Teamwork. It is the cornerstone of most sports. Working together with your peers and the athletes in your group to succeed as a whole. But, for some reason, a lot of dancers think that dancing is mostly an individual sport. Yes, when dancing you have to focus on yourself and your skill as an individual…like all other sports. But when it comes to working as a team at competition, many dancers and dance studios fall short.
The only part of competition when you are an “individual” is when you’re performing your solo, and even then, support from your teammates is necessary even if they’re competing against you. The rest of competition – so about 98 percent of competition – is a team sport! Even if you’re not a competition dancer, these guidelines should still apply to you and your mentality when it comes to fellow dancers. Here is a guide to achieving ultimate team spirit amongst the dancers at your studio.
#1. Check yourself.
Before you even try to work as a team, you have to work on yourself. We’re all artists, and we all have some level of an ego. Self-confidence is never a bad thing, but make sure you check your ego at the door. You are not better than the person next to you. You may be better at certain technical skills, but that doesn’t make you queen or king of the dance floor. Especially when cleaning dances, make sure you are understanding and patient with your team members.
#2. Clear eyes, full hearts can’t lose.
Okay, so dance is not football [even though we’re pretty darn tough, too], but this saying from popular show Friday Night Lights has some serious merit. Clear eyes…have an open and peaceful mind when heading into competition. Full hearts…find the love in all that you’re doing, no matter how stressful a competition weekend can sometimes be. If you have a peaceful, clear mind and find your heart full of love, you can’t lose!
#3. Pump up the jam.
Team cheers and chants are so fun! Company directors, have a group competition to see which group can make up the best cheer or chant for the studio to say at competition. Have a playlist for your dancers to warm up to at competition that really pumps them up. And then, have the seniors get everyone together for the team cheer before competition begins.
#4. Aye, aye captain!
Company directors, I suggest establishing a group captain for all of your separate groups, and then one for the company as a whole. The captains for the specific groups should be the one dancer you feel is the most responsible and can handle being a leader the best. I think a team captain is important even for your younger groups. And then my advice would be to make a senior (or multiple seniors) the entire team captain. Give them some added responsibility. Maybe have the seniors warm up the group before competition begins.
#5. Gear on point(e)!
The final guideline to having the ultimate team spirit is obvious…spirit wear! I know some company directors may not want to make another purchase or fee necessary and required, but spirit wear can make a team feel more connected and part of a collective whole. It makes your dancers feel proud when they wear their dance jacket with your logo and their name on it to school. Maybe even start a tradition where your students wear their spirit gear to school on Fridays like the other athletes…because dancers are, after all, pretty athletic.
By Allison Gupton of Dance Informa.