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Dancer Tips & Advice

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.

What To Wear To An Audition

Much like when we talked about what to wear for a convention. It is important to feel confident in whatever you choose to wear.  However, that being said it is also important to adhere to the auditions dress code. If it is clearly stated that dancers must wear black leotards and pink tights that means that you should show up wearing a black leotard and pink tights, not a purple leotard and black tights or a bra top and legging.

Wear Something You Love

Even if the audition calls for a plain black leotard, wear the one that makes you the happiest in. This will shine through in your performance and help you exude confidence even if you are nerves. If the casting call does not give a specific dress code still opt for something that you love and have worn before. You may have loved the cut out on that leotard in the store, but before you head to an audition make sure they look and feel good while you dance.

 

 

Color Is Great But Keep It Consistent

Some colors just look better on some people. If you look best in teal, or burgundy, or sky blue, wear that color. What you don’t want to do is show up in all three. You want to be known as the dancer in the burgundy leotard not the dancer in the burgundy leotard and odd teal and sky blue skirt. Pick one color that you love on yourself and stick with that color.

 

Become The Character

Keep in mind what role you are auditioning for and stay in that character throughout the audition. If you want to be Clara for the Nutcracker get into character with a white leotard and flowy skirt. If you are auditioning to be Anita in West Side Story get sassy with some heels a red leotard and full skirt. You will have no chance of landing these roles if you dress to blend in.

 

Finish The Look

Whether you are at a Ballet audition or one for theater it is important to look polished and be prepared. In Ballet auditions it is especially important to have your hair neatly pulled back and hairspray into a bun. There should be no wild wisps of hair sticking out. Even in other auditions make sure your appearance is tidy. You don’t want to hit anyone with a runaway bracelet.

 

Don’t Forget The Shoes… Unless You’re Auditioning For Cinderella

But not even then. Bring every pair of shoes you can think of. You never know what a casting agent will ask you to do and you need to be prepared for everything. This means that you should pack ballet shoes, tap shoes, jazz shoe, heels, character shoes, bring it all. Then double check to make sure that you have everything.

 

The most important thing to wear for an audition is a good attitude. For more advice check out Kathryn Morgan’s video Audition Advice for Dancers.

 

What To Bring To A Competition

So you have your first dance competition to get ready for and you know you’re bound to forget something, right? Well here are the most important things that you should make sure to pack.

The Costume

The most important thing to remember is the costumes. Make sure that you have all of your customs and the accessories that go with them together in the same place. This means that any earrings, tights, shoes, and underthings that you might need are all in the same bag as the costume. The costume should be covered with something like a dry cleaners bag to help protect it from any damage. It would also be a good idea to invest in a Glam’r Gear or a Rac N Roll because they can turn into a rack that you can hang your costumes on during the competition.

 

The Makeup

You are pretty much going to need every last piece of makeup that you can find, but make sure that you have a foundation, loose powder, blush, eyeliner, eyeshadow, fake lashes, eyelash glue, mascara, and last but not least lipstick. Make sure that you get with your dance teacher about the colors and overall look that your part calls for, but it is better to have too many options than too little. Put everything in a makeup bag and you are good to go!

Just make sure you put the makeup bag in your competition bag.

 

 

The Hair

Like with makeup you will need more hair products then you think. Make sure you have a brush, hair elastics, a bun maker, hair nets, hairspray, hair gel, a curling rod, and bobby pins… so many bobby pins. It helps if you have a place in your bag dedicated to hair products just so you know where everything is.

 

 

The Shoes

Yes, shoes were already mentioned, but it bears repeating. Go through all of your numbers and check off what shoes you will need as you pack them. Then check again that they are in your bag. Then check a third time before you leave the house. Also, think about what you will want to wear on your feet when you are not dancing and make sure you bring that as well. You will want something comfy to travel in.

 

 

 

 

 

Rapid Fire Miscellaneous

A sewing kit

Scissors

A mirror

Extra tights (in every color that you need)

Nail clippers

Nail file

Food

Water/ Gatorade

A cell phone or just something to pass the time with that will entertain you

Money for souvenirs

A warm-up outfit/ something comfortable to wait in

A Camera

A pen or pencil for keeping track of the dance number in the program

A first aid kit

 

Now that you have a better idea of what you should take to your competition it’s now time to rock the competition.

If you’re still unsure of what to bring check out DancersHaul’s new competition Haul. The haul includes a competition dance bag, one pair of pink tights and a pair of caramel tight, a cosmetic bag, a cute water bottle, and the Dancer Problems kit. 

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