More Movement Meanderings…

| April 2, 2009 | 0 Comments

Welcome to the end of the winterguard season!  Is it just me, or do we as pageantry people march to our own drum, so to speak, [I could not resist] disregarding the seasons as described on the calendar, and rather chart our years as either: marching band season; guard season; drum corps season; parade season [don’t laugh –we actually HAVE a parade season in NY], and for some of us the “off ‘season, [yes, that’s funny, I know.]

Anyway, I digress.  Shocking, I’m sure.

As we wind down with the season, and probably have no desire to look at another tendu, there remains the conundrum of also not wanting our students to completely lose touch with the technique we so carefully beat into them encouraged them to absorb in the past several months. What’s a dance teacher [I know not everyone is a dance teacher…humor me here, pleaseandthankyou] to do? There are some interesting ways to sneak movement into your students’ lives until their bright and smiling faces are at the barre again.

Make them Accountable

Personally, I love this – any work I can pawn off delegate to the students is a wonderful thing.  I give them some basic ideas on incorporating movement into their daily lives – this includes doing plies while brushing teeth, never lifting a foot off the ground unless it is pointed, and my favorite – walk around for at least five minutes a day in full releve.  I demonstrate for them how I do not open the refrigerator door without a back degage added. [Hey, if Facebook can have flair, why can’t I?]  and opening the oven door is a perfect excuse to work my lunge technique.  Of course, these things amuse my four year old to no end, but it keeps my hips engaged, my toe point relatively well acquainted with proper technique, and hey, it’s fun!

My students also know I have expectations for them to keep up with their strength program and stretching during our off season.  I set them off into the world of flip-flops and late nights [oh, who am I kidding, my girls are ALWAYS in the land of flip-flops & late nights… they’re teenagers!]  I review the push-ups progression, the split stretch and the variety of core exercises they should be continuing.  Yes, I can hear you asking, “Does this work” Of course not! Oh, I kid. It works for some, not for all, but I feel it’s worth the effort.  We also use our teams Facebook page to regularly remind our chickadees to keep working on it.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

We do have the benefit of a required summer dance class, but they also know that once they make the Varsity team, I will NOT be going easy on them when they return to class in the fall.  Once they realize we will jump right back into full routine, with my expectation that they be ready [sometimes this takes a year to sink into their heads] and if they’re not, there will be pain muscle soreness.

Keep the Team Together

They’re attached at the hip from September to April, so why not continue?  Pair up the students, [I work in a smaller town, so this may be simpler for us to do] and have them keep a journal of what they are doing.  If they have someone else kicking them in the shins encouraging them to ‘keep on, keepin on’ [the 80’s called, they want their vernacular back, heh heh] they are all the more likely to make it happen.


Before I had children of my own, I was one of those moms-to-be… you know the ones: “I will not bribe my children, they will not have soda, EVER, Television will be limited to educational programming only, and there will never be cavities, tantrums or drama”….


So, bribes are WONDERFUL things.  My chickadees, both those who call me ‘Mama’ and those who call me Attila ‘Coach,’ respond beautifully to bribery.  Not all the time, of course, but never underestimate the power of a bag of M & M’s [who mentioned no cavities in that last paragraph?], a page of glittery stickers, or the chance to choose the music for an exercise, instead of boring, boring, boring classical .  Set up a challenge for those who can maintain their stretching, ballet and strength programs for the summer.  Check in with them occasionally.  Remind them that you are watching.  It may make your return to the gym floor, field or dance studio that much more comfortable.

And, hey – Coach?  You’re not exempt from this…. Drop and give me 20, then hit your split stretch. I’ve got M &M’s…..



Category: Movement

About the Author (Author Profile)

Cheryl Myers (aka “The (self-proclaimed) Movement Chick”) is a movement instructor, adjudicator and would-be rockette, living in the Fingerlakes area of New York State. Primary affiliations include the New York Federation of Contest Judges, and the Atlantic Indoor Association. She has most recently worked with Trumansburg High School, and is continually blessed by the opportunity to consult and adjudicate for circuits around the country. In addition to her pageantry career, Ms. Myers works in the accounting and insurance fields, and yes, is great fun at parties, thankyouverymuch. Her primary job, and that which she is most proud of, is raising her two beautiful children, a future dancer and drummer.

Leave a Reply