1. Remember no jewelry unless specifically requested by your instructor. This is because bracelets and rings can easily get snagged on costumes and earrings cause reflections; plus not everyone has their ears pierced.
2. No fingernail polish to keep everyone uniform.
3. To keep everyone looking wrinkle free, we insist no underwear under tights.
4. No eating in costumes. I know how hungry I get during a show so I always pack an oversized shirt or robe to coverup my costume.
5. For students in multiple dances, I recommend a nude camisole leotard. This help to avoid feeling uncomfortable during quick changes.
6. It’s always good to bring a small makeup bag and hair supplies in case you need to reapply or fix hair before show time.
7. Pack a snack. We use a lot of energy on stage and off, so it’s always good to have a granola bar and a water bottle.
8. Bring something to occupy students while they wait back stage. Coloring books (crayons only), cards, or something to read is best.
If you have a 3 – 5 year old enrolled in ballet or creative movement for the first time, chances are they are learning how to skip. Why skipping? The reason many schools teach young students to skip is because it teaches so many things like coordination, opposition, traveling, and rhythm. The simple act of skipping is a bridge to teach students how to connect one dance step to another. With a simple transfer of weight, a hop, and pointed toes, your tiny dancer is on their way to perform on the big stage.
Simple Exercises to Prep for Skipping:
1. Marching with high knees and pointed toes
- Stand up tall with hands on hips
- Bend the right knee into your chest and point your toe
- Place the right foot firm into the ground
- Step forward and bring the left knee up into your chest with a pointed toe
- Continue to march across the floor
Tip: Try practicing to a Madagascar’s “Move It.” It’s a great song to hear the beat and get kids marching!
2. Hopping With a Stuffed Animal
- Place a stuffed animal in your hands in front of your belly button
- Bring your right knee up with a pointed toe to “kiss” your stuffed animal
- Repeat with the left
- Now try to repeat again with the right knee, but this time hop into the air
- Repeat with the left
Tip: Once you have the coordination of switching legs and hopping, try traveling the hop forward.
How to Skip:
- Stand up tall with hands on hips
- Bend the right knee into your chest and point your toe and hop
- Step forward to bring the left knee up with a pointed toe and hop
- Continue to step and hop (skip!) across the floor
Tip: Say “step hop left, step hop right” in rhythm with the music to help your child learn their left and right legs.
2. Ballet Skips (Sauté Passé)
- Stand up tall with hands on hips and feet in “V” (first position)
- Slide the right knee into passé as you hop
- Step forward to bring the left knee to passé as you hop
- Continue to step and sauté passé for a perfect ballet skip.
Tip: Remember ballet skips must stay turned out. The knee points to the dancers side in passé.
Now that you have learned how to skip, want to try something more difficult? Try to skip backwards! Your dance teacher will be impressed!
Whether you’re just taking classes or attending a workshop, summer is a great time to solidify what you learned during the year. Plus it’s a great time to progress even further while schools out for summer. Here’s a few tips to help you gain that extra edge:
1. Keep a journal – Write down all the corrections you’re receiving from your teachers. That way you’ll have a record of things you need to work on.
2. Video tape class – If it’s okay with your teacher, ask if you can video tape yourself. You’ll be able to see your habits, compare yourself to your peers, and appreciate your strengths. If you can’t video tape your class, try asking a friend to tape a combination your working on after class.
3. Work on your performance – When taking class, treat each combination as a performance. Try to smooth transition steps, play with the energy or movement quality, use your focus, and be confident.
4. Watch other – Watching dancers you look up to is a great way to get motivated. Whether it’s going to a show or spending time on youtube, the more you watch the more you’ll learn.
5. Ask questions – If your unsure of a step or what the teacher is describing, ask! You’re probably not the only one with the same question.
I always want to look my best, even if I’m sweating all day. But, at the end of a long day my makeup never seems to stay put. From working to teaching, my eye makeup always runs down my face. Sometimes, when I get home, I look like I’ve got two black eyes. That was until I found this fabulous product called Stay Don’t Stray by Benefit, a cosmetics company. Just dab a little of the “stay-put primer” around your eyes, then put your eye makeup on, and presto… You’ll look fabulous all day!
Apron – The area of the stage that extends past the proscenium
Auditorium – The area in a theater where the audience gathers
Border – The curtain that masks lighting equipment and the upper part of the stage
Center Stage – Also know as center – center, the middle of the stage
Legs – Sections of curtains the mask lighting equipment and the backstage area from the audience
Proscenium – The area that frames and separates the audience from the stage
Scrim – The thin light weight material, often white, that hides the back of the theater and is used in stage lighting to create mood
Wings – The area between the legs where performers enter and exit the stage.
Are you having trouble remembering your dance? Try writing it down with Motif Notation! Motif Notation uses symbols for the body, spacial pathways, actions, and energy. Motif Notation stems from Rudolf Laban’s Kinetography also know as Labanotation, which is the written form of dance. It’s like a music staff turned sideways, and describes every movement to a “T”.
This diagram points out the motif symbols used to describe the body.
Motif Notation is a great tool to help dancers document choreography. The symbols allows for quick writing. Plus, your notes will be much easier to read.
This diagram shows the symbols for spacial direction. The line indicates what direction to face.
This is an example of Labanotation. The center line represents the center of the body and the symbols that extend out represent other parts of the body, direction, level, timing, and even partnering.
For more information about dance notation, CLICK HERE!
If you’re in the dance world, eventually you’re going to find yourself at the theatre. Below is a diagram to help you find your way around!
Dancing is hard work! Sometimes in the hight of performance season dancers begin to feel tired, wore down, and just plain exhausted. This leads to pushing the limits which can cause injuries. Take for example So You Think You Can Dance Season 7. The show suffered from a record number of dropout due to injuries. With weeks of performances and schedules many of the dancers had never experienced before, it was clear some were hitting the wall.
So, how do you overcome this exhaustion? Aside from the obvious rest and health eating habits, there is one secrete I’ve learned. Sport Beans! I discovered them during my marathon training. I was reluctant to use any kind of “sport energizers,” but when you’ve got 30 plus miles to run a week, you begin to change your mind. Sport beans are jelly beans specially created by Jelly Belly. They are filled with the essential mix of electrolytes, carbohydrates, and vitamins that help athletes regain fuel. I was impressed by how the beans helped my runs, so I tried them during my long teaching days (which can feel like a 20 mile run sometime). The results were great! I was able to maintain an energy level to get me through night without feeling like I gypped a class due to lack of energy.
Fruit punch is my favorite flavor!All in all, I recommend Sport Beans as a great supplement to help stay energized during performance week. Especially if you can’t stomach gatorade, those fancy energy bars, or chi seeds. The beans taste great are easy on the stomach. You can find them at any sporting goods store or online. Good luck and remember to dance smart!
White House Pilates is back with another tip! I have to admit, this exercise is one of my favorites.
A flat board that replaces the foot bar on the reformer. You’re springing horizontally while engaging your core to initiate the jump rather than your legs. The lighter the spring, the more your abdominals have to work to stabilize your pelvis and back.
Upon take off- the abdominals initiate almost automatically to counter-balance the legs in the air. Think of pulling your navel down to the spine and draw it up towards the ribs. This exercise is excellent for teaching dance students to properly pull their weight up away from the floor and therefore, helping increase the height and form of the jump.
The landing is all about control. Rolling through the feet and getting the heels down in between jumps is crucial for injury prevention. Controlling the landing of your jumps is often the hardest thing to perfect in a dancer’s performance of petite/grande allegro. Dance teacher’s are always saying, “you should land your jumps with little to no sound at all.”
Increase your abdominal strength: While jumping curl your head and shoulder blades off the carriage of the reformer. This will help you engage your upper abominals and make you work harder!
Get Creative! Play around with seeing how many ballet jumps you can simulate while on the jump board. Most likely, you will master aentrechat six in no time!