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Dancer Tips & Advice

Secrets To Successful Auditions by Kimberly Falker

From the host of Balancing Pointe Podcast comes a book that will help to answer the six major questions every dancer must ask themselves when they are considering going to a Summer Intensive.

Kimberly Falker, the author of Secrets To Successful Auditions, has had the unique opportunity of interviewing those who are living and working in the world of professional dance. Over the course of two years she has interviewed over 150 top ballet experts. These experts have provided tips on a multitude of ballet and dance related topics such as: how to do well in auditions, how to have a successful Summer Intensive, and how to aim toward a career in ballet and dance. Falker knows that the audition process and Summer Intensives can be a difficult world to navigate. This is why she has chosen to taken everything that she has learned in her interviews and put them in a place that dancers and parents of dancers can access.

This book includes forwards from dancers Kathryn Morgan and Kaitlyn Gilliland as well as tips from many other principal dancers, soloists, directors, and choreographers.

The questions that this book helps to answer are the What? Why? Who? Where? How? And Which? Of the Summer Intensive world. Throughout the course of the book all of these questions get expanded on and you will leave with a better understanding of what Summer Intensives are,  why they are important, and how you can choose the best one for yourself or your dancer.

For more interviews and to get this book yourself you can click here.

How To Deal With Corrections and Criticisms

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The one thing that every dancer experiences is the feeling of getting corrected and criticized both in the classroom as well as in the professional world, the only thing that is different from dancer to dancer is how they handle these corrections and criticisms. Here are a few tips on dealing with the corrections and criticisms that you may face in the dance world.

Reframe Your Thinking

One must rethink corrections and criticisms that are given as just a simple piece of information that a person can use in order to get better. Remember that teachers provide corrections because they think that you can improve. So the next time a teacher gives you a correction remember that they are not trying to embarrass you in front of your friends in class they see potential in you and are trying to help you get even better. Likewise in a professional environment the choreographer wants the performance to look the best it can look on stage. This means that you can be corrected on everything from your walk from the wings to the steps choreographed, everything will be scrutinized and gone over with a fine toothed comb until show time so that you as the dancer will look the best you can look on stage.   

Remember why

You go to dance class in order to get better and in order to get better one needs to get feedback. It is important not to take this feedback personally especially if it is about your technique. Getting negative feedback does not mean that you are not talented and remember that even professionals get criticized. In class no matter if the teacher is correcting you personally listen to what the teacher is saying and pay attention to if you need to work on that as well. This goes along with reframing your mind when it comes to corrections and criticism.

Consider The Source

Teachers and choreographers give corrections and criticisms to make the dancer look the best they can. However, there are those teachers that seem to just criticize everything that a dancer does. When this happens listen to them and know that they are not criticizing you personally they want you to be the best you can be. So take everything they say as something that will make you better rather them something that tears you down.

Learn To Let Go

This maybe the hardest thing to do, but their are those teachers that no matter what you do you can never do it right. Still listen to what they have to say because it is vital but don’t carry that criticisms around with you outside of the classroom or practice. Don’t let the words and crisitism weigh on you because this is the easiest way to become defended when you leave the classroom or are not practicing shake off the crisitisms. However, do not completely forget them. When you are in the classroom or are practicing think back to what your teacher corrected in the last class.

I hope this has helped you in dealing with corrections and criticisms. Click here to check out what advice Kathryn Morgan has.  

 

How to Develop Your Artistry

Although technique is an important part of dance, it is not the only part a dancer must learn in order to become great. Developing artistry as a dancer is an important skill to master and also one of the hardest. There are many different areas of artistry. Some of them include musicality, acting ability, performance, movement quality,  creativity, and yes technical ability. Now what does all this mean? Basically this means that a dancer must develop a connection to the music while displaying the emotions of the story and making each movement smoothly transition into the next while also making the choreography their own. With all said and done though how does one develop their artistry?

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are developing your artistry.

 

Tell a Story

Whether a part has a given story like Romeo and Juliet or if there is no story given, it is important to think about how you can convey a story in an interesting way that is unique to you. Now this may seem like it is only suited for pieces that have a given story already, but it is even more important to alway give a story to every performance that you dance. No one has to know the exact story you are planning on telling, but if you think about a story before hand people will feel more connected to the piece when they see it which will make the performance more memorable and meaningful to them. Remember that as you dance you are trying to convey a message or meaning because you can not speak. This meaning has to come from your whole body as you dance, so thinking about what that message entails will help you on the dance floor.   

 

Develop the character

This kinda goes along with telling the story. If you are playing the role of Juliet or the Sugar Plum Fairy you have to think about how that character will dance the choreography that was given and then think about how you as that character will dance. Not every person will perform a character exactly the same way and this is great. So you must think about how you can perform the character in a way that is unique to you.  

 

Listen to what the music says

Really listen to the music and try to pick out little things that you can use to emphasize the dance moves. This goes along with making the choreography your own. Every dancer will pick the notes in the music that stand out to them and perform the moves to the music is a different way. So even if all the steps are the same everyone will hear something different in the music that will lead them to dance the number slightly different from one another.   

 

It all starts in class

Like with most thing in dance all of this can be practiced in class. If you really want to develop your artistry try to take classes as different characters. Pick a character to take class as and go that whole dance class as that character. This is also something that you don’t have to tell people that you are doing. No one has to know that you are taking class as Juliet and well it’s just a fun exercise to do.

 

I hope you have found this useful in someway and if you want to learn more about developing artistry chick here to hear what Kathryn Morgan has to say.

Getting Back To Pointe After The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker,  a show that has become a staple in many a Christmas tradition, has come to an end this holiday season. So now what? You have a short break and then you go back to the classes, right? But what do you need to prepare yourself for pointe after The Nutcracker ends?

 

The Shoes

At this point your pointe shoes are completely shot.  After the practices, rehearsals, and performances your going to need another pair before class starts up again. So heading to your favorite dance store for a new pointe shoe fitting is the perfect way to start preparing for class again. Feet also do change over time and as you get stronger you may find that you need a pointe shoe with a different shank strength or box shape in order for you to get the best out of your classes. So regardless getting a new pointe shoe fitting before class starts up again is a good idea.   

 

Stretching tools

Now that you have your new pointe shoes. It is important to keep up your flexibility during your break. Therabands, flexibility bands and I-flexs are all tools that can help you in your flexibility training. These tools are all good for different reasons though. The therabands can be used for both strengthening and stretching the body and it all depends on how you use them. A quick search on YouTube will show you dozens of excise videos that show you how to use them for different purposes. Unlike the theraband, which is an unconnected latex band, the flexibility bands are circular and can loop around your body to help you achieve your perfect split. The I-flex, depending on the model, can attach to the wall or the door and creates a pulley system to stretch out the legs.  

Tension Relieving Tools

Getting back to pointe after The Nutcracker or any break can bring with it some tension and pain. So getting tension relieving tools like muscle rollers, massage balls for your feet and epsom salt for soaking sore muscles can all help relieve the tension and pain that comes with starting up class again.

 

It is important to take care of your body and these are just a few of the things that you will need for starting pointe back up again. You can click here to shop online for these items.

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