Category Archives: Indepth

Indepth #5

Hello everyone! Sadly I haven’t been able to meet with my mentor much because of competitions and hikes, however just this Wednesday, I was practicing and my ballet teacher was popping in and out, observing and correcting me. Though this is not a ballet dance, it was great to get some advice on my technique. Though it’s getting really busy, I’m trying to get in more times with Ms. Lindsay. When we meet up, we often talk about how to improve the jumps and turns that I’ve been working into the dance. We talk about common corrections that I get in my other dances and where they show up in mine as well. It’s great that Ms. Lindsay can really read where I’m at with my dancing. She can tell when it’s the choreography that I’m having problems with and when it’s just me having an off day. It’s nice that in these practices, Ms. Lindsay is starting to learn my personal style and not just how other people’s styles look on me. I also love that I’m learning a lot more about her past dance life, stuff that I don’t often learn from my dance teachers.

I’m really happy because the first draft of the whole dance is done and all that’s left is the tweeking, adjusting and the cleaning.

That’s all for now! Bye!

Indepth #4

Yay!! I’m so happy. Competition season’s coming up and because of this, we started sharing solos in class. It was a small class, we had extra time and so I got to show my fellow dancers my routine!! I even got it filmed. The floor was really sticky which is why I fell out of all of my turns and tripped at the beginning. The music was also a different cut version and I forgot what I had leading up to the end… Overall I guess it wasn’t my best I’d done it, but I still did it and got some good feedback from everyone.



1. What has been my most difficult mentoring challenge so far?  Why?

My greatest challenge so far is finding time to meet with Ms. Lindsay. Competitions take up quite a few Saturdays and, as my mom is paying for these sessions, I don’t always get a chance to work with Ms. Lindsay on indepth when I see her because I need to work on my jumps, turns, groups, and my competition solo.

2. What is working well? Why?

It’s easy to find time to work on my routine just by myself because when I finish dance everyday, a lot of the studios are empty and available. I also don’t need Ms. Lindsay with me every practice which makes it easier as I’m just working around my own schedule.

3. What could be working better?  How can you make sure this happens?

Something that could be improved is how much I remember between each session. With 6 other dances that I am constantly running as well as homework stretching out the time between each session, I often have troubles retaining all that I have choreographed. I can fix this by filming after every time I choreograph something new, even if it is only the new parts.

Indepth # 3.5

My comments are being stupid and telling me I can’t reply to a comment. So, this post is in reply to Ms. Mulder’s comment.

I haven’t been able to get an updated video. For me, I find it’s easy to figure out what steps I want to do and what order to do them in. It’s surprising how much the music can actually tell a choreographer. I feel that’s where I’m learning the most is to listen to the music and find what accents I can hit, if the steps are slow or fast, and where the underlining back beats are. I find it simple to tell where I need to put a jump and where I can’t have one. The hard part is finding all the little steps that don’t make big impacts and stand out but are still graceful and placed in the short amounts of time they have to be there.

Indepth #3

Hi everyone, so I’m very happy with how far I’ve gotten. My dance is almost done other than the last 4 counts of 8. Then I have to clean it but plenty of time for that. Question time!

What went particularly well during your mentoring sessions?

Something that went well was that when Ms. Lindsay gave me feed back, it wasn’t just general suggestions. It was feedback specific for me. She gave me ideas and suggestions while keeping in mind my style and my dance strengths.


What learning challenges emerged?

All previous choreography that I have done was, at most, a 10 sec choreographed dance or a 30 sec dance made up on the spot, so a learning challenge for me was expanding my style and skill set in order to fill a 3 minute song with different steps.


What factors affected your ability to interact effectively?

A factor that limits our ability to effectively communicate is the time limit to which we must comply to. It is hard to accomplish a lot during this time and therefore makes it difficult to progress a lot with Ms. Lindsay’s help.

There we go! Can’t wait to finish my dance!


Indepth #2

One month in and we are all well on our way (hopefully). I’ve had quite a few practice times with my mentor Ms. Lindsay Mckay. It was great to start talking with her about  choreographing a solo, choreographing in general, and her experiences with choreographing.

Ms. Lindsay has been choreographing since she was about 15. She started off by choreographing her own solos, which she performed in competitions. She felt that this gave her a new appreciation and respect for all her teachers after seeing the amount of work it took. It also caused her passion and love of dance to grow. When she was 19, Ms. Lindsay started dancing professionally. Though she didn’t choreograph her own pieces, she tried to retain a lot of techniques and styles she saw when working with the choreographers and teachers. When she was 22, Ms. Lindsay returned to Encore and started teaching solos/duos/trios and intro groups. Intro groups were a whole new way of choreographing as she had to keep the choreography simple yet entertaining, and she had to “dig deep into [her] creative side.”

As I said in my last post, I am asking all my teachers for some “Tips and Tricks” to choreographing, but as Ms. Kelsey said to me, “Everyone choreographs differently.” Still, my list has grown.  Hopefully I don’t repeat any but hey, if it’s repeated, it’s valuable!

– Use the whole stage

– Have a gimmick that that catches people’s attention

– Use a dancer’s strength but don’t make it obvious (add jumps to a turner’s solo)

– Levels!!

– Have movements match the song’s sound

– Listen to the music a lot

– WHEN STUCK: choreograph a bunch of different things and pick one

–  Map out your route around the stage to help with travelling

This last one I did:

I don’t know how up to date that is. Maybe I’ll do another next post.


So far I have learned a lot about how sometimes you want to act out a story to get the best choreography. Also, you might just need to film an improvisation, look it over and piece the solo together from what you do naturally. Sometimes parts of the song will speak to you and choreography will be easy to come by. Other times, the song is stubborn and un-inspirational and just plain difficult to work with. At this point, improvising is probably the best way to fix it, at least until you figure out something to do.

Look, a wild link has appeared (because I still can’t do hyperlinks properly):

This links to a video of my incomplete, I repeat INCOMPLETE, dance. The chorus has yet to be done as well as some connections so please excuse the random time-filling hops and fiddles.

I’d LOVE some feedback on how it’s looking, and, if a dancer reads this, maybe some ideas on what this chorus could contain.

Well,  later everyone! I hope everyone’s projects are coming along nicely!

Indepth Project – Choreography

Yay! In-depth has started! I honestly can’t wait. So, for my project, I am going to choreograph a dance to the song Change my Life by Ashes Remain. I chose choreography because even though I dance for 14 hours a week, when ever it comes to improvisation, free-styling and making combinations, I can’t put a series of movements together and end up repeating variations of 8 counts of movement. I hope that this project will help to add confidence to my dances that are choreographed as well as assist me in my exams and classes that require that improvisation skill.

A lot of the work that I’ll do on my dance will be done at my studio, with the exception of some practices at my house. I’ve already started to think of some choreo for the dance as well as talk to my teachers. Oh yes, mentors. My mentors will be my dance teachers: Liz Tookey, Meredith Kalaman, and Lindsay Mackay. I hope to also talk to the other teachers at the studio, however I will not be able to talk to them as often as I need to and might not be able to talk to them at all.

On Monday, I asked two of my teachers for there tips and tricks to choreography. This is the list that I have so far:

– Find steps that match the dancer’s style

– Look for hidden sparks of interest in style and steps and work with them

– The storyline doesn’t have to show in the dance

– The storyline doesn’t need to make sense

– Try to establish a storyline

– Don’t always choreograph from beginning to end

– The idea can change as you go

– Don’t be stubborn with the steps

– Feel the music


Yeah, so I’m very excited for in-depth. Who knows? If this project turns out as well as I hope, maybe I can choreograph my solo and compete it in a competition in a year or so. I hope to start hard-core choreographing in February and be at a nit-picking stage by April. That’s all for now. Good luck on everyone’s projects. I can’t wait to see them in May!