Tag Archives: choreography

Don’t let your music hold back your competition score

dancer-with-music-flowers.jpgIt’s that time of year…. when hours upon hours of dance rehearsal are getting ready to be brought to the big stages of competitions. Dance parents have poured hundreds upon hundreds of dollars into lessons, dance teachers have poured their heart and soul into creative choreography, costumes have been chosen and tried on, competition fees have been paid, and hotel rooms booked.

Dance teachers are doing their best to insure every aspect of the dance is as clean as a whistle. Entrances and exits are tight. Costumes, hair, and makeup is perfect and ready to go.

There’s just one thing left, that some choreographers forget to clean, and that is their music. There are several things you want to check, to make sure your music is as clean and perfect as it can be for competition.

Transitions: Make sure that every transition is precise and smooth. Hiccups, jumps, pops, or other glitches take the audience and judges out of the moment, distracting them from the beauty of the dance. In addition, bad edits can make it more difficult for the dancers to stay on tempo. Precise transitions, on the beat, are made far easier when you align the music to a tempo grid. Click here for more information on Finding the Tempo.

Lyrics: CHECK YOUR LYRICS. Judges will MAKE DEDUCTIONS for inappropriate language used in your music. There is no need for these deductions! Why risk the thousands of dollars that have been invested in your dance with an unnecessarily lowered score? You wouldn’t put your dancers on stage with tattered costumes, so why would you put them on stage with lyrics that have the potential to offend a judge?

Volume: Make sure you have not accidentally lowered the volume of your music in the editing process. Older songs can often have the volume raised without distortion in a process called mastering.

Clarity: Make sure you are not using a song imported from YouTube (more explanation on why). The quality often suffers and that loss of clarity will be amplified in a theater or convention hall.

If any of your songs needs cleaning, Squirrel Trench Audio is at your service. We have cleaned songs for lyrics, transitions, volume and clarity many times, and have literally helped dance studios increase their scores because of it. Use this request form to get your music cleaned! Squirrel Trench Audio also has clean versions of many songs ready to choreograph. For instance, here are clean versions of:

DON’T LET YOUR MUSIC HOLD YOU BACK FROM THE BEST SCORE YOUR DANCERS CAN ACHIEVE. 

How to score better at dance competitions

Cathy Roe dance awards 2010_1Have you ever wondered what it takes to do better at a dance competition? Well wonder no more because Cathy Roe, the founder of Cathy Roe Ultimate Dance competitions has spelled it out for you. Here is the link to her recent Facebook post on this topic, How to Stand Out at Competition. Here are the most important things as Cathy has listed them:

  1. Technique
  2. Rehearsal
  3. Stage Presence
  4. Originality (including unique music!)
  5. Dance within your abilities
  6. Be classy and age appropriate
  7. Show Good Will
  8. Innovative choreography (including using music that connects with you!)

Out of the eight most important things to score well and stand out at a dance competition, TWO of the items include the musical aspect. Reprinted here is the full text of Ms. Roe’s comments on these two aspects, musical aspects emphasized in bold:

4. Our motto “Dare to Be Different” means BE UNIQUE, BE ORIGINAL! I used to tell my students that if we heard a song at a competition, that was a guarantee that we would NEVER dance to that song. There is no dearth of exquisite, exciting, original, emotional, clever, mesmerizing music. If you haven’t checked out Spotify, it’s fantastic for finding music! And as for dance themes…. we see a lot of “love gone wrong” themes, especially from our soloist. The soloist that stands out has a unique and interesting message or song that makes the judges sit up and pay attention because they haven’t seen/heard it before.

8. Bring innovate choreography. How? Be yourself. Think about your life, what you love, your experiences. Listen to music until you find that song that hits you right between the eyes and you say YES! I GET THAT! I FEEL LIKE THAT! Tell a story that matters to you. Forget about imitating anyone and especially because you think what they do what “wins”. Be in it to love it; to be an artist; to be a leader. Be an original thinker, a path finder! My judges are people (that it took me years to find) that will appreciate you for it. But just remember, with all the innovation in the world, we can’t see your vision without technical dancers that can execute it. So I must go back to #1 because it is the technique of your dancers that will display your vision like fine paint on and expensive canvas.

Squirrel Trench Audio is in the business of delivering UNIQUE, original music and remixes to competitive dancers. There are two different ways we can help you in this regard. If you have a music idea, or songs you’d like remixed together, you can use this Request Form to get a price quote from us. In addition, we have a library of unique music remixes for you to choose from on Legitmix. Just take a listen, and if you find one that connects with you, you can purchase it immediately, no waiting! Here’s our catalog of unique remixes:

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Katy Perry, Queen of the Super Bowl

katy perry chessmenWhile 2015’s Super Bowl was one of the finest from a sports perspective, Katy Perry’s halftime entertainment may have stolen the show. Inspired by this amazing spectacle, this Queen of the Super Bowl mix features the first two numbers from this performance, Roar and Dark Horse. The length is 2:41 for a jazz or hip hop dance routine.

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Uptown Funk (Clean version) – album now available

uptown funk jazz handsDue to the runaway popularity of our clean version of Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk, we’ve created an album containing every length (six) of this song, that we’ve created to date. Our clean version of Uptown Funk is super-smooth – no awkward hiccups to interrupt the song’s funktastic groove! Most of our clean versions also include the exciting intro as performed on Saturday Night Live – an intro which is not heard on the iTunes release of the song.

This album contains six different lengths of the song, and is a terrific bargain at $11.99, a savings of 78% compared to buying each version of the song individually!

The six versions of the songs are: 4:28 (full length), 2:58, 2:45, 2:32, 2:15, and 1:59. One of the lengths is sure to be perfect for your jazz, tap, or hip hop competition or recital dance routine.

Grab your complete Bruno Mars Uptown Funk Clean Version album now! Or just purchase the length you need for your dance routine!

If you know what length you need, click these links below to get it. Each edited version is $9.99; or the full-length version is $4.99:
4:28 (full length)2:582:452:322:151:59

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Hot Hot Hot New Dance Music – Uptown Funk!

markronsonbrunomarsvideograb600Bruno Mars is the lead singer on Mark Ronson’s new, ultra-funky song, Uptown Funk. The groove is MASSIVE, and will get you up and dancing with its infectious beat. The only problem with this song, from a dance teacher’s point of view, is that it’s long (4:30), and there are lyrics inappropriate for dance students throughout. (As example, the background singers sing “hot damn” through the verses.) There are some other inappropriate lyrics sprinkled throughout as well.

Good news for dance teachers, Squirrel Trench Audio has been hard at work, editing the song into FOUR different lengths to get you exactly the right length for your students! The four timings are 2:45, 2:32, 2:16, and 1:59. And in all four versions, the lyrics have been CLEANED, so that there is no objectionable content in it.

This song is SO hot, it should come with a warning label:
Warning: Uptown Funk is so hot that multiple playbacks on your stereo system could cause dancers to lose control and overheat.

What are you waiting for? Click on one of the players below to get your clean copy of Uptown Funk to use in your next dance routine!

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New Music Monday: Shut Up and Dance by Walk The Moon

Walk The MoonBe the first to use this new and peppy song, with a bit of a rock edge, guaranteed to be the soundtrack for a delightful competition or recital dance routine. Shut Up and Dance is a brand new song from Cincinnati, Ohio-based band Walk The Moon. Give it a spin, and take it home in your Legitmix shopping cart. Three lengths are available so that you can choose the right length to create choreography for your group, duo, or solo; no editing or cutting required.

Shut Up and Dance – Walk The Moon – 2:34 version:

Shut Up and Dance – Walk The Moon – 2:49 version:

Shut Up and Dance – Walk The Moon – 2:00 version:
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Song selections courtesy of Your Daily Dance

Your Daily DanceYour Daily Dance is a web site devoted to all things dance, and features dance tips, techniques, and resources, delivered nearly daily. (Phew! That’s a lot of work!) Your Daily Dance is the creation of Angie, a dance mom who now has a daughter in dance, and is a dancer herself.

One of the neat features of Your Daily Dance is that Angie has assembled a panel of experienced dance teachers, and when readers submit their questions, these experts offer their advice and insight. Samples of this type of Q & A can be found here in Getting More Height for Your Leaps and here in Mastering More Than a Double Turn.

Your Daily Dance also offers a very wide listing of song selections for all types of dance. You can subscribe to Your Daily Dance’s newsletter to keep the fresh music ideas flowing to your inbox.

Because Angie has her pulse on what’s hot in the dance music world, and keeps lists of songs that are off the beaten path, I asked her to send a selection of songs my way. I have edited these songs to typical dance routine lengths that are used for competitions, recitals, and talent shows, and made them available in Squirrel Trench’s Legitmix catalog, both individually and as an album. This fun collection of songs covers a variety of dance styles, including jazz, tap, lyrical, contemporary, and hip hop. While many edited songs in the Squirrel Trench Legitmix catalog are $9.99, most of the songs in this collection are being offered at the special price of only $4.99. And if you can use most or all of the songs in this special Your Daily Dance album for November of 2014, you can get buy all 8 of them (plus two variations) for only $24.95. That is a savings of more than 50% compared to buying them individually. There’s likely no better bargain in top-notch songs that are ready to be choreographed.

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For those new to Legitmix: The way it works is that when you want to purchase an edited or remixed song, Legitmix checks to see if you already own the original song(s) in your iTunes purchased list. If you already own it, you only pay for the edited or remixed song in your shopping cart. If you don’t already own the original song in iTunes, you have the opportunity to buy that too, at the normal iTunes cost (usually between $0.69 and $1.29). For more on how it works, you can watch this video, or go to the Legitmix site.

Take a listen and take them home if they are what you’ve been looking for! Feel free to leave any feedback in the comments below as well.

Hard rock music for advanced competitive dancers

0401kxmOne of the challenges facing choreographers is age appropriateness. What works for 9-12 years olds is not going to be ideal for 15-17 year olds. When you have advanced teen dancers and are looking to give them something modern and fresh with a rock and roll edge, check out the latest offering from Squirrel Trench Audio: an edited version of Do It Now from the new self-titled album by KXM. Preview the track below, and if this is your song, take it home via the Legitmix shopping cart:

Enter Sandman by Metallica is now also available, edited for a 2:45 routine length:

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Five songs for your next tap routine

Here are five songs, each with a taptastic groove. Each of these songs is already edited to the right length for competition (two-minute versions for recitals are also available for most of them). Click the play button next to any song below to hear it, and if it’s your song, click it’s name to put it in your Legitmix shopping cart and take it home with you.

  1. Lips Are Movin – Meghan Trainor
  2. Calling All Angels – The Town Criers (a cappella)
  3. Come With Me Now – Kongos
  4. Hit Me – Dirty Loops
  5. Get My Name – Mark Ballas

Get more Taptastic Squirrel Trench edits and remixes at Legitmix

If you need a custom edit or remix, click here for an online form to get started.

Michael Jackson/Dangerous & Janet Jackson/Rhythm Nation remixes

The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, crushed it at the MTV Music Awards. Here is a remix based on that performance, along with some original twists. Edited for a 2:45 length dance routine.

Janet Jackson is one of the top female music performers of all time. Here is an original remix of the classic Rhythm Nation from the album 1814.

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