When it comes to routine cleaning there’s no doubt that repetition and drill, drill, drill is the most effective method. But sometimes when morale is waning and dancers are deflating, you need to mix it up a little to reignite the team’s energy and enthusiasm!
Here are 3 games I like to use to make routine cleaning fun:
“No cell phones at dance practice.” This is a great rule 99% of the time! But this game allows dancers to use their smart phones and that in itself gets them excited and responsive.
Split your dancers into two groups. One group will be the “stars” while the other are the “paparazzi”. The “stars” dance the routine full out. The “paparazzi” sit out and take photos of the routine. I usually ask them to take around 10 snapshots throughout the routine – it makes them think about which parts they want to photograph rather than just snapping away aimlessly. When the routine is over the team come together for a few minutes to analyze the photos. If you have a large team each “paparazzi” can choose just one or two photos to share.
Then have the groups switch roles and run the routine again! Dancers always work harder when they’re on camera and these snapshots are great for highlighting things like lazy feet, blank faces, and of course synchronization issues.
This one is nice and simple and especially good for polishing specific elements of the routine that need work, such as facials or pointed toes.
Run the routine full out from start to finish. When a dancer does something wrong, they have to stop dancing and sit the rest of the routine out. This keeps going until there is one dancer “left standing” or the routine is finished.
It may seem counterintuitive to have dancers sitting out, especially the ones who are making mistakes, but you’ll be surprised how hard they work to stay in and be one of the dancers who get to finish the routine!
Break your routine into 4 sections (roughly 30-40 seconds long) and give each section a number. Write these numbers on little pieces of paper (one on each) that will act as lottery tickets and place them all in a hat. You’ll want the same amount of lottery tickets as dancers, with the routine sections divided evenly between the tickets. For example, a team of 20 would have 5 x “1” tickets, 5 x “2” tickets, 5 x “3” tickets and 5 x “4” tickets.
Then have your dancers pick a number out of the hat and that will be the section of the routine they dance full out in the next run through. I like to make them keep their numbers secret so there’s an element of surprise during the routine – for them that’s the fun part! For you it shines a spotlight on who does and doesn’t know the choreography. During the other sections not on their ticket they can relax and watch the girls who are dancing. I like to have them still moving through the formations but their main focus should be looking around to see who has begun dancing full out and watching them closely. Having their teammates eyes on them from potentially all angles is what pushes them to perform that little bit harder.
To up the ante you can have dancers pull 2 or more tickets from the hat at a time, meaning they’ll be dancing more of the routine full out. I also like to throw in 2 or 3 “JACKPOT” tickets each time that indicate those girls will dance the whole routine full out. It’s fun to watch the team identify the “jackpot winners” and cheer them on.
How do you shake up your routine cleaning process?