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Increase Dancers' Ankle Strength and Balance with These Three Moves

Posted by Katie Peyton on Sep 20, 2018


So many dancers and teachers focus on core strength when it comes to turns, balance and stability, but not much attention is paid to the ankles until dancers start pointe or have an injury. Increasing ankle strength is essential when a dancer keeps dropping their heel, hopping in their turns or have a low relevé.

The health of your dancer’s feet and ankles effects the health of their knees, hips and everything else moving upward so I encourage you to take the time to work on these smaller areas as they can greatly improve larger muscles and structures of the body.

Try these three moves to increase ankle strength in your next practice and have your dancers try these at home while brushing their teeth or chatting at the kitchen counter.

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Topics: Coaching Tips, Competition Resources

Increase Dancer Hip Flexibility and Strength With These 5 Moves

Posted by Katie Peyton on Aug 10, 2018

Dancer hip flexibility

I get asked a lot as a personal trainer for dancers about hip flexibility and strength. It seems to be an area of concern for coaches and dancers striving for flat splits, high kicks and extended leaps. The biggest issue however isn’t really a lack of flexibility, but a lack of movement in our every day lives. The increased time we spend sitting at work, school, in cars or buses causes our hip muscles to become tighter and shorter. This pulls on our low back and even our hamstrings. With these 5 movements, you’ll see a drastic change in hip flexibility but you can also enjoy some more movement in the back and legs.

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Topics: Coaching Tips, Competition Resources

3 Things Dancers Should Never Do While Stretching

Posted by Katie Peyton on May 2, 2018

 dancer stretch pose

You probably have a stretching routine that you’ve been doing for months or even years. Usually the routine starts standing, folding over your legs for a hamstring stretch, spending some time in a runners lunge, and of course a straddle stretch that slides right into the splits.

From studios to dance teams, stretching usually looks the same, but it’s important to follow healthy stretching guidelines to prevent injury and decreasing your strength.

So, how should a dancer stretch correctly? By avoiding these three things, below!

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Topics: Dance Life, Coaching Tips, Dance

How to Get Started on Your Dance Costume (Even If You Don't Have Your Team or Funding Yet)

Posted by Meagan on Mar 22, 2018

how to get started on your custom dance costume design early

Competition season has wrapped up, your team's hard work has paid off, and it's already time to begin planning for next season.

Starting early on your custom dance costume design can save you time, stress, and money, but one of the main constraints we hear is, "I don't have my team or money yet!" 

No worries, there may be a solve for you! There are ways to get started even without your team assembled OR your funds in place for the year. Read on to find out how.

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Topics: Planning Tips, Coaching Tips, Budget Tips, Costume Design Resources

Increase Your Flexibility With These 4 Stretches for Dance

Posted by Katie Peyton on Feb 8, 2018

increase flexibility for dancers with these stretches


Flexibility is a fundamental skill for dancers and athletes. The ability to move your body freely will make the execution of skills and exercise much easier. Many dancers struggle with flexibility in their hamstrings and hips, but what they don’t know is that tightness in their hamstrings is directly related to a tight back and tight glutes (buttock region).

These four moves are going to pay special attention to hips, back, glutes, and hamstrings. Put all four moves together to increase your dance flexibility for a lower split, longer extensions, and more open hips.

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Topics: Coaching Tips, Competition Resources

5 Best Exercises for Dancers to Increase Jump Height and Power!

Posted by Katie Peyton on Jan 19, 2018


increase dancers jump height and power


As athletes, dancers have the ability to focus their strength and power in many different ways. Being aware of which muscles will be best for a variety of skills will help build strength and level of skill, beyond just technique. These exercises will not only increase jump height and power, but also build long lean muscles in your dancer’s legs!


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Topics: Coaching Tips, Competition Resources

The Best Pre and Post Competition Nutrition for Dancers

Posted by Katie Peyton on Dec 11, 2017

 Nutrition for Dancers

A day or weekend of competition is mentally and physically exhausting for dancers, but they can prepare their body days, weeks and even months before competition to improve their strength, balance, performance, endurance, recovery and injury prevention.

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Topics: Coaching Tips, Competition Resources

Our 10 Favorite Motivational Quotes for Dancers

Posted by Stephanie on Oct 30, 2017

"Be Happy. Be Bright. Be You." - Kate Spade Motivational Quotes for Dancers

"Be Happy. Be Bright. Be You." - Kate Spade

As dance teams head into competition season, when the pressure and excitement are at an all time high, everyone could use a little extra motivation and encouragement!  To inspire your team, here are our 10 favorite motivational quotes for dancers:

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Topics: Coaching Tips, Dance Life

Your No Stress Dance Costume Planning Checklist

Posted by Meagan on Jul 21, 2017

Dance Costume Planning Team Plan Session.jpg

Feeling overwhelmed with all the details when it comes to figuring out all of your team's apparel needs?  We know that planning for the upcoming season can be stressful, so we've compiled a dance costume planning checklist to make sure you're on track.  It includes activities for:

  • Dance costumes,
  • Cheer and performance uniforms,
  • Camp apparel,
  • and Warm-ups!  

Follow the step-by-step guide to make sure you hit all your apparel deadlines!


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Topics: Coaching Tips, Budget Tips, Costume Design Resources

9 Team Building Exercises That Aren't Lame

Posted by Meagan on Jun 15, 2017

St Charles High School MN STATE 2017 Jazz 2-1.jpg 

We know the importance of building a strong team. But we also know that there is a lot of advice out there on team building activities that are so lame!  It's important for your team to mesh together nicely, but a new season and a new team can be intimidating both for coaches and the team members. To help with transition, we've compiled a list of 9 Team Building Ideas you can implement with your new team this fall! 

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Topics: Coaching Tips, Planning Tips, Practice

Expert Coaching Tips: Advice from 5 NFL Cheerleading Coaches

Posted by Stephanie on May 15, 2017


This February, directors for NFL's prestigious cheer and dance teams got their 2018 season off to a start at the NFL Director's Conference in Philadelphia! We were able to chat with a few of our coaching friends while attending the event, and asked them if they had any advice for fellow coaches.  Here's what these experienced and talented women had to say!

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Topics: Professional Cheer - NFL, Coaching Tips, Planning Tips

Audition Checklist: Everything You Need to Plan Your Dance Team Auditions

Posted by Pam on Apr 27, 2017

high school dance team audition checklist.jpgAlthough it may seem as though the past dance season JUST came to a close... it's time to start thinking next year! Spring is here.. which means it's audition season! Whether you are the coach for a high school, college, or pro dance team, it's time to get organized and pick your new dancers and cheerleaders!

Coaches and captains - get prepared for dance team auditions with this handy checklist!  After 8 years of coaching experience, I consider this checklist an essential part of kicking off the season on the right foot!  

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Topics: Coaching Tips, Tryouts & Auditions

Wrapping Up Your Season - A Coach's Checklist

Posted by Tami on Feb 8, 2017


Check out this awesome end-of-year coaching tips checklist from our guest writer Tami Krause, Head Coach and Director of the Minnesota Viking Cheerleaders!  

Can you believe it!  You are done.  Weren’t tryouts just yesterday?  Another season has come and gone.  As I sat watching the Super Bowl on Sunday I was reminded of all the things that happen once the “big game” is over.  It really is just the beginning of another “season” – the post season.  It is a time that is very important to the success of your upcoming season. I have put together a checklist of items to help you wrap up the end of your dance team season.  Congratulations on another great year!

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Topics: Coaching Tips

Expert Coaching Tips: 8 Ways to Define Leadership for Your Dance Team

Posted by Stephanie on Jan 20, 2017
Dance Arts Centre Studio Dancers Lyrical dance costumes
Dance Arts Centre dancers huddle before a performance.

We've asked some of our coaching friends to share their unique insights with you for this new series: EXPERT COACHING TIPS. In case you missed it, last time we talked about coaches' most important lessons learned!

This week, we're talking about leadership. The dance team coaches we talked to know that it's important not only to be a great leader for their dance teams, but also to establish leadership within their team. See what they had to share, below! 

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Topics: Coaching Tips, Dance

Expert Coaching Tips: 9 Most Important Lessons Learned

Posted by Stephanie on Dec 6, 2016

Hutchinson High School Dance Team - Twitter.jpg

Coach Stephanie Kutter and the Hutchinson Showstoppers Dance Team celebrating at a competition.

We've asked some of our coaching friends to share their unique insights with you for this new series: EXPERT COACHING TIPS. In case you missed it, last time we talked about planning for the upcoming season!

This week, we're talking about most important lessons learned. From working with parents to finding a balance of support and discipline... the coaches we talked to have a lot of experience in what works and what doesn't. See what these expert dance team coaches had to share!

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Topics: Coaching Tips, Dance, Practice

Expert Coaching Tips: Advice on Planning for the Upcoming Season

Posted by Stephanie on Nov 10, 2016

Planning for the upcoming dance team season

We've asked some of our coaching friends to share their unique insights with you for this new series: EXPERT COACHING TIPS. In case you missed it, last week we talked about how to create the best practice!

This week, we're talking about planning for the season. We know that coaching a dance team involves A LOT of coordination and details. From tryouts to practices to designing costumes... there's a ton to keep track of and get organized. To help, see what these expert dance team coaches had to say about staying on top of planning!

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Topics: Coaching Tips, Dance, Planning Tips

Expert Coaching Tips: 5 Tips to Create the Best Practice Ever

Posted by Stephanie on Nov 2, 2016

University of st thomas dance team - practice 

The best part of our jobs is working with extremely talented dance, skate and cheer coaches. They play an integral role in supporting the team - through motivation, encouragement, and wisdom. We know that coaching can be a challenging yet very rewarding job!

We've asked some of our coaching friends to share their unique insights with you for this new series: EXPERT COACHING TIPS. This week, we're talking about practice. See what some of these expert dance team coaches had to say, below!

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Topics: Coaching Tips, Dance, Practice

Costume Planning: 4 Things You Need to Know Before Designing a Dance Costume

Posted by Katie on Nov 1, 2016

jazz and lyrical dance costumes

We know that planning for an upcoming season can be a challenging yet exciting time!  When it comes to your team's dance costumes, there are many questions. Where do you start?  What information do you need!  Luckily it's pretty simple.  All you need to get started with designing a dance costume are these four things: budget, time frame, quantity, and concept.  Read on to learn more!!

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Topics: Planning Tips, Coaching Tips, Budget Tips, Costume Design Resources, How to Design a Custom Dance Costume

6 Mistakes That Will Zap Your Dance Competition Score

Posted by Karen on Oct 2, 2016

Chaska High School in custom yellow high kick dresses

Whether you dance in a studio, on a football field, or on a gym floor, odds are you are working hard to plan for your competition season. One key element to any performance is, of course, the Score Card. While every competition has different scoring standards, there are several aspects of competition dance that are consistent across the board. Take a look at these six common mistakes that will zap your dance competition score and decide for yourself if they apply to your team!

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Topics: Coaching Tips, Dance

6 Tips for Making Dance Costume Reorders A Breeze

Posted by Katie on Sep 23, 2016

Western Michigan University Dance Team in custom uniforms

Western Michigan Dancers reordered their 2015 gameday top (left) in 2016 (right).  Photo credit: WMU Dance Team.

A new season means new team members - Yeah!!  What are they going to wear? If you're like many teams on a budget, you're likely going to re-use last year's dance costumes, but will need to order a few more. Maybe you need a few more of a popular size. Or you just accepted more members than the year before. Either way, a good costume company will be able to help accommodate your dance costume re-order needs!

Here are 6 tips on planning for your next uniform reorder:

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Topics: Coaching Tips, Planning Tips, Dance, Cheer, Pom & Gameday, Synchronized skating

Your Complete Guide to the USFSA Synchronized Skating Costume Guidelines

Posted by Trista on Jul 13, 2016

Synchronized skate dresses with rhinestones

Hockettes Junior (left)  and Team Delaware Junior (right) teams went all out on rhinestones for their custom skate dresses - something only Junior, Senior, and Collegiate teams can do!

Last November 2015, the USFSA updated the official Synchronized Skating costume guidelines.  If you’ve taken a look at the guidelines, you know that they tend to be vague.  For good reason too - it allows for artistic interpretations by teams based on their region and performance choices.   Here's guiding principle:

"The costumes of the competitors must be modest, dignified and appropriate for athletic competition, not garish or theatrical in design. Costumes may, however, reflect character of the music chosen."
We know with this vague statement, other guiding rules can get a bit confusing, especially since Junior, Senior, and Collegiate levels are excluded from many. So as you start to design for your next synchronized skating dress, here's a look at a few different costume elements, and what the guidelines dictate about each!  

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Topics: Synchronized skating, Coaching Tips, Competition Resources

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