NDA Collegiate Nationals

If you’re a dancer, there has probably been a time where you found yourself watching videos of dances on YouTube while procrastinating your work. For those of you that are interested in Pom, Hip-Hop, Jazz, (or just really cool technical dances in general) you should really consider watching some of these teams. The National Dance Alliance is a competition that holds Nationals for collegiate teams every year in Daytona Beach, Florida. These teams compete against other schools in their division to be placed in the Finals. From someone who has experienced watching finals in person, they are definitely worth the time. Check out some of these top ranking teams!

Division 1A:

University of Louisville

Division 1:

Towson University

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Why We Should All Be More Like Misty Copeland

Misty Copeland is a ballerina that is an icon for all women, especially women of color. She was the first female African-American Principal Ballerina in the American Ballet Theatre. Although she grew up in a low-income family, she defied all odds by dancing professionally within a year of her first ever dance class. Besides her amazing achievements made in dance, she also has done great things for the community. After being inducted into the Boys and Girls Club National Hall of Fame, she was also named National Youth of the Year Ambassador for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in June 2013. She dedicates much of her little free time to charitable organizations and is dedicated to her mentoring of young boys and girls. You might think it stops at her talents and heart, but she even has scholarly accomplishments. In 2014 she wowed the University of Hartford with her dedication to classical ballet and effort to diversify it and was awarded an honorary doctorate. In 2014, she also published a best selling memoir about her life and acomplishments in the dance world.

Misty Copeland is the type of girl we all wish we could be. Talented, beautiful, kind, and an inspiration to girls everywhere. When reading about the tough experiences she faced as a child, it is even more motivating to see how far she has come. Her dancing is flawless and seems almost effortless to her. The links below are performances of hers that leave you speechless. Misty Copeland is someone who is not just an athlete, but an overall good person and deserves more recognition for her help to the community.

Romeo and Juliet

Pointe Performance

The Love-Hate Relationship We All Have With Ballet

Let’s face it, ballet sucks. It is one of the hardest styles of dance in a way that’s different from all the others. It requires focus, discipline, strength, and determination to succeed in it. While in ballet class, you must be aware of every part of your body and what it is doing. It takes a lot of concentration to have your arms, shoulders, head, fingers, chest, back, hips, knees, feet, and toes all in the correct position at all times. Every time you feel like you finally got it, it’s time to move on to the next one. The strength that ballet takes is a kind that pushes you every single class, even when you just thought you were getting good. It’s nearly impossible to be perfect in ballet and the only thing you can do is keep trying to get better. Ballet class in one that challenges you mentally and physically.

Even with all these frustrating aspects of ballet, it is still one of the most beautiful styles to watch and perform. While doing ballet, it feels as if you’re in control of your body. You have to push yourself further than you are used to in order to get better at it. When you do something correctly and everything clicks, you feel an immediate sense of accomplishment. It’s as if everything you’ve been working for has a purpose. Ballet is a style of dance that makes you feel stronger everytime you leave the class. Without ballet, dance would have no center to base itself off of. Ballet is the most important style when it comes to technique. Even though at times it can make you feel defeated, the reward is worth it when you do something well.

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What to Expect from Your First Dance Class

I’m sure there are many people who would love to try a dance class, but decide not to because they don’t know what to expect. This should not be a reason to stop you from trying something new! Dance classes can be intimidating at times when it is full of people of all levels, but everyone is there for the same reason: to have fun. When you’re going to your first dance class make sure to wear something comfortable. No on is going to expect you to show up in tights and a leotard, but a normal workout outfit with tight fitting clothes is good. Make sure you bring a lot of water with you in case the location of the class does not supply any. Dancing is harder than it looks, and it’s important to stay hydrated. The instructor will most likely start the class with a stretch. This is good down time to really connect with your body and feel every muscle that is being used. It is the perfect time to clear your head and relax while stretching out your muscles. While there might be other new students in the class too, try not to focus on the person next to you. Comparing yourself to other people in the room defeats the purpose of taking the class, especially when everyone is at a different level. Pay attention to the teacher and if you have a question about what they are saying, just ask! Different teachers have different ways of teaching a class depending on what style it is. Some classes you may be asked to do center work, other will be across the floor, some may teach you a combination, it all depends on where you go! The important thing is that you tried something new and enjoyed yourself while doing it.

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Dance History

If you love to dance, you would most likely be interested in learning about where dance originated from and the history about it. Dance is a form of self-expression that has been popular throughout history which is something that makes it unique. Although dance has a long history throughout many different cultures, here are a few interesting facts about dance history.

  • Egyptian paintings from as long ago as 1400 BC depict figures dancing
  • The first dramatic ballet occurred in France in 1581
  • Jazz dance oriented at the end of the 19th century in primarily New Orleans
  • Hip-Hop dancing was discovered in the 70’s to accompany the rise of hip-hop music
  • Dancing was largely religious in the past and also as a healing ritual
  • Public dancing was banned in India after it became linked to trafficking and prostitution

These are just some of the fascinating facts that show how dance has evolved throughout history. Dance has always been an important part of a culture and will continue to be one as long as it can be a way of self-expression.

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How to Survive Competition Day

Competition season is the best time of the year for dancers. They get to showcase everything they have been working on throughout the year and see other performers as well. Although competition season is something every dancer looks forward to, once it finally arrives you may find yourself anything but ready to get on stage. Suddenly, you may feel unprepared, nervous, pressure to do well, and other nervewracking emotions. Did I forget my shoes? Do I have all my costumes? What about my makeup? You may run through the checklist in your head over and over again to make sure you have everything you need. Next time you’re feeling this way, don’t fret. Just remember these things before you go and rock the stage.

  1. Pack everything you need the night before
  2. Wake up earlier than you need to so you don’t feel rushed
  3. Get good nights sleep the night before
  4. Make a checklist to look at before you leave
  5. Make sure to bring water and snacks
  6. Don’t get intimidated by the dancers that go before you
  7. Stretch really well before you go on stage
  8. Listen to your performance songs before you go to bed
  9. Play some pump-up music on your way there to get you excited
  10. Bring a protein bar of some kind, competitions are usually an all day event.

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I Can Only Hold My Tongue For So Long

We all have those friends who just don’t seem to understand anything about the dance world. We applaud them for taking an interest, but we would rather not have to explain the answer to these 10 most annoying questions that dancers get asked. If we could, this is probably what we would respond to them.

  1. “Can’t you just skip dance?”

Yeah, let me just explain to my studio direction I missed a rehearsal because I wanted to go to the mall with my friends. She would totally understand. Totally.

2. “Did you win the competition?”

No, you do not win the competition. You can place but you do not just win.

3. “What is a leotard?”

An extremely comfortable piece of clothing that gives you the freedom to move your whole body. You should really try one.

4. “You’re a dancer? Can you do a dance for me?”

You’re a chef, can you make me food? That’s what I thought.

5. “Are you better than the girls on Dance Moms?”

Sadly, no. But I’ll probably tell you yes because you’ll never see me dance.

6. “Why do you have so many bruises?”

From a mixture of falling, throwing my body around on the ground, exhaustion, and hard work.

7. “Why don’t you just get a pedicure?”

Sorry, but I don’t feel like spending $20 on a pedicure when it will just be destroyed in a matter of days. Thanks for the suggestion though.

8. “So are you really flexible?”

Yes but that doesn’t mean I’m going to show you.

9. “Why do you have dance for so long?”

Because I’m dedicated and I love it, that’s why.

10. “Do you know how to do (insert gymnastic trick here)”?

No, I am a dancer not a gymnast.

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Be the Leader You Would Follow

Dance is different than sports teams in the way that it’s more focused on the individual rather than the group as a whole. Of course, you have to work together with your peers to have a good performance, but it’s centered around individual achievements. Dancers are constantly put in a competition with one another for the lead role, front row spot, and for praise from their teacher. This can create an unhealthy envy between dancers that should be learning and growing together. It is important to take on a leadership role when taking classes whether they are for fun, with a team/studio, or with complete strangers. This will make a much more enjoyable atmosphere and let each dancer grow and learn from one another. To take on a leadership role, there are some qualities you should be sure to emphasize during class.

  1. Don’t be afraid to go first
  2. Don’t be afraid to mess up
  3. Speak up in class and raise your hand when you have a question
  4. Help others when you see them struggling
  5. Always have a positive attitude, even when you’re not happy with what’s happening
  6. Apply corrections- your teacher wouldn’t give them to you if they thought you couldn’t do it.
  7. Compliment others when they do something well
  8. Put in 100% effort in everything you do
  9. It’s okay to be frustrated, it’s not okay to give up
  10. Set an example for the rest of the class

You can also look at this link for more tips on how to be a good leader!

10 Leadership Qualities

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Cuz When You Look Good, You Feel Good

Half the fun of doing a dance performance is getting all dressed up in cute costumes with your hair and makeup all done up. Whether you’re doing a funky jazz piece or a beautiful lyrical dance, you want to make sure everything is perfect so that all you have to worry about is your dancing. It’s hard to know what kind of makeup and hair products you should trust when you’re a dancer. The last thing you want is your hair falling in your face in the middle of a performance. When packing your bag for a competition or any type of performance, make sure you always pack the hair and makeup essentials. With this checklist, you will be sure to have hair that holds a lifetime and makeup that won’t run while you’re sweating on stage.

Hair:

Hair Nets- If you’re planning on wearing your hair in a bun, you should definitely be packing a few hair nets. These will keep your hair in place even when your bobby pins start to fail you.

Hair Gel- Hair gel is another must have that also gets forgotten sometimes. Yes, hairspray is important but sometimes only hair gel can hold down those curly flyaways!

Bobby Pins AND Hair Pins- Bobby pins are a girl’s best friend. But don’t forget about your hair pins! These help especially with thick hair to hold whatever style you have in place.

Makeup:

Face Primer- Face primer will help make sure your foundation doesn’t come off throughout the day. When you’re getting ready to perform, the last thing you want to worry about is your makeup coming off.

Eyeshadow Palette- You never know when you’re going to have to change up a look. Maybe your performance requires multiple colors of eyeshadow, maybe you have multiple performances in one day, either way, it’s better safe than sorry. Having an eyeshadow palette handy will ensure you’re prepared for anything.

False Eyelashes- False eyelashes are a hit or miss with most people. You either love them, or you hate them. But either way, they always look fabulous and help pull the look together for a more dramatic effect.

Red Lipstick- You can never go wrong with red lipstick for a dance performance. It’s the classic look that never gets old, and it really brings out your lips when you’re on stage. A dancer never leaves their house without their most trusted red lipstick!

Setting Spray- The final touch, the setting spray. This will help keep your liner winged, your cheeks contoured, and your lipstick bright!

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Keep Calm and Stretch

Stretching is one of the most important aspects of dancing. Not only does it help dancers improve their flexibility, it also prevents them from injuring themselves by pulling a muscle. Every dancer should be sure they have properly stretched their bodies before they begin a class of any type. Stretching is not only necessary for dancers, but it also has benefits that go beyond dance! For instance, stretching every day can help keep your muscles strong and healthy. It gives you better posture and also can help increase your blood circulation. For beginners, stretching can seem very unpleasant. Once you know your body’s limits it becomes a very relaxing exercise that can help improve your health and your skills. Stretches are also good for muscle aches that occur in the body. These are some of the best stretches to do once a day whether it’s right when you wake up, before you go to sleep, or anywhere in between.

The “Froggy Stretch”

This stretch is when you lay on the floor on your stomach and bend your knees to bring your feet in together to create a diamond with your legs. This stretch helps your inner thighs and groin.

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The Hip Flexor Stretch

This stretch is when you are in a lunge position with your back knee down and lean forward into your hips. It stretches out your hip flexors and helps open up your hips.

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Lower Back Stretch

For this stretch, you will want to lay on the ground on your back. Gentle bring one leg across your body and try to press your knee down to the other side of your body. This stretch helps loosen your lower back and can alleviate pain that occurs after standing for a long time.

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Butt Stretch

Many people forget that your butt is the largest muscle in your body. This, of course, should be stretched when possible. A good stretch for this is laying down on your back. You bend one leg so that your foot is on the ground and bring the other foot up towards your knee. Pull gently on the leg that is touching the ground for a good stretch in your butt.

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