you REALLY ready to dance for the judges and spectators???
lot more goes into a dance performance for a major Swing competition
than just choreography, practice and performing. Overall strategy
also plays an important role in the final outcome of the
competition. That includes outfit selection, personal grooming,
dance presentation, and the entry / exit for your routine.
asked Jeannie Tucker, veteran US OPEN competitor, judge, choreographer,
and professional dance instructor, to share some "competition
secrets" with our USA Swing Net viewers to help provide them with
valuable insight for their future competitions. Here are her
Getting ready for a competition or performance requires a lot of
planning to make the entire presentation come together effectively.
First, deciding the trends music-wise and what you want to
sell and interpret is necessary. Then, what "visual" you
want to provide as the vehicle for that interpretation
Picking a song that is pleasing to the listener and exciting enough to
plan great choreography
around is a challenge. Then
you must try to figure out how to "sell" that routine with costumes
that fulfill the mood set by the music.
Costumes must set the tone for the expression of a particular piece of
music - and color, fit, style, and flow all have a great deal to do with
the image and lines you create on the floor.
A costume with some movement about it and a looser fit or style can add
fluidity to your body and moves. Tight-fitting costumes are not
very forgiving and should be worn by those who are well-rehearsed and
sure of their movements. A good example of this is the difference
between how dancers look wearing pants with big "loose" legs
and ones with tight "straight" legs. Their bodies not
only look different but their movements do as well. If you have figure flaws, as we all have, then you must also
consider how to make your body look the best in the moves you want to
For woman, one of my real pet peeves is the use of shiny pantyhose on
stage. If you want your
thighs to look thin (as we all do), then do not put a reflective fabric
on them which makes them appear bigger to the audience. For men,
if your waist is large, then do
not wear a shiny rhinestone belt to draw the attention to
the wide mid-section you are dealing with.
Instead, put the attention on a top that will make you shoulders
look wide and use a dark color on the lower body to make it appear
smaller and thinner.
When it comes to hair, use it as you do your costume.
If you want to show speed and quickness in your routine, then
pull it back so as not to be a distraction.
If you move in a quick fashion and want people to see your
ability to stop on a dime, make sure the hair will stop with you and not
keep the action going. If
flow and smooth style is your thing, then use the hair to show this and
have it down and loose so it can move and show the "fluidity"
of your moves. If you do
put it up, make sure it is fastened well so it doesnít come loose in a
The color of the backdrop of the stage is a real consideration.
If you want parts of your body to really show up, then contrast
them to the background. If
you want to de-emphasize a body part then match it to the background as
camouflage. If your routine
is full of great footwork, then accent the feet with a color that we
The lighting is also important.
If direct lighting is being used, then take advantage of the use
of rhinestones to "glitter" in the spotlights.
Remember also that rhinestones will draw attention to the area
you place them on, so place them wisely.
When it comes to creating a routine, remember that you are an artist and
you should understand that the "moment" we see you out there
your art begins - so enter in a fashion or mood that is like that of the
dance you are about to do. Be
gracious and gather our respect and attention right away.
DANCE FOR THE
There are two basic ways to sell yourself to the audience.
Either go and get them with moves that demand their attention or make the "mood" between you and
your partner so enticing that they canít help but be drawn
into your routine.
Remember, most people would give their right leg to be out there
doing what you are doing, so enjoy it fully.
You are building memories to look back at later on in your
life. Make them good ones!
Jeannie Tucker at: