Teaching Tips

Tips for Cleaning Those Stubborn Competition Routines

Thinkstock

Q: Do you have any advice for how to clean competition pieces?


A: The best way is to clean as you choreograph. This will keep inaccuracies out of your dancers' muscle memories from the beginning.

If this isn't possible, try asking half of your class to perform 16 counts of the choreography, while the other half watches and critiques. Assign your dancers specific partners to observe. If there are questions about what is correct, discuss the matter as a group. Continue to do this every 16 counts until the entire piece is clean. Working together as a team speeds up the cleaning process and teaches accountability. I often tell my dancers: "A group is only as strong as its weakest member. Don't be that person—you are all too good to be that person."

When I use this cleaning tool, my senior dancers will often take on a leadership role and work with the weaker dancers on the details of the choreography. The ability to handle critiques from your peers is not always easy, but it's an important tool in developing a strong team. Teaching each person to be responsible for herself and to own her part within the group will keep things on task and prepare your team for competition season.


Teachers Trending
Courtesy Lovely Leaps

After the birth of her daughter in 2018, engineer Lisa McCabe had reservations about returning to the workforce full-time. And while she wanted to stay home with the new baby, she wasn't ready to stop contributing financially to her family (after all, she'd had a successful career designing cables for government drones). So, when she got a call that September from an area preschool to lead its dance program, she saw an opportunity.

The invitation to teach wasn't completely out of the blue. McCabe had grown up dancing in Southern California and had a great reputation from serving as her church's dance teacher and team coach the previous three years (stopping only to take a break as a new mother). She agreed to teach ballet and jazz at the preschool on Fridays and from there created an age-appropriate class based on her own training in the Cecchetti and RAD methods. It was a success: In three months, class enrollment went from six to 24 students, and just one year later, McCabe's blossoming Lovely Leaps brand had contracts with eight preschools and three additional teachers.

Keep reading... Show less
News
Courtesy Shake the Ground

Dance competitions were among the first events to be shut down when the COVID-19 pandemic exploded in the U.S. in mid-March, and they've been among the last able to restart.

So much of the traditional structure of the competition—large groups of dancers and parents from dozens of different studios; a new city every week—simply won't work in our new pandemic world.

How, then, have competitions been getting by, and what does the future look like?

Keep reading... Show less
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

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.