How To Put On A Showstoppin' Performance With Advice From Showstopper's Judges

Showstopper sees all types of different dancers from across the world at their dance competitions. Sometimes it can be hard to know how to stand out among the 100s of dancers that perform on their stages.


With some of the most experienced and knowledgable judges in the industry, Showstopper asked its judges for their best advice on how to put on a showstoppin' performance. Here's what they said…

on being MEMORABLE…

"The originality of the routine. How many times have I heard the song you're dancing to that day? Is your choreography unique? Originality compared with strong technique and showmanship are what always impress me!" - Melanie Buckley

"I think the most memorable dances are the ones that take a piece of me, the ones that move me to a different place and tell me a story that I can see unfold onstage. Each piece of choreography is a reflection of the teacher that taught the dance so it's also a peek into their innermost thoughts." - Dena Rizzo

"The most memorable routines, for me, are the performances that evoke an emotional response within me as an audience member. I love to be moved by a story. Dance is art and dancers are artists. Whether it's a story of love, loss, courage or fear, performers have the amazing ability to communicate every emotion." - Kristin Marie Johnson

"I will always remember the routines that are not like everything else. Creativity. Routines that push the envelope so to speak." - Debbie DiBiase-Wood

"A memorable routine is one that leaves me wanting to see it again and again and again. It could be outstanding lifts, unforgettable turns, out of this world flexibility, the energy and excitement of movement, or the surprise of 'how did they do that?'. There are performances I still remember from 15-20 years ago that are etched imprints into my psychic." - Kelly King

"A unique element is always good, but I really love pieces that take me on a ride. They bring me to another world. That could be an emotional journey, a spectacular display, or a more abstract picturesque piece." - Michelle Hammar

"I love to see how the dancer connects with the audience and judges. Make eye contact, be super confident, and OWN that stage! This is their moment to shine, and if the dancer is truly confident, their passion will shine through the emotion and choreography." - Kara Lozanovski

on CHOREOGRAPHY…

"I advise teachers to 'think outside the box' when it comes to finding a concept. Try to create powerful images and strong emotions. Think about unique formations and props, and try to be precise with lines, shapes and sounds." - Eileen Grace

"Rely on your dancers' technique but focus on cleaning up your choreography! I am always a happy judge when I see a clean double turn, rather than a not so clean triple turn in choreography." - Julie Pentz

"I absolutely love to see style that suits the performer or performers. I would much rather see a dancer's sense of style versus the same turns, jumps, and tumbling that the we have seen time and time again. I am, of course, in awe of the amazing tricks that dancers are capable of, however, it is thrilling to see a fresh style and emotionally connected performance." - Kristin Marie Johnson

"Advice to teachers when it comes to choreography, always remember students strengths and weaknesses. Clean combinations, smooth transitions, creative movements, staging, exits and entrances, all create a formula that should be pleasing to the eye and make a statement." - Kelly King

"Find music that has an arc and then choreograph to the nuances of that music. Less is more! Meaning, do something longer to let the audience fully drink it in. More subtle moves help draw the audience into your little world on the stage. Also, don't be afraid to HOLD a pose. It will keep your viewers guessing ;)" - Michelle Hammar

"Start with a strong point of view. What do you want the piece to 'say'? What you do you want the audience to take away from the piece?" - Jennifer Hemphill

#1 THING JUDGES LOOK FOR…

"It's a tie between originality and technique!" - Melanie Buckley

"Of course, I always look for strong technique. Also important is the commitment to the routine as well as the clean timing and precision." - Debbie DiBiase-Wood

"To say what the number one thing to look for is difficult. Of course, technique and training would be the most obvious answer. However, I love passion and story telling. A routine that captures emotion. Nothing compares to being swept away by a dancer who lives in the moment of his or her performance. I've seen many dancers with exquisite technique, but no heart. Amazing technique plus amazing feeling equals Crystal." - Kelly King

"It is hard to name just one thing I look for! Feeling the excitement, enthusiasm and energy from the dancers is very important. Are they fully invested? If I have to sum that up in one word, it would be energy." - Michelle Hammar

"The number one thing I look for while judging is EMOTION. I love to see how the dancer connects to the choreography emotionally by breathing through the movement and living in the moment, like poetry in motion! Finish every movement to the fullest capacity and let your technique shine through. This is YOUR moment. I also love to see their personalities explode through the story line of the choreography. :) This truly connects the dancer to the choreography in an artistic way, too. Push your limits and be the beautiful dancer that you are!!!" - Kara Lozanovski

"Connection. That the dancer is consistently connecting her or his technique with her or his artistic sense." - Caitlin Abraham

GET READY TO TAKE THE STAGE | Showstopper's 2019 Regionals Competition Season www.youtube.com

Join the Showstopper stages this 2019 season. At competitions, you will receive full reports and live video with voice feedback from the judges on each of your performances. For 2019 tour dates and to register head to www.goshowstopper.com.

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