How to Start a Competition Dance Team
When you’ve been running a successful recreational dance studio for a couple years and have some amazingly talented students in your classrooms, you might start to think about ways to show the world how great your dancers are. What better way to do that than start a competitive dance team at your studio? If you’re wondering how to start a competition dance team, follow these easy steps.
Before you jump head-on into planning, it’s a good idea to see how many of your students would be interested in joining a competition team. Some may be too busy with other sports or extracurriculars to dedicate enough practice time, and others might not be able to afford the additional costs of competitions. You can gauge interest by talking to parents and students or sending out a survey to everyone. Make sure you have a solid group of students on board before making any definitive decisions.
Once you’ve determined that your dancers are ready and able to take their dancing to the next level, you’ll want to hold tryouts for your new competition team. There are a number of different ways that you can structure tryouts – your needs will dictate which method works best in your studio. Varsity.com explained that some studios hold open tryouts where any student can apply to be on the team. In this type of situation, you’ll likely have to make cuts, so be prepared to give your dancers honest feedback.
Another common method of recruiting dancers is to have “invitation only” tryouts. This strategy ensures that only dancers who are advanced enough for the rigors of competition will be considered. It can help spare your novice dancers the rejection of being cut and makes your job easier, as you’ll likely have fewer students to consider.
Whichever method you choose, it’s best to hold a meeting with parents before or during tryouts to explain the expected costs and time commitments that come along with competitive dance. The last thing you want is to select the perfect team only to have half drop out because of the price.
Schedule Practices and Outline Expectations
After you have a great group of dancers on your new team, you’ll need to create a practice schedule that works for all parties involved. Ideally, it shouldn’t interfere with their other dance classes or outside activities. However, the reality is that you may not be able to find a time that works for everyone. Do the best you can and make compromises whenever possible.
You’ll also need to outline your expectations for this new group. How many practices are they able to miss? What happens when they show up late? How far in advance do you need costume payments? Are there certain behaviors you expect dancers to uphold as representatives of your team? These are all important considerations to take into account. Competition teams generally have strict guidelines for dancers because if just one person is missing, the whole practice can be thrown off and the team may suffer.
Hone Your Skills
Once the paperwork is filled out and expectations are set, it’s time to do what you do best – practice! Start creating routines, building team bonds and preparing your dancers for competition life. You may want to bring in guest speakers who have experience in competitive dance or attend a local competition to see what the atmosphere is like. Some competitive teams also require their students to attend certain camps to work on skills and technique, but this should depend on whether your students are willing and able to do so.
When you think your team is ready, pick your first competition and go for it! Whether you win or lose, you’ll be on your way to creating a strong, covetable competition dance team.