Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

DIY (Dance it Yourself): Dance Survival Kits

Have all these earthquakes got you on edge?  You can never be too prepared for the next disaster—dance disaster that is!  Build your very own dance survival kit

Your standard dance kit for extra-long rehearsals, workshops, and classes should include these basics:

tbalm2
Tiger balm: I don’t know what they put in it. Hopefully not actual tigers…
  • Band aids are a must for blisters and rubs.
  • Tiger balm for sore muscles.  You can buy it at your local drug store and save yourself a world of pain.
  • Shoe laces, elastics, ribbons, or whatever else keeps your shoes on your feet and not all over the dance floor.  Your local dance store will have them by the bundle, but you can save a bundle by going to a craft store.  
  • Screw driver – a must if you’re a tapper with some screws loose.  They have all sorts of nifty mini screw driver kits at dollar stores that are the perfect size to slip into your dance bag.
  • Sewing kit–whether you need a little extra thread, or a safety pin to hold you together
  • Bobby pins and hair elastics
  • Aspirin
  • Snacks!–Everyone has their favorite power food, whether it’s a Cliff bar, trail mix, or a little bit of sugar.
  • Extra water bottle–you can either a tiny one small enough to slip into your dance bag, or large enough to keep you set through the Apocalypse.

For shows and auditions, pump it up with additions:

  • An extra pair of tights–because if you’re anything like me, you’ll only remember
  • Double sided tape
  • Lipstick and mascara
  • Make-up wipes
  • Hot glue—you never know when your shoe is going to fall apart at the worst moment.  When that moment comes, you have hot glue.

If you really want to pimp out your bag, add these few extras:

Mini Rollers
These are super handy to roll out sore muscles–and they’re much smaller than a foam roller!
  • Mini massage roller–you can get small ones at Target that are perfect size for on the go
  • Theraband–find it at your local dance store, or online.
  • Potpourri bag–because your dance moves may be pretty, but the smell coming from your dance bag is not.

 

Dance Etiquette for Dummies

Stretch - Phone Dancer
Don’t pay more attention to your phone than your technique!

You may not know it, but there’s an art taking a dance class—and it’s not just in doing the steps.  In each  genre there are certain unspoken rules of do’s and don’ts.  Break the unspoken rules of dance etiquette and you’ll stand out for all the wrong reasons.

(Many of these rules apply outside of dance, too.  Just last week I was next to someone in yoga who was checking his phone in the middle of downward dog).

In this world where we have so many distractions, we also need a time to devote our whole attention span for an hour or two.  The key to getting the most out of a dance class is about being tuned into the moment and focusing on what’s inside…not the distractions on the outside.

 

  • Turn your phone off.  What if there’s a major disaster in the middle of class?  What if someone just liked your status?  Chances are your phone updates can wait.  And I don’t just mean turning it to silent—turn it off.  Don’t check it during breaks, don’t glance at it during warm ups.  Besides, then you can feel extra popular when you get out of class and see the build-up of notifications. 
  • You can look, but not judge.  I love watching other people mess up in dance class—because I’m usually doing the exact same thing.  When I see someone figure out how to correct a mistake in their form, or do a move that much better, you learn from them.  But there’s a fine line between constructively pinpointing improvement points, and making yourself feel superior because someone fell out of a turn.  Class is about making mistakes and learning from them—be respectful and remember that someone not getting a combo right doesn’t make you a better dancer. 
  • Keep the chatter to a minimum. It’s hard when you finally get to see a bunch of your friends, but make sure that your conversations don’t distract from the class, and never speak in the middle of a dance combination.  Feel free to cheer when someone knocks a combination out of the park, though! 
  • Be aware of your personal space bubble.  Sometimes you’ll be crammed into a packed class with barely enough room to lift your hands above your head.  Always, always, always be aware of the space around you.  It’s expected that your space bubble will bump into a few others, but try send your awesome extension into your neighbor’s nose.
Stretch - Room for Everyone!
See? There’s plenty of room for everybody!
  • Remember what your mother taught you.  It’s a good practice to always thank your teacher at the end of the class.  It’s a tough life to be a good dance teacher—often full of long days, whiney students, and sweaty studios, and a genuine acknowledgement at the end of the day can remind them just how much we need them.  

What are your dance class pet peeves?  Feel free to chime in on our Facebook, Twitter, or below in the comments about what dance etiquette is important to you!

On Dancing, Giving Up, and Pinterest

After a week of sitting on the couch reading all the books my Barnes and Noble gift cards bought me, I started cruising through Pinterest for inspirational dance pics that would hopefully guilt me into doing something vaguely active.  Amid the sepia-colored images of dancers in the air, I came across this picture:

Stretch - meme“Don’t disappoint her?”

Ummm…pressure much?

I don’t really agree with pushing through the hard points of anything just to appease whoever’s watching you (I also find it vaguely terrifying to think of a flock of baby ballerinas watching your every step at every moment, waiting for you to fail and ruin their lives).

However, I do have to admit that this guilt-inducing meme has a point, and it’s not about living in fear from tiny diva dancers.

What these words should focus on is not disappointing other people, but sticking with it for yourself. All dance is incredibly hard when you get down to it. Whether it’s hip hop or ballet, it takes years to perfect, and constant arduous training to remain in top form, but when you finally nail a move, it’s worth all those hours of conditioning and pain.

I’ve met so many people who started dance when they were young, only to quit when they were in their teens. I, myself, wanted to be one of them, but I was fortunate to have a mother who refuses to ever a) give up b) watch reality TV.

Dancers Kick Butt
Seriously.

If you were one of those dancers who got as bored as I did in class as a kid, it’s not too late to get back into the game. I can’t tell you how many dancers I’ve met who started dancing in college, or even later, who can wipe the floor with me. If you want to dance, just do it. Get your shoes out (or buy new ones if you’ve outgrown them), get yourself into a class, and don’t care about who else is watching.

What this picture should should say is “Don’t give up before the miracle happens.”

That or, “Dancers kick butt.”