Thursday, February 3, 2011

Competition (:

Today the weather has been bad, so my classes are canceled. Because of this, I thought I would talk about the dance competitions we attend in the spring. In the past, we have competed in two different competitions per year; Stage One and Showstopper. But the last couple of years, we have only been going to Showstopper. Showstopper is a dance competition that is held all over the United States.There are different levels in the competition, but since our dance studio is so small, we only compete in the first round. Scoring is quite different than you might think. Dancers are divided into age groups, and are scored in two ways. The first thing, is they are ranked, 1st, 2nd,3rd,etc. according to their scores. The second part, is they are ranked silver, gold, platinum, or double platinum. This is based on what your over all score is. For example, if gold rank was between 23 and 27, and 1st and 2nd place contestants were both within that range, they would be ranked 1st place old and 2nd place gold. This is very different for me, because in figure skating, you are grouped by skill level, not age.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Coffee Grinder!

Yesterday, towards the end of my hip hop class, when my jazz students started to arrive... I thought it would be fun to had a contest to see who could do coffee grinders the longest without stopping. We had two rules; no stopping and keep good form( toes pointed, knees strait, etc.). So I played some music and they began. Unfortunately, no one was the winner, because they all stopped and started again, and their form was not so good. So I declared it a tie. So if you haven't yet watched the video, you are probably wondering what a coffee grinder is. A coffee grinder is a dance move that could somewhat fall into the category of beginners break dancing. If you look at the video above, you can see that you start with one leg bent, and one straight out to the side. From here, you simply swing the leg that is strait out in a circular motion, parallel to the ground. Every time you get to where your leg won't go any farther, because your other leg is in the way, you simply hop over it. It takes a little practice, but once you get the hang of it, it's pretty easy and fun!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Today in jazz class, my two students we having a hard time keeping focus on what I was asking them to do. Sometimes, like right before a show or competition, it's important to always stay on task. But other times, like now, where we have no upcoming programs, its ok to goof around a little. I like to let my students get all their silliness out by turning up some random music and let them do what ever they want. There's just one rule. They have to dance. The two students in that class are boy/girl partners in competition, so they love when they get to freestyle dance together, because they know how to do some basic lifts and partner moves. Their favorite move is sliding underneath each other's legs. Another way I get my students back on track, is using silly ways to describe how they could do something better. My students are younger ( fourth anf fifth grade) so they find my comparisons quite amuzing. Something i use alot is instead of telling them their feet aren't pointed, i'll tell them they have elf feet. No one likes a dance teacher who can't be silly sometimes, and today was a perfect day to be the fun teacher!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Today was our first day back in dance class since Christmas break. Because it has been awhile since our bodies have had a good workout, I decided today would be a good day to get our feet back under us by concentrating more on the basics, mostly stretching. Stretching is a very important aspect of dance. Flexibility is key in most dance moves. If certain moves are attempted before stretching, it can cause serious muscle damage.The first step in stretching is warming up your muscles. I used to be a competitive figure skater, and before i stretched, I jumped rope. Stretching on cold muscles can be damaging to the muscles. It is like taking a rubber band and putting it in your freezer. If you try to stretch it out, it is more likely to break then if you tried to stretch a rubber band at room temperature.This is why most dance studios will keep the temperature very warm. Once you have warmed up your muscles, its time to stretch! How I lead my stretches is usually from the head down ( working the neck, the shoulders, the abs etc.), but everyone has a different stretching routine. There's really no right or wrong way to approach stretching, as long as it is approached in a safe way. Some signs to look for that you are over extending or over stretching your muscles are burning or intense sharp pain. If you ever start to feel this when stretching, just pull out of the stretch and give those muscles a break. I often tell my students about the things I have mentioned, to make sure they remember the proper ways to stretch on there own. As long as these things are kept in mind, stretch away!