Dance Advice

Dance Clinic – Dance Q & A

Your Dance Questions Answered!

What questions do you have relating to dance training, performing or teaching?
As dancers in a complex industry, we have many questions and are eager for advice. Dance Informa has a new column – Dance Clinic– where you can fire your questions at a leading dance expert and teacher.

Doc Dance
Doc Dance has danced with one of the world’s leading ballet companies, holds a Bachelor of Physical Education, a Diploma in Dance and Graduate Diploma of Education amongst many qualifications and achievements. A certified dance educator with a long history in the industry, Doc Dance has enjoyed a successful career in ballet, musical theatre and variety shows. Doc Dance is a University Lecturer, being invited all over the world to speak and to conduct master classes, and has now joined the Dance Informa team to help our readers achieve their goals.

Your Questions…

Hi Doc Dance,
I am competing in an upcoming ballet competition. I have to dance a ballet solo as well as a contemporary solo. My contemporary teacher has choreographed a dance for me, but I am not happy with it. Should I employ a well known contemporary choreographer to create a piece on me or should I just stick with what I have from my teacher? How important is the contemporary section?

Dear Ballerina,

Let me answer this from both a teacher’s point of view and from a dancer’s view point.

From the teacher/choreographers point of view:
First of all, honesty is the best policy. Speak to your contemporary teacher and let him/her know how you feel. Ask your teacher if he/she thinks that the dance suits you and if it’s right for the competition. You could also speak to him/her about the idea of asking a renowned contemporary choreographer to create a piece for you. I would certainly not go behind your teacher’s back, so speak with your teacher first. As teachers and choreographers we have to put our pride on hold and do what is best for our students and I am sure your teacher will do what is best for you.

From the dancer’s point of view:
We cannot always see when we are dancing, what we are dancing and sometimes a piece of choreography can appear arduous, boring or even dull. The music might also be uninteresting to us which can lead to us not liking the piece, but that does not necessarily mean that the dance is boring. I have on occasions danced in contemporary pieces that I felt terrible performing, but to my surprise the audience loved them!

And how important is the contemporary section? A good contemporary solo can make it or break it for dancers in most competitions that ask for the two solos. Often (and I have judged many) the classical solo can leave several dancers around the same standard or mark, and then the contemporary dance becomes the decider!

Cheers, Doc Dance  

Dear Doc Dance,
Every time I do a fan kick it feels like my leg is grinding and rolling around in my socket. What can I do to fix it?
Sam.

Dear Sam,
Without being able to see you and access your situation it is rather difficult to determine why your hip might be grinding. Your hip is supposed to “roll” around in your socket, as your hip is a ball and socket joint. Ideally it shouldn’t grind.

A few questions I would ask are:
– Is the grinding the same when you are warmed up as when you are cold? It could just be a matter of making sure your body is warmed sufficiently so that it doesn’t grind.
– Does the grinding actually hurt? Sometimes the noise created from the activity can scare you, or are you in actual pain?
– Is it the same on both legs? Often we favour one leg more than the other.  You could be getting an injury or problem from the constant overuse of one leg.
– Has your hip always done this or is it a recent problem?

Nevertheless, the most important thing you can do is to seek professional advice and see a physiotherapist (ideally a dance specialist) as he/she will understand the action you are doing.
I wish you well, Doc Dance

Dear Doc Dance,
I’ve always wanted to be a dancer but never had the courage to follow the dream. Now at 38, I’m looking to teach. Do I need to do a qualification and if so, can you suggest where I start?

Dear Dancer,

I am not sure what style of dance you are interested in teaching but basically “yes” you most certainly will need qualifications. I believe that within the next 2 years (and about 10 years overdue) any person teaching dance of any form/style in Australia will have to comply with new laws ensuring that they are in fact qualified.

Most parents when enquiring about a school will generally ask 4 things:

1) What qualifications do you have?

2)  Are you insured?

3)  Do you have a yearly concert?

4)  Do I have to sew?

There are many different teaching systems all with their own qualifications and standards. As I don’t know the style you want to teach the best I can recommend is that you “Google” dance systems or dance styles in the particular area that you want to teach in.

A word of advice is to first decide on the geographical area you want to teach in. Then look up what dancing schools are in the area in your preferred style.  Find out what systems they are already teaching, as you don’t want to flood the area with too many teachers of the same system and be competing for the same students. Good Luck!

Do you have a dance question?
Email you questions to
info@danceinforma.com with the Subject: Dance Clinic
You may find your answers in the next edition!

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of Dance Informa Pty Ltd or Dance News International LLC, its directors and employees. The Dance Clinic column is simply provided to give helpful advice and feedback to dancers, teachers and parents, but should not be the only resource used by readers to make decisions about their training/dancing or professional practice.

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