Never forget the most critical element in dance …Technique! The importance of technique is key, no matter the style of the routine. Whether it’s jazz, pom, hip hop, or kick, there’s always an element of technique that can be improved. It’s the basis of all fundamentals of dance–from proper body posture to executing skills flawlessly. To stay on top of your technique, try to get 30 minutes per rehearsal to work on it. You can also set aside extra training time to focus on a new skill being introduced or a troublesome skill that needs polishing. Here are some helpful tips to use in improving your technique.
Sometimes you can get caught up in the choreography so it’s important to keep in mind the basics of body alignment during rehearsal and during performances. The most basic rules?
• Lifted chin, elongated neck, eyes off the floor
• Shoulders pressed naturally down and back
• Rib cage closed, as if there was a safety pin holding it together
• Stomach muscles engaged
• Hips held even and level
• Knees relaxed, not locked
• Feet parallel or turned out (turnout comes from your hips, with knees in a line over toes)
Pom & Kick
• All motions should be held in front of you so you can see your hands using peripheral vision
• When moving from one motion to the next, distinguish between breaking your arms or keeping them straight
• With kicks, backs should be straight, chins lifted, toes pointed, and hips level
• Begin with making sure you have an even weight distribution between both legs
• Practice moving from the prep to the turn position to practice finding your center of balance
• Practice spotting by going across the floor doing chaine turns
• Execute turns on the floor, whether singles, doubles, triples, etc. making sure your shoulders don’t go up, remaining on the ball of your foot throughout the turn, and keeping your hips level.
Leaps and Jumps
• Keep reminding yourself to point and stretch your feet the second you leave the ground
•Use your plie instead of your arms to gain height on any jump/leap.
• With toe touches or leaps in second, make sure your hips are level and bottom is tucked under
• Always land in plie in elevation skills, with knees bent, to avoid injury
• Another tip is to lift your chin, to gain even more height
Once you master the basics, you’ll be ready to challenge yourself with more advanced skills and technical elements. Dance is like building blocks, after one skill is mastered, you begin to work on the next. Practice and repetition are the keys to success. Remember that difficulty in a routine is not necessarily measured by the level of the skill performed, but instead, in the proper execution of it.