Five forgotten moves that will get you noticed at your next dance competition!

Video Credit: 

#1 Transition Steps
A lot of emphasis is put into the jumps, kicks, turns and tricks. How you transition into these tricks are just as important. When transition steps are ignored, the energy of a dance drops out during these moments. Think of your dance as a complete sentence or paragraph. Take the title of this blog for example. Take out the words that don’t seem very important. The sentence might read “Five overlooked noticed dance competition.” It’s not a complete thought and doesn’t really make sense. Don’t throw these transition steps away. They are just as important as the jumps, kicks, turns and tricks. They can add highs, lows and different colors to a performance. They tell your story, your whole story. How can you make transition steps more effective?

#2 Traveling
Most competition stages are in professional theaters. Use this to your advantage. We’ve watched countless routines where the dancer stays in one area of the stage, sometimes often on one side, leaving even more of the stage unused. Now imagine you are the routine that uses the entire stage. That would blow the judges socks off! In addition, don’t dance “on top of the floor”. Instead, think of dancing “into or through the floor” using the plié for more power which allows for more traveling. Pick up the feet when traveling, as opposed to letting them come along for the ride, pedestrian-like.

#3 The Passe and Releve
Often overlooked, the passé is a powerful move. Just watch Cyd Charisse in any of her films. She knew how incredibly important the passé was (and most of the time she did it in heels). And it’s an absolutely gorgeous line. Don’t just breeze through that passé. Is it as high as it can be? Is it connected? Is the supporting leg straight? Give it the attention it deserves and it will really make an impact on your judges. Over the last few years, the releve has been sacrificed to accomplish more rotations or turns.  This is cheating and the judges notice when a dancer does seven turns but their heel is almost on the ground.  Pay attention to the specifics of when you are supposed to be in high releve or when it is a forced arch.  Make every step count!

#4 Focus
Dance has become very internalized and there is nothing wrong with that. However, dance is also a performance art.  If there is an audience, they need to be engaged equally by both the physical and emotional journey of the dance. And purposeful focus and intention gives a routine a lot more confidence.  There should always be intention behind the eyes.  The eyes are the windows to the soul so let us in. Check out these videos of Mikail Barishnikov.  Whether he is looking into the camera or not, there is such focus in his and intention behind his movement.  He is seeing past the camera.

#5 Smile
A smile may not be appropriate in every dance, but a smile does go a long way.  A real smile exudes confidence.  A smile says “I’m happy to be here performing for you on stage”.  A smile opens up the heart.  A smile welcomes the judges into your story telling.  A smile allows emotion to flow more freely.  There is nothing interesting on the floor so stop looking down.  Make a connection with your judges.  You will have more fun, and so will the audience!

Perfect Pirouettes

Video Credit: 

Pretty Preps
Make sure you really give your weight into the floor… I choose to put 70% off my weight into my leading foot and then the other 30% into my back foot. That technique allows enough force to push off of the back foot and also allows me to maintain my center.

Think Up and Think Down
Think that the top of your head is being pulled by a string and the bottom foot is being pulled into the core of the earth during your pirouette. That feeling of being pulled both directions is crucial to a solid, sturdy set of rotations.

Core, Core, Core
This is the most important rule… YOUR CORE HAS TO BE ENGAGED connecting itself to your arms and legs.

Spot Like It’s Hot
A quick spot will ensure a limitless amount of quick rotations.

Fabulous Firsts
Ensure that your arms are placed in a fabulous first position by engaging the latissimus dorsi in the upper back to provide a solid shelf for the arms to rest on. That will ensure that your shoulders stay down and arms are STRONG AND SOLID!!!! Also, try to imagine you are holding a beach ball to maintain a perfect circular shape in the arms without droopy elbows or wrists.

No one wants to see you break character in your pirouette! AND IT’S SUPER FUN SO WHY WOULDN’T YOU SMILE??!!

Applying To A Dance College

Video Credit: 

What are the schools with the best college dance programs?
There are so many great dance programs out there, it’s really just about finding the right one for you. When I was looking at programs, I limited my choices to schools on the West Coast with a strong academic program, and that offered a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance. My top options were: USC, Chapman University, UCI, UCLA, Loyola Marymount, and University of Arizona. Some other schools I looked into with great dance programs are NYU, Ailey/Fordham, Julliard, SMU, North Carolina School of the Arts, Marymount Manhattan, and Pace University, and there are many more.

What is the college application process like?
The application process is very different for each school. For dance majors it is often a two-part process. You must not only be admitted academically through the school, but also through the dance department.The first step is to visit each school. Meet with the dance department and find out all the requirements and deadlines, and also if it would be the right school to help you reach your career goals. Many schools have a day with master classes and information sessions in which you can try out their program, meet their faculty, watch their performances and see if you like it. It is a good idea to start doing this early.

Is there an audition?  If so, what’s it like?
Yes, there is always an audition in dance! Each college handles their admission and audition process a little differently. Some require a video submission “prescreening” process in order to get invited to the live auditions. Some you just schedule an audition but you may also have to submit materials online ahead of time. My best advice is to be prepared. If the audition has a solo component, have your solo done and cut to the right length well ahead of time. If there are classes, make sure to bring all of your dance shoes. You never know what you might need! Then just relax and have fun. After all, the people making this decision are dancers just like you. It is different from an audition in Los Angeles where you have to have the right look or you have to fit the brand. In college, they’re looking for approachable dancers that have the right training and are willing to learn new things.

When are the auditions?  When should I start applying for college?  Most auditions are in January of your senior year, but there is so much to prepare ahead of time. Make a list of colleges you want to look into and start to research and plan visits to them, ideally before or early in your junior year. During your junior year, try to get your testing done and keep up your GPA. During the summer before your senior year make sure you have a solo that is ready to go and fits all the time requirements for your auditions. This is also a good time to get your headshot, dance shot, dance resume, and letters of recommendation ready. Senior year get ready for all the essays, applications and scheduling. This process can get really stressful but just try to enjoy it. You will meet so many amazing new dancers through this journey and know that you really will find the perfect school for you!

How important are scores to get into college (GPA, SAT/ACT)?
Even dance departments look at GPA. During one of my dance auditions they actually referenced my GPA and test scores and said they were glad I had good scores because it was hard for them to turn away good dancers with test scores that did not meet their requirements. I have heard from many different colleges that they are looking for “smart” dancers.Colleges are very competitive. Your GPA and SAT/ACT scores need to be within the acceptable range for each school that you apply to. It is definitely not impossible to get into a school for dance that would be a reach for you academically, but your chances would be much better with higher scores. Being a dancer with high test scores and GPA shows the college what a dedicated student and dancer you are!

Why choose a dance major and what can I do with it?
First of all, I love dance. With dance being such a big part of my life, I could not imagine college without it. Being a dance major could be an end in itself. However, after college it allows you to apply for teaching positions that require a formal dance education. In college you also learn about the academic side to dance with classes in dance history, teaching methods, kinesiology, and more. Additionally, getting choreographic and performance experience while being under the direction of top industry professionals is an absolutely amazing opportunity.

How many schools should I apply to?
I would start with a list of ten. After you start visiting the campuses and learning more about the programs, you will probably like a few favorites. I ended up applying to eight. Once you are accepted into a school you like, you can compare each school to that the others on your list.  Eventually you will narrow your list down to just a few schools. Maybe a top three. These schools you put all your energy into. You visit and research and really imagine yourself there. By the end of the process, you will have a feeling of which school is right for you.

Should I apply to a college even if I am not sure if I can afford it?
Yes, don’t let price deter you from a school. Many schools offer scholarships or financial aid that can help supplement the cost of your college education. Once you have narrowed down your choices to your top three, evaluate the cost, scholarship/financial aid, and the dance/academics offered. I was very surprised at the academic scholarship offers, and was very excited to receive one.

10 Corrections Your Dance Teacher Is Tired of Giving Over and Over

Referenced from an article from

Here's 10 corrections your dance teacher is tired of giving over and over!

Why Does My Hair Have To Be In A Bun?

Everyone knows ballerinas wear their hair in a bun; it's such common knowledge that we call it a ballerina bun. Why is this such an issue, and why does your hair have to be up anyway?

#1 - Muscle Memory. Does your child have bangs or pieces of hair falling down in the face? How about little frizzies tickling their shoulders? In the middle of a combination or rehearsal, they may reach up and brush their hair out of their way. When a dancer does this all the time, after a specific step, or in a rehearsal, it actually becomes muscle memory, and they will continue to "brush their hair away" onstage, even if it is slicked back and pinned up!

#2 - It's a problem for turns. For ponytails, dancers tend to wince or close their eyes when they spot, or whip their head around. You cannot turn without spotting your head, and you definitely can't turn with your eyes closed. This is legitimately a safety hazard.What if my daughter's hair is in a ponytail but it's too thick/short/fuzzy/whatever to get in a bun?That means you're doing the bun wrong. Check out my hair tutorials for more!

#3 - Balance. The ballet bun helps center your balance. It is that extra orientation you need for pirouettes, tour jetes, and partnering. This is why it's important for your bun to be centered, rather than off to one side.

#4 - It helps the teacher. If everyone in the room matches perfectly, it is easier to pick out exactly what is wrong and who is wrong. A shoulder or elbow in the wrong place, the head placement not being correct, or even trying to figure out who is turning the wrong direction can be disorienting if everyone's hair, clothing, and accessories are different. This is important because it helps prevent the dancer from being injured due to bad technique.#5 Because the teacher said so. Even if there was no other good reason, if your teacher has a rule at her studio, you need to follow it. If you respect your child's teacher, your child will see that respect, and it will transfer to them. The overall atmosphere in the dance studio will be more learning friendly, professional, and respectful.

Article Credit: