By: Susan Angell-Gonzalez
There is a lot of pressure from celebrity “rock stars” and popular music videos for choreographers to follow the most current trends. In addition, many try to imitate moves by dancers in the sports entertainment arena(NBA/NFL dancers). Many of their performances are not age-appropriate for High School and under (even college age dancers/teams need to consider what is “age-appropriate” for their audience). It is in your best interest to try and present age-appropriate material to your team/dancers and you can then help them realize that it is possible to be trend-setting without coming across negatively. Routine choreography should be designed for all types of audiences.
Suggestive and vulgar choreography is inappropriate and offensive to the average spectator or family audience. When competing at a contest, it is inevitable that penalty points will be deducted for inappropriate dance moves. One way to determine what is inappropriate movement is to choreograph in front of mirrors and/or video dancers performing the choreography. Most young dancers are self- conscious and modest. They will realize their moves are not appropriate if they can actually see what the choreography looks like to others. If you are in a “rut”, try using the dancer’s creativity to solve the problem.
Campus and district administrators often place some restrictions to dance choreography, costumes and music choices. Adhering to campus and district guidelines will make life much easier! Always supervise and guide student choreography in order to keep them on the right track. What’s popular with the NBA or NFL does not make it okay to emulate.
Twerking is not appropriate for a young dancer. They have no idea what it means. And it’s a poor example to the even younger students. Exploiting one’s body in inappropriate ways can be offensive to your average spectator. Appropriate choreography starts, above all, with the music and the lyrics. Selecting music for performances is typically chosen for appeal and musicality. It should be something dancers can relate to. On occasion, the realization that the lyrics are crude, with adult innuendos is sometimes overlooked by the director/choreographer and dancer. Sometimes, it is hard to understand the meaning of the language in the music, and this definitely causes a problem in the long run. How can you prevent this from happening? One way is to check the lyrics on the artist’s website, in the CD case, or search the Internet: www.songlyrics.com / www.raplyrics.com /
www.lyricsdemon.com www.ohhla.com. *Those with access to I-phones, I-touch, etc., can download programs/applications that have the ability to automatically check lyrics.
There’s nothing like an over-the-top costume to take a performance to the next level. An extreme look can help create a character, intensify choreography or maximize a dancer’s beauty. The costume should never detract from the choreography, it should only add to it. The way that your team is costumed will greatly affect the way the audience perceives them as well as how they feel about themselves. Individuals will perform better and more confidently in a comfortable costume that is structurally sound and leaves them with no fear of “falling out”. We sometimes feel pressured to select costumes based on what is trending instead of modest and appropriate. Do parents really want to see their child uncovered?
I believe if we take the power back and choose what is best and age appropriate, we empower ourselves and set an example for others to follow.
In order to avoid an inappropriate costuming trend, please adhere to the following:
Stick to costume catalogs that specialize in performance wear for dance teams.
Contact a sales representative that specializes in costume or team apparel. Example: Debra & Keith Moravits (owners of DanzGear in San Antonio, contest adjudicator, and former dance team director) specialize in team performance wear. Inquire about costumes that could possibly result in penalty points at contest.
Make certain that the costume is flattering on ALL performers.
Be creative in your thinking (using vibrant colors and interesting fabrics).
Keep your team aware and alert to appropriate trends in the dance/drill team industry. You can do this by viewing videos of top performing groups at contest, or by attending performance events of other teams.
Attention to detail and awareness of the impact their image is for their school must be recognized by the individual.
Make sure costuming is appropriate for all routines. Do not settle for something that is less than what it should be. If you pick an appropriate theme, the costume will probably follow suit. If you have put careful time and thought into dressing your dancers appropriately, it can increase the artistry of a dance.
When choosing costumes, remember that costumes should accentuate young dancers’ lines instead of exposing their trouble spots.
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