DT on Dance Moms: The Cheerleaders Win Brooke

To kick of the 3rd episode, Brooke was conveniently placed at the top of the pyramid. “Conveniently,” because it made for really great TV drama when she left the team in the middle of rehearsals for that week’s competition in New Jersey.

 

Brooke’s been over the dance company since early last season; who can blame her? She’s the only 13-year-old, dancing with girls who are a good five years younger. Thankfully, in the non-reality show world, there are options for teens, like Brooke, who love dance, but also want to be active in their own high schools and social scenes. At your studio, how many options do you give your teens? Do you separate the recreational dancers from the intensely serious students? Do all students perform? Are there options for your recreational dancers to compete? How do you navigate this topic? Let’s get sharing! Let us know on Dance Teacher’s Facebook page.

 

Now, let’s talk technique:

 

It’s clear from the amount of dance footage on the show that the girls—especially Chloe and Maddie—are seriously, seriously talented. That being said, one thing I’ve noticed is that when on demi-pointe, they aren’t all the way up. And this problem isn’t specific to Maddie or Chloe, it’s a technique flaw I see everywhere. (As a dancer myself, I’m not confident that I ever really mastered the relevé, and it totally hindered my success—or should I say, lack of success—on pointe.)

 

Not having a high relevé isn’t all about ankle flexibility. It’s about pushing down through the floor and really using one’s core, under-butt and those miniscule rotator muscles to lift out of the ankles and really relevé. When all the upper leg muscles are working properly, there won’t be the problem of having bent legs on demi-pointe—it’s not even an option.

 

That being said, this is an extremely difficult technical concept to get across to a dancer who’s about only 8 or 9-years-old. So how do you convey this idea? What is the imagery you use? Do you try to explain it to a young dancer, or do you wait until she’s old enough to understand? How do you get your youngest students to really relevé, enough to be prepared for pointe work? I’m sure this is a topic we all probably face as teachers—I know I do. So what works for you? Click here to share your ideas.

Teachers Trending
Maks and Val Chmerkovskiy. Photo courtesy Dance With Me

Listening to Maks and Val Chmerkovskiy riff together makes it crystal-clear why each has mastered the art of partnering in the ballroom—they've long been doing this dance in real life as brothers and business partners.

Along with their "Dancing with the Stars" pedigree (and a combined three mirror-ball trophies between them), Maks and Val (and their father, Sasha) also run Dance With Me, a dance company hosting six ProAm Dancesport competitions annually and running 14 brick-and-mortar studio locations across the U.S.

Last year, the pair launched an online component, Dance & Co. The online video platform offers beginner through advanced instruction in not only ballroom but an array of other styles, as well as dance fitness classes from HIIT to yoga to strength training. "DWTS" fans will recognize such familiar faces as Peta Murgatroyd, Jenna Johnson, Sharna Burgess and Emma Slater, along with Maks and Val themselves.

Keep reading... Show less
Teaching Tips
@jayplayimagery, courtesy Kerollis

In the spring of 2012, Barry Kerollis was abruptly forced into treating his career as a small business. Having just moved cross-country to join BalletX, he got injured and was soon let go.

"I'd only ever danced with big companies before," the now-freelance dance-teacher-choreographer-podcaster recalls. "That desperation factor drove me to approach freelancing with a business model and a business plan."

As Kerollis acknowledges, getting the business of you off the ground ("you" as a freelance dance educator, that is) can be filled with unexpected challenges—even for the most seasoned of gigging dancers. But becoming your own CEO can make your work–life balance more sustainable, help you make more money, keep you organized, and get potential employers to offer you more respect and improved working conditions. Here's how to get smart now about branding, finances and other crucial ways to tell the dance world that you mean business.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending
Courtesy Oleson

American dance educator Shannon Oleson was teaching recreational ballet and street-dance classes in London when the pandemic hit. As she watched many of her fellow U.S. friends pack up and return home from their international adventures, she made the difficult choice to stick with her students (as well as her own training—she was midway through her MFA at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance).

Despite shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders, she was able to maintain a teaching schedule that kept her working with her dancers through Zoom, as well as lead some private, in-home acro classes following government guidelines. But keeping rec students interested in the face of pandemic fatigue hasn't been easy.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.