How your Dancers can Score 10 out of 10 on Placement and Control

March 04, 2021

What does it take to get a perfect score for placement and control?
Most judges are looking for execution of skills, hitting movement fully and watching your dancer’s body move with control and your team move as one.
Most of the time, dancers struggle to score well on placement and control because they lack strength in their
 – Core
– Upper arms and back
– Ankles.
When you implement exercises to  really focus on muscular strength of your dancers as well as technique, you’ll watch their movements transform to being sharp, intentional and in control.
➡️Do each exercise before class as a dynamic warm up
➡️Or do in the middle of class to challenge your dancer’s strength and endurance.
Why is upper arm strength for dancers important?
Have you ever seen a door on a broken hinge? Every time you want to open and shut it, you have to lift it or lower it into position first. That takes time and wastes energy.
When your dancers lack arm strength, especially the shoulders and upper back, their arms aren’t securely placed in their “hinge” and they  can’t move from point A to point B quickly, which takes time and wastes energy.
Have your dancers improve their upper arm, back and shoulder strength with a wide row. This will also help with posture and turn consistency. 
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• In a high plank position, lift one arm out wide to the side, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
• Place your hand back to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side.

Repeat 10-12 reps each side.

Why is ankle strength important for dancers?

Just like we want your dancer’s upper body to move quickly and sharply, we want their skills to explode off the floor in one piece, land quickly and then move into the next movement all on a dime.

Your dancer’s ankles are a key player in their stability. The more stable your dancers are, the more control they’ll have.

Much like a game of Jenga, keeping the bottom stacked and secure is the best way to keep the tower from crumbling.

This applies to your dancers.

Taking the time to work on ankle strength is going to give them more consistency in their turns and skills, and keep their ankles safe from the impact of their dancing.

My favorite ankle strengthening exercise and one you can do daily is a leg swing.

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• Before you begin, find stability on one leg. Spread out your toes and grip the floor as if you’re a monkey getting ready to climb a tree.
• Place your hands on your hips.
• Lift the other leg off the floor just a few inches and straighten the knee.
• Swing the leg side to side, and then front to back.
• 10 times in each direction
• Switch legs and repeat three times .

Modification:
[+] Do in Relevé
[-] Hold on to wall or barre

Why is a stronger core for your dancers important?

Your dancer’s need to strengthen their core because this is your dancer’s home base, their center of gravity, the one thing that needs to be solid if you’re going to have any luck moving the arms and legs with control.
If the trunk (shoulders to hips) isn’t rock solid,  nothing else that stems from there will be stable.
Here is my number one favorite exercise to increase your dancer’s core strength. The dead bug.
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• Begin laying on your back with hands gently pressing rib cage down and knees tucked in toward chest.
• Leaving rib cage down and low back glued to the floor, extend one leg out about 3 inches from the floor
• Extend the opposite arm above your head toward the back wall
• With the other hand, press against the thigh of the bent leg.
• Hold for a breath.
• Switch legs and hands.

Repetitions:

Repeat 8 times on each leg.

If you’re interested in raising your scores, be sure you read this blog post about solving the bent knee problem  to improve your technique scores.