Regional Performance to Championship Ready

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Regional Performance to Championship Ready

You’ve worked all summer long training and preparing choreography, and now it’s time to show off on the competition floor.   Regional competitions are a great way to kick start your season.  They introduce dancers to other schools and teams in their area while being a great way to build confidence and feel good about themselves. Regional competitions also reinforce the concepts and feedback that your team gets from you as a coach.  But, what do you do with the judges’ feedback to allow you to improve before Nationals?

Competitions often use the same scoresheets for Regionals and Nationals, so the comments that you receive at the former should help prepare you for the latter.  But, applying the corrections are key! As a dancer, there is nothing worse than being told you need to correct something without receiving feedback on HOW to fix it.  Here are a few tips to take your competition routine from a regional performance to National Championship ready!

#1 Identify the ISSUES!

Read your scoresheets! Study the scoresheets and where points were lost.  Make a list, take it to practice and start identifying the areas of improvement.  Review video footage of your team’s performance. Write down the corrections and provide an action item for each. Learn what the judges are looking for at your competitions, incorporate that into your routine and make improvements.

#2 Clean, Clean, CLEAN!

Working on uniformity and synchronization is a must! Count 8 counts or sections in routine and break it down into manageable sections to clean… go slow and take notice of all body parts and if they are identical amongst your dancers. Spend time cleaning up and breaking down all transitions and perfect them. After you have cleaned beyond all belief, make sure your dancers are still showing style in their movement in a uniformed way.

#3 Practice Makes Permanent, NOT PERFECT!

Conduct high-quality practice, not mindless practice.  Make sure your team is practicing their skills or choreography correctly. Don’t continuously drill a section without identifying the counts or movement that needs correction and/or the team members that need to make those improvements.  Remember, it’s all about muscle memory. Practice the right way to avoid mistakes on the performance floor.  Make sure all dancers are properly initiating and completing movement and technical skills.  Practice consistent unison and timing, while controlling body placement to enhance overall execution points on the scoresheets.   Remember to provide a solution on how to perform it right!

#4 Stage Your Routine to SUCCEED!

Stand back and look first at the overall effect.  Focus on the appropriateness of music, costume and choreography while utilizing your skills best.  Teach your dancers that competition is a team sport.  Move team members who are not developing or giving you what you need.  Fix patterns that are not clear to judges/audience. Use a variety of formations and creative ways to move from one formation to another, allowing for quick and seamless transition while adequately using the performance floor.  Make sure formations are easily read and dancers know their exact placement on the floor for all formations.  Find out the type and size of floor at Championship competitions and practice accordingly.  But, make sure your dancers are comfortable using their peripheral vision to guide them to the right position regardless of the type of floor you may compete on. Remind dancers that judges look for a team’s ability to gauge and position themselves correctly in all formations and transitions from the start to the end of their performance.

#5 Project and PERFORM!

Always look to earn maximum points in overall effect and areas in which you can control, like showmanship. Winning teams love to dance and it shows on their face.  And, if your team loves their dance and teammates, it will be apparent to the judges and audience by the emotion on their faces.  Remember to project showmanship to the back of the arena so everyone in the venue can feel your enthusiasm and expression. Teams that master the ability to connect with the audience through projection, genuine expression, emotion, energy and entertainment value rise to the top.  Push your dancers to dance outside their comfort zone and project their performance beyond the judges table.

#6 Keep Building STAMINA!

Running the track is far different than dancing for 2 minutes straight while executing a series of jumps, technical skills and fast dance movement. Go full out at practice and consider having your team run around the performance floor immediately following their run through for the length of their competition song to improve stamina.  Gradually building stamina will allow dancers the ability to fully execute their specialty skills and choreography so they can solely focus on engaging the crowd and building enthusiasm/emotion during their Nationals’ performance.

#7 Remember your WHY!

Clearly define your vision and WHY you are competing.  It may because your team has a passion for dance and a desire to share their love of performing.  Or, it may be because your dancers have pride in their school and team, and want to share it with others.  Whatever it may be… establish your WHY and clearly define it so your dancers have the same vision. Identify the actions your team will take to realize that vision.  Encourage your dancers to be present in the moment at practice… step away from social media and cell phones and really FOCUS on one another and their dance.  Remind your dancers that by giving 110% effort and working together to accomplish their goals, they will make their dream become reality. The outcome will be a result of those actions – increased school pride, spirit on campus, and National Titles & Championships! Remembering WHY you do what you do and sharing that passion with others will allow your team to achieve the goals they set for themselves.


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