When preparing your dance routine for competition season, one of the best things you can do to improve the quality of your routine is to clean it! Working to enhance the uniformity and presentation of your routine is important, because competing with strong, uniformed lines and precisely synchronized timing will enhance your routine impression as well as your scores from the judges!
Here are some tips and tricks for cleaning your competition routine:
utilize video playback
Watching yourself and your dance on video is one of the best ways to understand where you’re excelling and where you still need work. Video at rehearsal and then have every dancer in the routine watch the playback and write their observations (both for themselves and for the full team.) The more specific the critiques, the better. This is one of the top ways to clean a routine quickly and efficiently.
capture still photos
Hire a local photog or bring in an amateur to your rehearsal to take still photos as dancers perform the routine. You can then review the photos to discover both the dramatic and nuanced differences in timing, placement and uniformity.
use the zone out effect
As a teacher or coach, watch the routine using the zone out effect. This is where you look at the routine using your peripheral vision to zone onto lower bodies or above the dancers heads. This way, you’re not watching anyone specific. As it is more of a blur, and you can see the movement of the entire piece. This technique helps spot dancers who may be hesitating or anticipating pieces of the choreo or who are out of alignment with the rest of the team or group.
Clean in sections
Focus on eight count by eight count until each dancer gets it right. If it takes all rehearsal to do three eight counts, so be it. This will help form discipline, patience and challenge dancers.
watch in groups or partners
This is a fun activity where dancers can give feedback to one another. Watching and performing for each other is helpful to both the watching and the performing dancer, because it allows the dancers to make multiple connections mentally through the feedback loop of progression. Try to encourage dancers to give both positive and constructive feedback. After they are done, have the groups switch so the watching dancer becomes the performer and vice versa.
stop the routine as mistakes happen
Start your dance piece from the beginning, and as soon as you see something off, stop the music and call it out. Begin the routine again. Dancers may become very tired if there is a lot of cleaning to do, but it will put everyone on their “A game” to do their best so the routine doesn’t have to be stopped at their expense. There is a lot to be learned from using this technique.
drill routine elements across the floor during rehearsal
This may not seem like a cleaning tool, but it is something that is helpful in making sure that your dancers are properly executing their more technical elements. Practice makes perfect and this way, you’ll be able to watch them and make corrections in smaller groups.
What do you do to clean your competition dance routines? Please share in the comments!