Training Exercise Ideas?

bparikh

Member
Messages
13
About 80% of our team this year has never done bhangra before, as a result, we're spending the majority of this semester building basics. Looking to hear how other captains train/drill their teams, or if there are any effective exercises. Did some digging through old threads but didn't find anything specific other than to drill the routine - but they don't know a routine yet and I don't feel completely right throwing them in to one without making sure they know the core of what they are doing. Also just looking for ways to switch it up and make it more fun/engaging for my team. Thanks!
 

siddyp

Tough times never last, but tough people do.
Messages
1,271
Don't hinder the future by not having them learn a routine. They need to learn how to learn a routine. So my suggestion:

Teach them a basic/no variation segment as fast as you can. Please ensure that the steps flow into each other so transitions are not abrupt. And as you keep practicing said segment, focus on one thing until it looks great. Such as: When we hit jandhu singha, everyone focus on sitting into it on your planted leg, and bring the knee up on the tap foot. Then focus on making sure the shoulders and body bounce with the legs. Then the next detail etc.

For dancers to get better, they need to know what about the specific step they need to do to make it not only look good, but WHY it looks good. When they know WHY it looks good/bad, they can see it in themselves and others and critique each other.

So by focusing on only one thing per run through, you can identify who is still doing whatever it is wrong, and why on that run through they did it wrong and help them do it right. Then move on to the next detail, and the next. Soon enough, that segment will be looking fundamentally sound, and the dancers will have learned what about these steps make it look good/fundamentally correct. From there, you can throw a variation on your jandhu singha, and because the dancers know what about the basic step makes it look good/fundamentally right, it will carry over into when you do more complicated stuff. And when you do the more complicated stuff you can say, "hey so and so, you're not hitting the tap foot hard enough. pick up that knee." and they'll know what that means/why they don't look good at doing this jandhu singha variation.

Lmk if you got more questions!
 
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siddyp

Tough times never last, but tough people do.
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1,271
I should also add: if the team or certain people cannot accomplish the footwork of a step, they'll never be able to do the step. Footwork is everything. It allows your body to move and flow into and out of steps. Without the footwork, everything above the waist will be effed.

Focus there first with folks that are still struggling.
 

bparikh

Member
Messages
13
We have been doing simple choreo! Our issue right now IS footwork. So when I say exercises other than running through routine, I mean ways to practice footwork and work on that, not a full out competition routine (which is they way I had interpreted previous advice). We currently have them do footwork over and over, whether that be in windows, moving in a line, or facing each other. Usually for the length of one song. My question is more so what other ways (if there are any) can I have them practice to improve footwork. We of course critique and have them fix what they are doing as they go along. I'm just looking for ways to keep it interesting so that I can keep them engaged. In a perfect world, they would all have the intrinsic motivation to just keep practicing footwork over and over in the same way, but they don't, and I've found that if we do different drilling exercises for footwork they are immediately more interested and engaged.
 

siddyp

Tough times never last, but tough people do.
Messages
1,271
I'd say keep learning new routines. keep everything fresh. people like new. that has worked in our experience. always doing new routines kept it exciting
 

sahrawat

Member
Messages
25
I know drilling's not the sexiest part of practice, but try to help them see how it directly affects/improves their dancing. It can't just be drilling, or you'll never get to understanding the "why" behind what looks good, like Sid was talking about. But it also can't just be new/fun routines because people will get into bad habits doing the same choreo repeatedly with poor form. Structuring practice with a good amount of back and forth between the two can be incredibly helpful. It's like teaching a word and then using it in a sentence -- it provides new clarity to the correct usage / how they previously may have been misusing it.

Let's say you spent time drilling the basics of tapdown/step footwork; then teach a segment that has some basic moves and uses some patake/variations. Drill the choreo. Then take the pataka sequence out and when you provide critiques, provide them in the context of what they already know. Repeat the drill for a few counts, add the arms from the choreo, drill the section of choreo, then plug it back in to the rest of the segment. Help them specifically see how what you drilled yesterday fits into the puzzle that is today's choreo. I would section it out this way as much as you can in the beginning, rather than running through a list of all things wrong, because there will probably be too many in the beginning for new dancers to retain and apply.
 

alisa.quemado

New Member
Messages
2
If you’re trying to improve your dancers’ fundamentals, it’s best to drill in such a way that they’re pushing themselves to maintain proper form even when they’re tired. so that when they’re on stage and they feel gassed, it's in their muscle memory.

One exercise I found to be particularly useful for my team (Spartan) is similar to circuit training. Gotta shoutout FCB for introducing it to me. Essentially you pick a step, run it for 1 minute, break for 1 minute, and repeat. Something like 5-7 repetitions usually does the trick. Then rest for 5 minutes, pick another step and do the same thing. you can do this for any number of basic steps.

It’s nice for training purposes because you can make this harder/easier by increasing/decreasing the number of repetitions, the length of your break periods, and/or the length of each circuit. So at the beginning of your season, you could for example start by doing x move for 45 seconds at 5 repetitions then work up to doing the same move for 1 min at 7 repetitions over the course of x weeks. I’d recommend trying it out on your own first, and seeing what intervals/repetitions/circuits work for you before running it with your team.

The point of this is to improve fundamentals, so you have to make sure you’re able to give your dancers manageable critiques that they can actually work on at each practice. it helps to take videos of the last repetition of each move you’re drilling so that you can see what people are doing when they're most tired, and provide those kinds of critiques after practice if you can’t in real time. videos also allow your dancers to self-critique and see exactly what they’re doing differently from the captains/everyone else, and as a captain, you can see who stands out and what your team as a whole needs to focus on when they’re tired during a set. with this exercise especially, you have to make sure your dancers are consciously making the effort to maintain good form above all else otherwise they’ll just be reinforcing bad habits/bad form. Its not an exercise you can just run through mindlessly and expect improvement.

I know its a tough time for dance teams right now, especially collegiate teams trying to train dancers remotely. would be more than happy to talk more about this kinda stuff with you so if ya got questions about this or anything else, feel free to reach out!
 

Jahordon

Active Member
Messages
37
One exercise I found to be particularly useful for my team (Spartan) is similar to circuit training. Gotta shoutout FCB for introducing it to me. Essentially you pick a step, run it for 1 minute, break for 1 minute, and repeat. Something like 5-7 repetitions usually does the trick. Then rest for 5 minutes, pick another step and do the same thing. you can do this for any number of basic steps.
This is something Umer told me to do last year. I put Tera Yaar Bolda on for a 1:15 loop, and I do a basic move for a minute, then I rest 15 and go onto the next basic move. I end up doing like 30-40 moves and it takes about an hour. Definitely a good workout, and I'm often more tired by the end of it than doing a set. It certainly helped my fundamentals a lot.

I was doing it every day last summer... I need to start again.
 
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