You made it! Now that you're on your dream dance team, let's talk about tips for being on a dance team. Here are 12 things to keep in mind throughout the season!
1. Ask for critiques after you cast
Talking about growing is easy, but actually growing requires tons of fear-facing and weakness-addressing. A first step you can take is asking for constructive criticism. You need to understand what you need to work on in order to start working on it! So, ask the choreographer how you could improve your performance. It's not so much about wanting to get blocked front and center, but about continually improving through and for your team.
2. Pay attention!
Being on a dance team doesn't mean your work is done. You must always think of yourself as a student! A good student, at that.If a choreographer asks if there are any questions, ask, be present, and participate. This doesn't just show the choreographer that you are serious about mastering their style, but it's also an important habit to build, in general.You practice giving your full attention to someone else's style and way of teaching.
3. Bond with the team whenever you can.
This is the best (and most fun) part of being on a dance team!Get dinner with your teammates, go to their parties, get to know them during downtime at practice.These are the people you spend hours on end in a studio/parking lot/random nooks on campus with.Building chemistry is personally fulfilling, and also helps create chemistry for when you perform!
4. Practice on the side
Get that piece or transition in your system without having to be told to practice.Make it your own mission, not the directors' job, to get yourself comfortable with your track in a set.And, once your teammates notice how hard you're working, they too will be motivated to push.
5. Balance having fun / putting in work
Practices are a great time to socialize (especially since it's the most convenient time to hang out with everyone at once).But ultimately, you and your teammates are there to achieve a goal.Talking on the sides is fine, but be sure you're not disrupting the actual, you know, rehearsal.
6. Cheer for your teammates
Support your teammates as they're performing a piece in groups, doing run-throughs of a set, showcasing for choreo day...A little moral support goes a long way when someone has had a rough week, a rough practice, or are simply exhausted during practice!
7. Take class outside of practices
Stretch your boundaries outside of regular practices.It's so difficult to muster up the energy to do so sometimes.However, taking extra classes will not only improve your own dance ability, but will also push your teammates to continuously work hard alongside you.And that's just a win-win situation for all.
8. Be nice to newbies on the team :)
As you transition from being a 'newbie' to an 'oldie', it's easy to forget the discomfort of being new to a team.The awkwardness of new friendships, getting used to new choreo...Being a newbie is already nerve-wracking enough without the added fear of judgment from oldies (see #13).Don't be that person. Remember how it felt being on a dance team for the first time, and welcome them with open arms!
9. Be welcoming to alumni
Sadly, but often, alumni of teams feel disconnected to the current team.The alumni/current team relationship should not be one of 'out of sight, out of mind'.They have the same roots and have insightful things to offer through their past experiences.So, network and get to know your alumni; they have valuable advice for you!
10. Give appreciation to your directors/captains
It's not easy to manage a whole group of dancers.Leaders on your team play the role of choreographer, event planner, therapist, carpool driver...Just as you are trying your best to continuously improve as a dancer on the team, they are trying their best to continuously improve as leaders.Take the time to give them thanks as your wrap up rehearsals, or shoot them a text to let them know they're doing great!
11. Go to dance competitions with an open heart
Even though the nature of competitions are to determine placings, it's important not to let the spirit of competition supersede feelings of community and oneness.We've all worked equally as hard prior to competition day, so respect and acknowledge all the teams and dancers you see.
12. Most importantly, be open-minded
Be receptive to new choreography (because every team has a style, a way of execution that you may not be used to), be receptive to others, and be receptive to leadership.While being on a team and receiving direction from your captains and directors may seem like a passive relationship, there is far more depth to being on a team than going through the motions of learning and performing choreo with 40 other people.One single person can make or break a team. So use these 12 practices to affect your team positively and evolve team culture too!
Got any tips for being on a dance team? Share them with us below!