About Coach Erin

Erin is a 16 year veteran dance team coach in Minnesota. A 3 time MADT coach of the year (2009, 2010, 2014) and winner of 2 state championships in high kick with the Cannon Falls Bomber Dance Team. In high school Erin danced for Winona and Apple Valley high schools. Erin is a nationally known blogger, writing for the Radio City Rockettes and a Hollywood movie among other projects. Erin also teaches on a freelance contractor basis for many MN high school teams and can be contacted for date/time availability at mnhsdanceteam@gmail.com

Choreography Begins!

Choreography sessions kicked off yesterday with team’s getting their music and finally sitting down to put pen to paper. Ok well, maybe more like to video and Excel files…. But I’m old-fashioned and still bust out my colored pencils and graph paper from time to time. I haven’t been this excited to get started in a few years – I just have a good feeling this is going to be a talent-packed and creative year for teams. We’re into year 2 of a new scoresheet structure and I think we’ll be seeing that maximized and taken in new directions we barely touched on a year ago.


If you didn’t check out MADT board member Allison’s article on MADT’s website about choreography sessions, it’s worth another look. Its always good to re-calibrate and get the cobwebs off our brains before we get in too deep. Some tips from me for the next two weeks:


Keep it legal
Dancers especially should keep in mind that there are rules about choreography sources, safety, skills, and who can be involved. When in doubt, honor the spirit of the rule – which is that you’re not practicing dance, making your own moves, and creating safe skills your team can master. Its not only the coaches who are responsible for the rules. The rulebook is available to all right here on MNHSDanceTeam.com


Take great notes
Using a combination of videos, shorthand, visual drawings, and formation grids can make sure your vision comes to life for those who have to do the teaching come day 1. Don’t assume you’ll “just remember”. Assign responsibility and use technology liberally.


Scoresheet first
Have your scoresheet handy when evaluating your routine’s content. Where will you be playing to win? There are so many ways to approach it based on skills, team temperament, and your biggest competitors. Everyone on the choreo team should be on the same page about how you’re going to look and do your best.


Know thy logistics
One of the biggest challenges at choreo sessions is to figure out just how long you will need to get from A to B. Nothing kills the flow faster than a transition that is too slow or too fast. Work out those kinks by really breaking it down and trying the “worst case scenarios” to spot major logistical problems before the whole team arrives. A routine is never a solo on 12 people – each part needs to be examined for practicality and flow.


Just say no
For every great idea, there were probably 3-4 more you didn’t get off the ground. Choreographers have to throw a lot out there for something to get picked up as a “yes”. Don’t take it personally if you’re shot down on a regular basis. A liberal use of the word “no” will save you from mediocre or unwise choices you’ll have to change later. Keep it positive and fun – but hold yourselves to the highest standard.


Have fun out there choreographers! The dream begins!

Charmed Runnin
The Line Up
Satin Stitches
Dirty Dog Productions
Just For Kix


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