joints.

Deborah Vogel, co-founder of the Center for Dance Medicine in New York City, says the best way to unlock external rotation is to balance out muscle strength and flexibility. “Dancers are working the turnout all the time. They're always engaged and focused so much on using it. The minute they learn how to release those muscles they bring everything into balance," she says. “That middle is where dancers last the longest."

Here, Vogel suggests exercises that stretch and strengthen the muscles that activate turnout:

Sitting Stretch: For Stretching Turnout Muscles at the Back of the Pelvis

Sit on the edge of a chair with knees at a 90-degree angle and feet flat on the floor. Cross the right ankle onto the left knee. Lace your hands together and nestle them under the right knee, lightly pressing energy into your hands and toward the floor (though the knee should not actually move). Sit up straight—some may already feel tension here.

With a flat back, bring the belly button toward your legs. Continue gently pressing the right knee into your clasped hands.

Experiment with turning the upper body toward the knee or the foot to stretch different muscles.

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Have you ever attended an audition and wished that you knew what the director was looking for? We've rounded up some of our favorite quotes from our Director's Notes column over the past few years to give you a deeper glimpse into the minds of 10 artistic directors.

Ashley Wheater, Joffrey Ballet

"I want to develop and nurture artists," says Wheater, seeking "people who are not afraid to be expressive, and understand all the layers that go into making a work above and beyond the steps."

Ingrid Lorentzen, Norwegian National Ballet

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Dancers have a language all their own. From French technical terms to scatting out choreography dynamics, it's a wonder any nondancers understand a word we say! Perhaps some of the most confusing dancer terms are the various foods we use to describe our feet. To help dance outsiders out, DT broke down the foods that are commonplace in dancer lingo. Share them with your loved ones, so they can better understand the weird and wonderful breed of dancer that you are.

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Injuries can be devastating to a dance career, but you can reduce their occurrence or avoid them—if you know what to look for. To learn why certain injuries happen and what can be done to prevent them, we consulted a group of experts: Jacqui Greene Hass, director of Pilates and Dance Medicine at Wellington Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Therapy Services; Marijeanne Liederbach, director of research and education at Harkness Center for Dance Injuries; Jennifer Deckert, assistant professor at University of Wyoming (holds an MFA in ballet pedagogy and has presented at the International Association for Medicine and Science); and Michael Kelly Bruce, associate professor at The Ohio State University (certified in Pilates and specializes in conditioning).

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We all know and love Mia Michaels. She's a fearless choreographer and teacher, who's inspired a generation of dancers with her unique style, grace and brilliance. What's not to love? And now we can't help but gush over a personal confession she recently shared on Instagram.

Bottom line: No matter your age, size or shape, don't wait to love your body or yourself.

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I recently started back in modern dance after a long hiatus—I stopped dancing at age 11 and went back two years ago at age 24. I've found that when I'm on the floor, I can't open to a very wide second. Also, if I'm sitting in butterfly on the floor with my feet together, my knees are some distance from the ground. What can I do to loosen my hips?

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When your students are onstage, every dance step matters, of course. But so does every non-dance step. The simple act of being onstage—whether standing still, walking to a position or running from one place to another—requires a constant presence. And as Kitty Carter, of Kitty Carter's Dance Factory in Dallas, Texas, points out, "walking and running are actually part of the dance. They act as transitions from step to step." So teaching your students to understand the importance of active stillness and pedestrian choreography is essential, and it will help them see the "big picture" of a performance. But it's not easy.

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