Rehabilitation for Dancers

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By Alison Preston
Dancer, Yoga Instructor

As a dancer for the past 25 years, I have experienced my share of injuries. It can be difficult to decide what track of recovery to follow, especially when you need to be back in the studio or on stage as soon as possible. Recovery can be hard when you can’t find a professional who understands your needs and abilities as a dancer, especially if it is you first injury.

Below are some professionals in the Twin Cities Metro area who have worked with dancers and athletes to prevent and recover from injuries.For those of you living outside the Twin Cities, I’ve also included a search engine to locate doctors in your area.

(Listed in no particular order)
Shawn Douglass, CMT*
Specialty: deep tissue massage

Jennifer Armitage, PT**
MN Medical Rehabilitative Services LLC

Dave Wieber, MTC***
Body Balance
2070 W. 96th Street
Bloomington, MN 55431

Raul Centeno, CMT*
Specialty – massage for injury prevention

Click here for a search engine to find doctors across the U.S.
(Click on Doctor Locator, not the Doctor Search.)

*CMT – Certified Massage Therapist
**PT – Physical Therapist
***MTC – Certified Manual Trainer

Note: I am in no way a medical professional. My opinions are based solely on my experience as a dancer in recovery. Please consult with a physician and check insurance coverage before taking on any recovery programs. Good luck on your path to healing!

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Where Can Dance Lead Me?

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By Ashley Collingwood

Many dancers focus their career on performance, but many young professionals remain unaware of the variety of career choices in dance. With all of the knowledge a young dancer gathers during training in the art form, it can be utilized later on in several ways. Aside from knowing proper technique, dancers should be educated in terminology, the business aspect of dance, the stage, dance criticism, history, anatomy, as well as performance quality. This allows a dancer to be well rounded in the field of dance- opening doors to different career choices in the dance world.

A lot of dancers end up teaching and/or choreographing for a living. These options allow a dancer to be creative and share their love of dance with others. A professional can teach children at dance studios, conventions, or end up choreographing for major dance companies or productions. The insight in terminology, anatomy, and performance quality aids the professional teacher and choreographer to pass information along.

There is always a business aspect behind each job. Managers, directors, talent agents, and dance studio owners are all required. Within manager positions, there are business, company, production, and stage managers. Both artistic and rehearsal directors are necessities for companies to set the artistic direction and keep the choreography pure to the choreographer’s vision. Talent agents seek talent for gigs, while dance studio owners have to be organized and maintain the function of their studio. Although all of these jobs expect knowledge in business and leadership, it is important to know dance as an art form as well.

With every show, there is a behind the scenes crew. Without this crew, a performance would be nearly impossible. The technical production employees are great assets to this industry. Lighting and scenic designers help make a performance possible. With every performance, costumes, hair and makeup top it off. Although some costuming is more elaborate than others, it seems to complete a performance no matter what. Many productions are in need of professional costume designers, hair stylists, and makeup artists to contribute their creativity.

Three other interesting options for careers are in journalism, dance therapy, and massage therapy. When getting into journalism, a dancer can use his or her knowledge to write reviews on performances, trends, or tips. Dancers are creative beings, so writing is a perfect way to express that. Dance therapy, on a completely different line of the spectrum is good for dancers who work well with people and interested in the psychotherapeutic use of movement. A dancer may also be interested in massage therapy. A dancer’s awareness of his or her body, as well as an understanding of anatomy and physiology, can make massage therapy a great career option.

Not all jobs require a degree. However, being well educated is helpful when in the pursuit of different options throughout the dance field. These are just a handful of ideas to look into while determining a future dance career. Ways to try on these options include auditioning, developing leadership skills, experience, and determination. Continue to explore the field of dance!

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Lyrical Dance

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Lyrical dance is a fusion of ballet and jazz dance techniques. Lyrical dance challenges choreographers and dancers to use motion to interpret music and express emotion. A lyrical dancer’s movements attempt to show the meaning of the music.

Lyrical dance has a relatively recent history and a genesis based on the coming together of ballet, rock, a variety of jazz dance and modern dance, and to a lesser degree, punk and swing. It is mainly performed to music with lyrics, and the song’s lyrics are a driving force and key inspiration for the movement. Choreography is often emotional, gripping, and exquisitely delicate, all at the same time.

Lyrical dance gained its name not because the lyrics of a song are sometimes highlighted over the rhythm, but because of the meaning of the word lyrical: having a poetic, expressive quality; musical; characterized by or expressing spontaneous, direct feeling; expressing deep personal emotions or observation; highly rhapsodic or enthusiastic. Lyrical dance is expressive, subtle and dynamic, expressing emotions through movement. It is a combination of intricate, highly technical, and pedestrian/naturalistic moves. Lyrical dance is often choreographed to a song about freedom, of releasing a sad emotion, or of overcoming obstacles, but can be choreographed to any human emotion-related song. Depending on the given song and choreography, a lyrical piece may or may not be graceful, but will always be expressive and unpredictable, particularly in comparison to ballet and other jazz pieces which may have a more presentational quality. A solid, ballet-based technique is an essential component of this style of dance, as is a facility with various other forms of jazz, some contemporary dance, and proper placement and bodily alignment. However, lyrical choreography is often peppered with intentionally pedestrian moves to create a simultaneously organic and dramatic feel. Lyrical is based around choreography and the interpretation of the music. Routines are based around feeling and emotion and, though technique is crucial, spirit generally tells where the dance will go.

Musically, the choreography accentuates and/or flows in synergy with a song’s climaxes, but the choreography will also bring out the more nuanced aspects of a song: sometimes a silence between notes in the music, or the breath between words, will be emphasized, possibly with a simple, physical gesture. This may be followed, for example, by a more complex sequence, such as a triple pirouette en cou-de-pied (coupe), or a grand jete, or a series of chaine turns, followed by a cabriole, descending to the floor, only to rise again and perhaps very casually to walk downstage for a few counts before changing direction once again.

Movements in lyrical dance are characterized by their fluidity and grace. Leaps are often executed high, with a soaring quality; turns are airy and flowing. However, in lyrical dance, sometimes less is more. A de-emphasis may provide a more compelling window into a dancer’s emotions: a succession of quick, small leaps may be executed low, displaying the ever-evolving traces of a dancer’s internal landscape. When the music’s tone is angry or frustrated, dancers use sharp, short movements. Anger is also an emotion seen in lyrical dance. In routines with a strong component of anger, it is common for the jazz portions and styles of lyrical to come out. However, a lethargic, drawn-out quality of movement may show a contemplative or hesitant feeling. When the routine is joyful or peaceful, dancers use lighter, more flowing movements.

Of paramount importance in lyrical dance is the continuation of movement, flowing quite seamlessly from one move to the next. The dancer does not simply “finish” a move and be done. A lyrical dancer holds out the move for as long as possible, and has smooth transitions between others. Employing this connectivity of movement, the dancer may periodically stop or incorporate “sharp” moves (such as an abdominal contraction, a sideways glance, or a leg flick) into a fluid routine, for emphasis. In all, the moves are connected to one another, to the dancer’s feelings and to the music.

Although lyrical is stereotypically choreographed to music that is slow or downbeat, melodic and sweet-sounding, it is a very broad form of dance including many dynamic, fast-paced and sometimes strong pieces. Upbeat, aggressive styles of music are used frequently. Music can be of any genre; pop, rock, and even hip hop/R&B styles, are popular for choreographing. Pop selections, including soulful, powerful songs by emerging artists, are often used in lyrical dance.

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Volunteer with Your Dance Group

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By Sara Willcutt

Volunteering is not only great to do; it helps others, helps our world and is important for experience and resumes. Volunteering is a great way to get involved in activities and team bonding with a group.

One way to find volunteer opportunities in your area is to go to The site gives you many options so you can search for and find an opportunity that is right for your group.

Organizations that I recommended:
•   Women for Women International
•   Hope Chest
•   Feed My Starving Children

Find more ideas at:
•   Network for Good
•   Network for Good – Volunteer

I took the Augsburg College Dance Team and the Ascending Star Dance Team to Feed My Starving Children. We had a great time, got to know each other, and packaged food that was sent to children all over the world.

From the Feed My Starving Children website:

Feed My Starving Children is committed to feeding God's starving children that are hungry in body and spirit.

Our approach is simple: Volunteers pack nutritious meals made up of rice, soy, vitamins, and dehydrated vegetables. We partner with relief organizations worldwide to distribute these meals to starving children. 

As a Christian non-profit, we hope to reduce the number of starving children throughout the world by working to instill compassion in a generation that hears and responds to the cries of those in need. We invite you to join us in this important work.

Click here to learn more about Feed My Starving Children

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Turn Technique

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by sara willcutt

Use your center!

Keep your body stacked, like building blocks. I tell my dancers to push their belly button to their backbone. This braces and straightens the back. Make sure not to tuck under your pelvis, which will take you out of alignment.

Turns go one direction: UP!
Concentrate on pulling up and keeping the body in proper form. Make sure you don’t pull your shoulders up. Keep your neck long and shoulders pushed down in a connection with the center.

Keep your supporting leg tall, push into the floor. In opposition, pull up with the rest of the body. Keep your supporting leg straight, and use your toes for balance.

Keep you arms strong. Close to first position quickly, and hold your arms out. Don’t let your arms collapse into your chest as you turn. Let your back round with your arms, and keep your shoulder blades flat. Visualize holding a beach ball in your arms.

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Elements of Choreography

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In rehearsals, practices and classes, teachers and choreographers teach combinations to music. They take movements and put them to music. They take the movements and create an art form. How do they do that? Choreography involves skills that you can learn.

To start, look at the elements of time, energy and space. Using those components as you choreograph will give a new perspective to your dance pieces.

Time: Time encompasses rhythm, speed and syncopation of movements. Using time in different combinations to music can create intricate visual effects. Using ideas such as quick, quick, slow or stop movements are examples.

Energy: Energy relates to the quality of movement. This concept is recognizable when comparing ballet and tap. Some types of choreography are soft and smooth, while others are sharp and energetic.

Space: Space is the area the dancer is performing in. Space has levels; low floor moves, medium standing moves and high leaping and lifting moves.Space also refers to how the dancers move through the area. Direction of movement can be straight, curved, diagonal or changing.

Put it all together: By using these three elements in combinations, many variations in movements can be created. Variety will keep the audience engaged. Define the energy of movements. Articulate when movements are meant to be slow, fast, in a wave or hit. Use rhythm to change movements. Stop and start; use movements to emphasize elements in the music. Use levels of space in combinations, dancers doing movements high, medium and low at different times in different combinations.

Once the combo is finished, you can play with how to use it. Try things faster, slower or a combination of the two. Try starting movements at different times. Place dancers facing away from the audience for some movements. Add leaps and turns to parts of a combination. Use one combination in repetition to create an interesting piece with many variations. Try dancing with different emotions: sad, happy, angry, etc.

By using time, energy and space, create beautiful effects and impressive choreography can be created.

Setting the stage: Consider the performance area. Is it a stage? Or is it a basketball court? Can the dancers move on and off, away from the audience? Use different areas of space. Do not stay in the middle. Use upstage and down stage. Use corners and movements going across the area.

Use corners and placement to express emotion.
Center stage: strong and dominant
Corner: connecting to audience
Moving from upstage to downstage: audience can feel involved
Upstage: draw the audience in

Now that you know the three elements: time, energy and space, start experimenting. Know that an audience wants to be excited, surprised and engaged. Use movements to get the audience involved and feeling emotions.

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Tips to Help Choose Music

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1) Make sure your music is age appropriate for the dancers and the audience.

2) Listen for inappropriate language. Look for clean or radio versions.

3) Find the Lyrics, to make sure there are no unacceptable words, and to aid in choreography. Go to: A-Z Lyrics,, or Smart Lyrics

4) You can have a few music choices and have the dancer/dancers choose. This way they have a say and you are able to make sure all choices are suitable.

5) Have a professional editor create a unique mixed piece.

6) Change the tempo, speed or length of a song you like to make it work for a routine. Download a free editing program: Audacity: Free Audio Editor and Recorder or if you use Apple, GarageBand works great as well.

7) Make sure your cuts are smooth and not choppy.

8) Make several copies to bring to performances and competitions. Bring several CD copies and a thumb-drive of the mp3 file.

So you only know a few words of a song you want. How do find it?

1) Go to Google search
2) In the box for search, type in the lyrics you know.
3) Type “lyrics” after the lyrics you know, especially if they are all common words
4) Click the first link that comes to you. That should have your song.

OR go to one of these sites:
•   Lyrics Search Engine
•   Browsable AZ Music Lyrics Archive
•   Song Lyrics Search Engine

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The Hunt For College Scholarships

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by Joan H. Bress, LICSW, CEP

There’s money out there for students headed to college dance programs. Learn how to find it!

With college costs increasing at nearly double the rate of inflation, those of you headed to college have good reason to be concerned. Although the 1997 Taxpayers Relief Act softened the tuition blow for middle-income families and has encouraged saving early for future college expenses, paying for college tuition is still a major issue for most families.

The Total Package
Financial aid is money offered to students to help pay college expenses. It’s offered by both the federal and state governments, individual colleges and private organizations. It may come in the form of grants, which do not have to be repaid; work-study, which is a salary paid in return for work you do while you’re enrolled; or loans, which you must repay after you finish college or stop taking classes. Some aid is based on how much a student needs in order to pay the cost of education and some is based on non-financial factors such as academic, athletic or artistic talent; community service and leadership; contribution to the community in some unique way or membership in a particular group or organization.

Financial aid is given in a “package” that usually consists of a combination of grants, loans and campus employment, often including both need-based and non-need-based aid. At some colleges, as many as 70 percent of students receive aid.

How Do I Apply?
To apply for financial aid, you must complete one or more of the following forms:

•   Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
•   Financial Aid CSS PROFILE
•   College Financial Aid Application
•   Private Scholarship Application

Your answers to the FAFSA determine your eligibility for federal student aid. This form is also used to apply for some aid from the state and college. The majority of financial aid comes from the federal government, so all students applying for aid should fill out the FAFSA. It includes questions about parent/student income, assets and expenses for the calendar year preceding the student’s matriculation. The FAFSA, which may be filed electronically or in paper form, calculates the amount of money the government believes your family should be able to pay for educational expenses. This expected family contribution (EFC) is reported to you and to all of the colleges you’ll be applying to.

Since the expected family contribution is calculated by using a standard form prescribed by Congress, the amount you are expected to pay does not vary from one college to another. The cost of attending different colleges, however, does vary. Your need is calculated as the difference between the cost of attending the college and the amount your family is expected to contribute. The more expensive the college, the greater your need. The COST of attendance minus EXPECTED FAMILY CONTRIBUTION equals NEED. Suppose your family has an EFC of $15,000 per year and you are considering two colleges. College A has a cost (tuition plus room, board and expenses) of $33,000 per year. College B has a cost of $15,000. Your NEED for College A would be $18,000 while your NEED for College B would be $0 (see the chart).

College A $33, 000 – $15, 000 = $18,000
Your financial “ need” would be $18,000 per year.
College B $15,000 – $15,000 = $0 you would have no financial need.

Although colleges try to meet the demonstrated need of all students, there’s often not enough money from the government or from the school’s resources, to do this. While it is true that some of the most expensive schools have the greatest amount of money available for financial aid, it’s a good idea to select colleges with a range of costs, including some that are totally within the financial reach of your family.


File the FAFSA even if you believe that you’re not eligible for need-based aid. Some non-need-based programs require you to show that you do not qualify for federal aid.

Apply early. Colleges generally do not have enough of either their own or Uncle Sam’s money to meet the needs of all students who qualify.

Keep track of deadlines. The FAFSA should be filed as soon as possible, after January 1. Each college sets its own deadline for the PROFILE, sometimes as early as December 15.

Be accurate. The time needed to correct errors may cause you to miss out on some sources of aid. Know that you may be asked to verify the information you supply on financial aid forms. Keep copies of all relevant material.

Remember that the best aid packages go to the most desirable students. Keep your grades up and choose your colleges carefully.

The PROFILE is a form used by about 900 schools, as well as some private scholarship programs, to award non-federal aid. Although similar to the FAFSA, the PROFILE asks for more detailed information about the family’s resources and expenses. Depending on the requirements of the schools you apply to, the PROFILE may include two supplemental applications and up to 150 additional questions.

Unlike the FAFSA, it’s not free. It is processed centrally for a $5 registration fee, and reports are sent to colleges of your choice at a cost of $15 per school.

Other colleges may have their own financial aid application in addition to the FAFSA. As this type of form is part of the admission application, there is no additional fee required to file it. Private sources of financial aid also have their own application process, which may include essays, interviews, portfolios and/or auditions.

Non-Need-Based Aid
In addition to need-based aid, schools offer non-need-based aid—often called merit aid—to students whom they want to attract to their school. While need-based aid is likely to be made up largely of loans which must be repaid, merit aid is more likely grant money, which does not need to be repaid. When selecting your colleges, consider some schools that will be eager to have you as a student. The most desirable students can expect the best financial aid package—one heaviest in non-repayable grants.

At some schools, any student who presents a pre-set high school average and SAT score qualifies for merit aid. Sometimes, this award includes the opportunity to take special honors-level classes or to work more closely with professors. Schools may also allocate merit-based aid for students with particular talents, in which case, an audition or portfolio presentation would be necessary (see DS February 2000).

Non-Institutional Aid
Wise students look beyond their college and the government for financial aid. Both need-based aid and merit aid are offered by philanthropic foundations, religious and community organizations, businesses, civic groups and organizations connected to your field of interest. Some of these scholarships are highly competitive and require in-depth applications. You should leave yourself plenty of time to prepare. Online scholarship search engines help students locate appropriate awards. If you’re an academically and artistically talented student, you should look into scholarships offered by the National Alliance For Excellence and the National Foundation For Advancement In The Arts.

Scholarships Of Special Interest To Dancers

•   National Alliance For Excellence, Inc
•   National Foundation For Advancement In The Arts
•   Harlequin Dance Scholarship Program

Online Financial Aid Resources

•  College Board: Information about selecting and applying to college. Includes links to the PROFILE and a free scholarship search.
•   FinAid: The most complete source of online financial aid information. Includes a free scholarship search, information on loans and grants and a calculator to help you project college costs, likely scholarship awards and loan repayment plans.
•   SallieMae: Offers college financing solutions, cost calculators and scholarship and loan information.
•   FastAid: Free scholarship search engine.
•   FAFSA: Complete the FAFSA online and immediately receive your expected family contribution figure.
•   US Department of Education: Information on tax credits, federal and state aid and private funding sources.

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The Ensemble Espanol

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By Rebecca Nieves
Edited by Angie Rentmeester

The fingers dance on the strings of the guitar in a dizzying manner. The modern guitar is said to be a descendent of the Spanish “viola de mano” or a lute like instrument. The instrument was given another two strings to make six and the neck was narrowed. The way the guitarists hands move over his strings, he could have been the one to forge the acoustic into being. Enter the dancers-the most appropriate response to the guitars cries of pride and beauty and of love.

In Chicago, the dancers call themselves Ensemble Espanol. The highly decorated Libby Komaiko is the director and originator of the Northeastern Illinois University based company. Komaiko, a professional dancer and instructor, has received numerous awards and recognition. Don Juan Carlos, King of Spain awarded Komaiko with the Lazo de Dama (Ribbon of the Dame) in 1982. Through her continued efforts to promote and increase awareness of the traditions and culture of Spain, Dame Libby Komaiko has created not only a successful dance company but also an altogether excellent dance program at NEIU.

Elaborate dresses on stunning women; crisp shirts and pleated pants on refined men. Precision footwork accents the music along with claps and castanets. There is nothing sloppy or amiss in the ensemble’s performance. Every wave and step is deliberate and solid. The dresses flow and hands twirl. There are flowers in her hair and he spins her capably. The guitar and song resonate and the audience is under a spell from minute one. The performers have a story to tell. They are in love with each other; they are in love with mother Spain. Their movements and sound echo inside of your own being. In the dim lighting your eyes lock on the elegance onstage.

This dance isn’t rowdy or cute it is polished. It is an accented ballet-a ballet with a little spice if you will. It is he difference between a five star restaurant and an all out gala. The Ensemble Espanol works fervently rehearsing and studying to make sure every turn of the head or stretch of the arm is streamline. There is no feel of improvisation or abstract in their performances. And that is the goal. The Ensemble captures the tradition of excellence and the intense appreciation of culture and art of Spain. Pablo Picasso, Miguel de Cervantes, Paco Ibanez are all examples of the rich art that was brought to us by Spain.

From the royal to the gypsies the country has an extraordinary appreciation for the discipline and allure of art. Ensemble Espanol and Dame Libby Komaiko have brought that passion to us here in the United States. Komaiko also founded the All City Junior Ensemble Espanol for middle and high school students in Chicago and relative suburbs. For doing so she has been recognized by the City of Chicago. Libby and The Ensemble have been seen in dance festivals, on TV, concerts, and several other venues and for their continued works and benefit to the city of Chicago and its residents they should be a household name.

A passionate celebration of culture, a divine collection of works and an extremely talented assemblage of dancers is not what makes Ensemble Espanol the force that it is. These things are only a portion of the reason that the company enjoys the success and acclaim it has achieved. What I myself see are the hearts of toreros (toreadors) and the drive of the toro (bull.) Libby Komaiko had a vision and that vision grew because of her fever and passion to share the grace and magic of a culture. The Ensemble’s belief in their founder/director’s goal and their own determination created a triumph.

Flawless. The tap of heels, the snap of castanets, the clap of hands are all part of something bigger. A performance like this is best experienced live. Whether it is Flamenco or a folkloric ballet the Ensemble Espanol, musicians and dancers alike, has captivated millions. The solid strum of the guitar calls out for company and the dancers call back with a heartbeat. A breathtaking scene of precision and passion enraptures audiences of all ages, races and classes. Maintaining and presenting the culture, art and grace of Spain in the Midwest and having it not only be accepted but applauded is all that need be said for Libby Komaiko and her dancers. They are the sound of the castanets that echo and carry the tradition into the future.

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Team Building Activities

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By Liz Bercaw

Undoubtedly, dance coaches have to access team-building instruction through various association resources. Once the competitive season arrives, it will be filled with busy schedules, making it tough to draw upon professional writings. So, here are some quick team building ideas, along with some great ideas from regional dance coaches that will inspire you to employ some quick team-building ideas.

Reasons for doing “team-building” are myriad, but thinking about them requires analytical reflection, a time consuming intense activity. Here are some clear reasons for team-building set forth by the UDA (Universal Dance Association): build moral, build trust, build flexibility, and reinforce cooperation and creativity. A coach can achieve these by either conducting activities or “games” that directly train skills that induce these results, or as many coaches do, embed such training into regular dance season processes.

Encouraging good relationships is essential to team-building. Karen Christie, coach of Minneapolis Southwest, utilizes “Secret Sisters” a longer running version of the holiday favorite “Secret Santa.” Later in the season, to further bond your team, Kathryn Krause, Lakeville South Dance Coach likes to use “The Web.” A ball of yarn is thrown from dancer to dancer, the first telling something they value about the second. By the time each person is holding four or five pieces of yarn, a huge web has been formed. Two dancers are asked to let go of their strings while everyone watches what happens to the web, you can guess the result. Other group bonding activities suggested by coaches include showing impromptu movies and doing original choreography of short dances in groups.

It follows that exercises in group development discussed above, would also aid communication, the delivery of instruction or critique, two of the objectives achievable through UDA written games. Adding the element of perception can bring about smoother harmony during rehearsals. The goal of these games is to reveal to participants how they perceive situations or even objects differently than others. They are designed to break down preconceived stereotypes.

Remember to debrief so dancers can analyze how to apply game lessons to practices and competitions.

Team Building Ideas from Coaches
Kathryn Krause: Lakeville South Dance Coach
“As far as team bonding activities go, at the end of the season my college dance team would make what we called “the web.” We have a ball of yarn, and you throw it from girl to girl. Each person who throws it has to tell the person they throw it to something they value about them. It can be dance wise, personality, etc. That person then throws to someone else, and so on, and so forth. Our team was usually able to do this for about two hours. Everyone would be holding four or five pieces of the yarn and in the middle of the circle would be a huge web. We would have two people let go and see how it loosened the web. We would then talk about how this web is what makes us a team. Without one or two parts of the web, it is not as strong. Doing this four years in a row is one of my all time favorite college memories.”

Natalie Howlett-Albrecht: Head Coach of the Centennial Dance Team
“I really like to do surprise team bonding. At one of my regularly scheduled practices, I would plan an outing to go see a movie or just spend the entire practice letting the team get to know each other, I really like to give them a song and let them be creative, letting them make up dances that they show at the end of practice. It is really fun to see the interesting things that they come up with.”

Sara Willcutt: Head Coach of the Augsburg College Dance Team and the Ascending Star Dance Team
“I have my team sit in a circle and go around so that everyone has a chance to talk. I ask different questions such as: your favorites, something we don’t know about you, something unique about you, your goals as a dancer, ideas for the team this season, and so on. One of Augsburg’s favorite circle talks is when we say something positive that we admire about the dancer sitting to their right. We go around so everyone can feel good about themselves and see the positives that their team members see in them. Team chants and traditions are an important part of team bonding.”

Karen Christine: Minneapolis Southwest Dance Team Coach and Instructor at the Chanhassen Dance
“Team bonding is so important. Because my team is so close with each other, it makes them perform better! We like to play games like “Monkey in a Tree” with partners, we also do secret sisters. A fun way to do secret sisters is to put everyone’s name on a piece of paper and put it in a balloon and have everyone grab a balloon. They have to sit on it to pop it. They also do pasta parties before competitions to get the carbs in the night before! They watch dance tapes and eat food!”

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