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6-Tips For Cleaning Your Choreography




Dance Teachers

Dance Teachers know that this time of year cleaning your choreography becomes a very important aspect of your classes. Major time will be spent on the cleaning process. With recitals and student showcases just around the corner, cleaning will be a critical element to the success of the pieces you are presenting.

Now the key question is how do you keep these rehearsals fresh, fun and productive? That is the real challenge, especially for the dancers who are more recreational in their interest. We stress that it is important for the dancers to perform the piece each time that the number is rehearsed, dancing full out and finding new ways to make the movement more challenging. As the dancers become comfortable with the choreography, it is only human nature to start to water down the movement after it is learned. They will unconsciously make the movement easier and the dance will start to look like they are marking it. Pointing this out to the dancers so that they are aware of it has been very successful for us.

Here are other ideas to keep rehearsals moving in the right direction. Use these 6 Helpful tips that generate great results!

1: Make it a fun activity! One idea we use is to let each dancer have a chance to perform the dance. The idea of doing it solo will be a bit scary to some of them, but with a little encouragement you can get them to take this leap of faith. Once the material is mastered, your students will gain a new sense of confidence that will radiate through their performance. It is important not to make it competitive, but more of a demonstration to see how well they know the choreography. It will also help you know how well they know the work, too!

2: Face different directions. This is always a challenge for the dancers. Facing the mirror the entire time is a big mistake. Especially once they get on stage, dancers will be very disoriented if they are only used to facing the mirror. Try doing it facing the back of the room and even to the side.

3: Split up into groups. If you have a big enough group, you can practice it in smaller clusters, with each group watching the others. We have each group support the others with applause and positive feedback. Its also fun for the dancers to see what their piece will look like from the audiences perspective.

4: Make copies of the edited music. This may seem like a no-brainer but I was surprised how many teachers don’t take the time to do this. Yes, I get it, it takes time to get everyone the music but it is well worth the time to get your students the edited version of the music. You can email the music or put it on a thumb drive that the student brings in. The results of this one tip have been fantastic, especially for the beginner students! Being able to work on their own with the edited piece enables them to become very familiar with all the nuances of the music and makes practicing on their own much more plausible and fun!

5: Get together with other classes. This one you will have to clear with your studio owner, but it is fun and exciting for the dancers. If you have several classes going on at the same time you can spend the last 10 minutes bringing all the dancers into one room and having them perform for each other. It is a great way for the dancers to see what the other groups are doing and will motivate each group to be as good as the others. If you only have one room, then allow two classes to have five minutes of overlap time. Let the dancers know at the beginning of earlier class that you will be doing this and you will get them fired up to really step it up.

6: Go over all stage entrances and exits. Stage left and right become fuzzy to some dancers outside of the studio. Make sure you go over this several times from several angles where stage right, left, up stage and down stage all are! Even something as simple as where they enter and exit can become a challenge for the dancers in a different setting. Keep asking the dancers where they are and where they enter from. This will also help when you get to the theater and have to run it through on the stage. Youll be able to say, Move stage right or Move further down stage and the group will actually know which direction to go in!

Keep in mind that some dancers may need some extra work, and private lessons will be a great way to help them improve. If you see a dancer is really struggling, dont wait! Bring it to the attention of the studio director and have them contact the parent to arrange a private. While most students have fun getting ready for a show and enjoy the spotlight, it is frightening to others. Keep this in mind and continue to build up the classs overall confidence. If one part of the dance is just not working, it may be that you need to change the choreography. One extra turn, leap or dance sequence does not make the dance, and taking it out wont break the dance.

 The overall appearance and entertainment value will far exceed any one ingredient of the piece. Here is something to remember: If they dont look good, you dont look good!



Steve Sirico

Steve Sirico

Steve is co-founder of Dance Teacher Web the number one online resource for dance teachers and studio owners worldwide.He is Co-Director of the very successful D'Valda and Sirico Dance and Music Center in Fairfield, CT for the past thirty plus years. His students have gone on to very successful careers in dance, music and theater. Originally from Norwalk, Ct, Steve excelled in track and football. He attended the University of Tennessee at Martin on a sports scholarship. Deciding to switch and make his career in the world of dance, he studied initially with Mikki Williams and then in New York with Charles Kelley and Frank Hatchett. He has appeared in a number of theatre productions such as Damn Yankees, Guys and Dolls and Mame in New York and around the country and in industrials and television shows. He was contracted to appear as the lead dancer in the Valerie Peters Special a television show filmed in Tampa, Florida. After meeting Angela DValda during the filming they formed the Adagio act of DValda & Sirico appearing in theatres, clubs and on television shows such as David Letterman, Star Search and the Jerry Lewis Telethon. In 1982 they were contracted to Europe and appeared in a variety of shows in Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and Italy before going to London, England where they appeared as Guest Artists for Wayne Sleep (formerly of the Royal Ballet) in his show Dash at the Dominium Theatre. Author of his Jazz Dance syllabus and co-author of a Partner syllabus both of which are used for teacher training by Dance Educators of America, He has also co-authored two books one for dance teachers and one for studio owners in the "It's Your Turn" Book series. He is available for master classes, private business consulting and teacher training development

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