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10 Top Tips to make dance rehearsals effective

So we all know that dance rehearsals can be a stressful time, in fact you just never seem to have enough time. You have solos, duos, trios and larger groups all performing different pieces and you only have 1 dance rehearsal space available and a few precious hours. Sound familiar?

As dance teachers we are expected to have many different hats: teacher, coach, motivator, disciplinarian, stage hand, costume technician, surrogate parent... the list is endless. This means that extremely military precision planning is required to make the most out of our rehearsal time.

Rehearsals are for putting the finishing touches, not teaching the material, so first make sure all your dancers know their routines before you even think about rehearsal planning. Then what? Here are 10 quick Top Tips to make your rehearsals fun more smoothly and efficiently.

1) Take the time you have available (E.g. 4 x 3 hour rehearsals = 12 hours). Break the performance down into bite sized chunks, allocate according to time available

2) Make a plan: Dates, Times, Locations, Which dancers are required (all / some) on what days times, Equipment needed, Support staff needed (volunteers, parents, other dance teachers).

3) Set up a What's App / Facebook Messenger group for all your dancers / parents / support team so that you can instantly keep them up to date with the plan as the rehearsals progress.

4) Type up your rehearsal plan, email it out / hand it out, if you are with young dancers make sure parents have a copy too.

5) Build in safety considerations for warm up / cool down. If there won't be time for proper warm ups & cool downs in your rehearsal time then make sure dancers are informed that they will need to do this before / after the rehearsal themselves. You can't expect dancers to throw themselves full swing at the performance piece if they haven't warmed up. If you have sufficient time then make sure the warm up / cool down is effective.

6) Build in safety considerations for practising lifts and throws. How many times can you really expect your dancers to repeat these during rehearsal without fatigue? You don't want someone being dropped and injured.

7) You can ask dancers to work in small groups simultaneously where possible. Having 4 groups in different rehearsal areas of say a large hall, working without music may be possible. Then you can just play the music when they are ready to present their piece to you.

8) Video the final performance at the end of each rehearsal – evaluate and fine tune for next rehearsal - share the video to the group messenger if possible so that everyone can evaluate their own performance and make their own corrections

9) Adjust next rehearsal plan according to progress made in each session - be sure to recirculate the amended plan

10) Where possible, try to allow enough recovery time for dancers before next rehearsal if possible – divide dancers into 2 or more teams, and alternate rehearsal sessions



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