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Updated on October 16, 2014


~ Lai Rupe's Choreography

Define: Clean

verb: clean; 3rd person present: cleans; past tense: cleaned; past participle: cleaned; gerund or present participle: cleaning1. make (something or someone) free of dirt, marks, or mess, especially by washing, wiping, or brushing.

informal: used to emphasize the completeness of a reported action, condition, or experience.

If you have been dancing in a studio or on a dance company, you have probably heard the term "cleaning a dance." But what does this really mean? Do you pull out sponges and mop the floor while you dance across it? Of course, not. . . . In this article not only will you learn what it really means to clean a dance, but you will also find tips to help ensure that your dances are as clean as they can be.

So, What does it mean to clean a dance?

Cleaning a dance means you review a dance routine and basically edit it, to take out any of the "profane" parts. Just as you would edit a movie to show to your kids, you want to make sure that only the positives and the best shine through in the dance routine. To make sure a dance is fully clean and performance ready, there are a few steps you will want to take as you reach this point.

Layton High Drill Team - Lai Rupe's Choreography


Step 1: BreakDown the Counts

Everybody's minds learn things differently. However, for most dancers, they learn by counting out the music and placing a move to each count. When cleaning a dance routine, it is vital to ensure that each dancer in performing the dance moves on the same counts. If just one dancers is off a half a count, the routine will not looked uniform.

After learning a dance routine, you will want to back track and break down each movement step by step, count by count, until each dancer is able to complete each movement on the correct counts.

What Tips Do YOU Use To Clean Dance Routines?

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Step 2: Practice Tricks

After movements are seeming to flow together, in unity, with the correct counts, it is now time to enhance your spotlight moves. This involve practicing kicks, leaps, jumps and turns, until you make sure all dancers are able to complete these tricks correctly and to their fullest potential.

Great ways to practice tricks such as these include stretching routines and using ankle weights while doing moves to practice, then taking these weights off. This should make the movements easier after repetition and will help your team look more unified as they are all able to perfect their tricks.


Step 3: Eliminate Wobbles

As you are practicing these dance tricks, it is important to note the areas in the routine that seem rough or wobbly. These areas should of course be practice with extra time and emphasis to help eliminate any flaws in your routines. If these areas seem just impossible for your team to perfect, it is time to eliminate these wobbles from the dance routine and adjust the choreography to better suit your dancers.

If just a few dancers are unable to perform correctly in certain areas, perhaps you can create groups parts to have those dancers do a different move, while the ones who can do a specific trick are still able to do it. This will also create diversity in the routine and allow you to keep challenging sections and still have a clean dance.


Step 4: Have Dance Tryouts

One of the best ways to make sure your dance routines look clean is to host tryouts for each routine. Each dancer can be on that specific team and company, but if they are unable to learn a specific routine to your qualifications, then they will need to work harder to be included in the performances. This may not always seem like a polite way to run your studio or company, but it is the best way to help your dancers work hard for what they want and improve as dancers and teams.

In the big picture, having dance routine tryouts is one of the best ways to ensure your routines are clean and encourage your dancers to be even better and reach their full dancing potential.

"Seven Nation Army" Jazz Routine by Lai Rupe

Step 5: Are You Ready to Perform?

Now that you have broken the dance routine down step-by-step and dance by dance, practiced your tricks, eliminated any wobbly areas and selected the best dancers for your competitions and performances, you should be ready to perform.

However, you must not forget the most important part of having a clean, performance ready dance routine - that is the expression, emotion, and performance. In all of your routines, once everything is set in place, it is then time to add joy and emotion into your dance routines.

Don't let your dancers forget why they are here. . . . because they love to dance.

Professional Choregorapher - Alaina Rupe


Have any dance questions, concerns, or topics to discuss? Don't hesitate to reach out to Lai Rupe's Choreography. I am here to spread the beauty of dance.

Also, feel free to check out the article, "Tips to Host a Junior Dance Clinic as a Dance Fundraising Event," for dance and fundraising advice.

Thanks for your LOVE and Support!

~Alaina (Lai) Rupe


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