Ask the Experts: Cleaning Competition Routines

Q: No matter what I do, my competition routines are never as clean as I want them to be. What are your tips?

A: In my classes, when I’m working with one group, the other group knows to go through the steps and counts together to make sure they all match. No one stands still and waits for me to tell them what to do. I teach them to do that from a very young age. Here are a few more cleaning tips that I’ve come up with over the years, through trial and error.

  • Train your eyes to find the student I call “Waldo”—the one who’s different. Standing at the back of the studio and watching the dancers’ reflection in the mirror works best for me.
  • When clarifying choreography, I ask one of my stronger dancers where her head/arms/legs are on specific counts, and then I get the rest of the class to match.
  • For turns, make sure everyone spots on the same count to keep the revolutions in sync.
  • With younger comp dancers, number their corrections to turn remembering corrections into a game: “Oh,” I’ll say, “you got three out of four corrections right that time!”
  • Make a big deal out of it when a student masters a step or applies a correction—and have the rest of the class applaud her.

And most importantly: Clean your routines as you go; don’t leave it all until the end. Rehearsing the steps the wrong way makes corrections harder to implement later.

Joanne Chapman is the owner of the award-winning Joanne Chapman School of Dance in Brampton, Ontario.

 

Photo by Dan Boskovic, courtesy of Joanne Chapman

News
Getty Images

Despite worldwide theater closures, the Universal Ballet Competition is keeping The Nutcracker tradition alive in 2020 with an online international competition. The event culminates in a streamed, full-length video of The Virtual Nutcracker consisting of winning entries on December 19. The competition is calling on studios, as well as dancers of all ages and levels, to submit videos by November 29 to be considered.

"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

Keep reading... Show less
Robbie Sweeny, courtesy Funsch

Christy Funsch's teaching career has taken her from New York City to the Bay Area to Portugal, with a stint in a punk band in between. But this fall—fresh off a Fulbright in Portugal at the Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa, School of Dance (ESD), teaching and researching empathetic embodiment through somatic dance training—Funsch's teaching has taken her to an entirely new location: Zoom. A visiting professor at Slippery Rock University for the 2020–21 academic year, Funsch is adapting her eclectic, boundary-pushing approach to her virtual classes.

Originally from central New York State, Funsch spent 20 years performing in the Bay Area, where she also started her own company, Funsch Dance Experience. "My choreographic work from that time is in the dance-theater experiential, fantasy realm of performance," she says. "I also started blending genres and a lot of urban styles found their way into my choreography."

Keep reading... Show less
News
Courtesy Meg Brooker

As the presidential election approaches, it's a particularly meaningful time to remember that we are celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote after a decades-long battle.

Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.