Tag Archives: competition

Clean your dance, clean your music

Competition season for dancers is here in earnest. This past weekend featured two studios utilizing Squirrel Trench music for their routines at the same competition (27 routines!). We’re thrilled to report a slew of 1st Places, Platinum, High Golds and Overalls were garned by these dedicated and hardworking dancers and choreographers.

Now that we’re in the competition phase of the year, don’t forget to clean your music at the same time you’re cleaning your routines and costumes. If there is a hiccup, jump, skip, mis-matched beat in your music, or section of music that is too soft, or not punchy enough, too fast or too slow, it’s not too late to get it fixed in time for the next regionals competition.

Already, Squirrel Trench Audio has helped dance teachers and studio owners get higher scores for their routines in a number of ways. For one tap number, the dancers were rushing too fast for the music. Solution? Speed up the music. For another studio, the routine was receiving deductions for inappropriate language. Solution? Inappropriate language obscured through clever remixing by Squirrel Trench. For another studio, the music they were using was too soft compared to all the other music being used. Solution? Brought up to current loudness levels by Squirrel Trench through a process known as mastering.

We know that many dance teachers and studios cut their own music. One of the potential pitfalls to self-cut music is that in the course of rehearsing the number five hundred times, any mistakes or hiccups eventually sound normal, just because you become used to hearing it that way. Of course, the judges will be hearing it for the first time, and if there is a hiccup, skip, jump or any other strangeness in the audio, it detracts from the polish you’ve worked so hard to achieve with your students.

So find a friend who can listen to your competition music with fresh ears. If they hear something that doesn’t sound right, send it my way to get it fixed in time for your next Regionals, so that you’ve got it the best it can be in time for Nationals. If you have something that needs fixing, email me at: morriss@squirreltrenchaudio.com

Related articles: Time to Fix Things UpPump Up The VolumeFix Your Music in Time for Nationals

Congratulations to Rhythm Dance Company’s Neon

RhythmDanceCoCongratulations go to Rhythm Dance Company’s senior team tonight; they performed three routines with Squirrel Trench edited or remixed music at Hall of Fame’s Worcester Regional competition held at the DCU Center. Their routine Neon, using a custom Squirrel Trench remix that includes numerous sound effects, was a big winner for the evening, garnering a special Precision Award, scoring a 1st Place Platinum in the category, and winning 4th overall in Senior Large Groups.

Tonight’s performances were:

  • Neon — RDC (Senior Jazz Large Group) — Precision Award, 1st Place Platinum, 4th Overall in Senior Large Groups
  • Werk It — RDC (Senior Hip Hop Large Group) — High Gold
  • Beautiful, Dirty, Rich — RDC (Senior Jazz Trio)

While it is our policy not to share music that is currently being using in competition, in the meantime, you can enjoy the custom remix of Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation that Rhythm Dance Company used last year:
https://soundcloud.com/squirreltrench/rhythm-nation-squirrel-trench

Tomorrow’s and Sunday’s performances are scheduled to be live streamed on this web page: http://www.halloffamedance.com/livestream.aspx

The full schedule for the weekend can be found here: http://www.halloffamedance.com/regionals/schedule.aspx?id=442

And a full listing of routines at this weekend’s competition that will be performing with Squirrel Trench audio are listed here.

Break a leg to all of RDC’s and NEDC’s dancers performing tomorrow and Sunday!

Squirrel Trench at Hall of Fame Worcester Regionals

Hall of Fame Dance logoSince both Rhythm Dance Company and New England Dance Centers are competing at Hall of Fame‘s Worcester regionals at the DCU Center this coming weekend (Feb 28-Mar 2, 2014), that means that 27 of the routines will be using Squirrel Trench edited and remixed music.

The performances are scheduled to be live streamed via this link: http://www.halloffamedance.com/livestream.aspx

The full schedule for the weekend can be found here, and routines that will be performing with Squirrel Trench audio are listed below: http://www.halloffamedance.com/regionals/schedule.aspx?id=442

(All times listed as Eastern)
Friday, February 28
4:41p Stage1 Beautiful, Dirty, Rich — Rhythm Dance Company (Senior Jazz Trio) — (Edit)
7:22p Stage1 Werk It — Rhythm Dance Company (Senior Hip Hop Large Group) — (Full Remix)
7:49p Stage1 Neon — Rhythm Dance Company (Senior Jazz Large Group) — (Edit)

Saturday, March 1
10:45a Stage1 Wicked Lil Girrls — New England Dance Centers (Junior Tap Line) — (Edit)
11:39a Stage2 Toy Soldier— Rhythm Dance Company (Junior Jazz Duo) — (Edit)
2:12p Stage2 Americano/Dance Again — New England Dance Centers (Teen Open Solo) — (Edit)
4:47p Stage1 Coronet Man — Rhythm Dance Company (Senior Jazz Solo) — (Mastering for consistency of volume and modernization)
6:42p Stage1 The Dynamo of Volition — New England Dance Centers (Senior Tap Solo) — (Edit)
6:48p Stage1 Human Nature — New England Dance Centers (Senior Tap Solo) — (Edit)
7:18p Stage2 Let The Good Times Roll — New England Dance Centers (Teen Jazz Solo) — (Edit)
7:39p Stage2 Yes Sir, That’s My Baby — New England Dance Centers (Teen Jazz Solo) — (Edit)
7:42p Stage2 Lock My Heart — New England Dance Centers (Teen Jazz Solo) — (Edit)
7:48p Stage2 Vogue — New England Dance Centers (Teen Jazz Solo) — (Remix)
7:51p Stage2 Feet Don’t Fail Shaun Now — New England Dance Centers (Teen Jazz Solo) — (Edit, Mastered, custom track courtesy of the original artists Rhythmic Circus minus taps)
10:28p Stage1 Starlets (Glamour Action) — New England Dance Centers (Teen Jazz Small Group) — (Remix)

Sunday, March 2
7:58a Stage1 Fancy Footwork — New England Dance Centers (Junior Tap Large Group) — (Remix)
9:00a Stage2 (She’s) Hot Stuff — New England Dance Centers (Junior Jazz Solo) — (Remix)
9:12a Stage1 Toy Story — Rhythm Dance Company (Junior Hip Hop Line) — (Remix)
9:38a Stage2 I’ve Got Love — New England Dance Centers (Junior Jazz Solo) — (no edit; as-is)
10:02a Stage2 Sparkling Diamonds — New England Dance Centers (Junior Tap Solo) — (Edit)
11:52a Stage1 Gimme Some Rhythm, Daddy — New England Dance Centers (Teen Jazz Duo) — (Remix)
12:07p Stage1 What Is Jazz? — New England Dance Centers (Teen Tap Trio) — (Remix)
4:31p Stage1 The Audition (Broadway Here I Come) — New England Dance Centers (Teen Musical Theater Line) — (Remix with voiceovers)
5:07p Stage1 Let’s Dance Hezekiah — New England Dance Centers (Teen Tap Line) — (Remix)
6:57p Stage1 Let The Groove Get In — New England Dance Centers (Teen Tap Large Group) — (Edit)
7:01p Stage1 We Came To Smash — New England Dance Centers (Teen Jazz Large Group) — (Edit)
8:58p Stage1 To Be Beautiful — New England Dance Centers (Teen Tap Small Group) — (Remix)
9:32p Stage1 Dirrty — Rhythm Dance Company (Teen Hip Hop Small Group) — (Edit and removal of inappropriate language)

Break a leg to all the dancers performing!

Newtown High School Dance team – CT State Champions!

Newtown_HS_logo_CTHuge congratulations to Cheryl Stenz and the Newtown High School dance team! After winning their conference title a few weeks ago, yesterday they won the Connecticut State Championship in the lyrical category with their Turn To Stone routine. The music for this routine was edited by Squirrel Trench Audio. Here is their winning routine:

Another happy soloist in Alaska

Just finished remixing a fun mashup of several songs, including Britney Spears’ Work Work, into a unique solo routine for a young dancer in Bethel, Alaska. This unique remix features custom drum and bass additions for an exciting, never-before-heard audio foundation for choreography. Here’s what her mom had to say after listening to the finished piece:

“THANK YOU MORRISS!!!
I love it, and my daughter keeps saying, ‘That is sooo cool!’
It is perfect!”

– Delilah Hodge, dance parent
after hearing her finished custom remix for her daughter’s solo
I’d say mission accomplished!

True dedication: The dancers of Bethel, Alaska

Bethel Alaska aerial viewIn the online world, vast distances can be spanned with a single email. Thanks to the internet, working from Western Massachusetts, I have edited and remixed songs for dancers, not only all over the United States, but also in Australia and Canada.

So it wasn’t too big of a surprise when I got a music remix request from a repeat client who lives in Bethel, Alaska last week. When Delilah Hodge contacted me last year, I noted that she was in Alaska, but didn’t really think much further about it. But when she emailed me for a couple of new songs to be edited and remixed, I was a little bit more curious since my brother and his wife live in Fairbanks, Alaska. Not being completely familiar with the state, I searched on Google Maps to find out how far of a drive it is from Bethel to Fairbanks. You would think that that is a reasonable request to ask of Google Maps, but there is only one hitch…. you can’t! There are no roads from Bethel to Fairbanks, nor from Bethel to anywhere else. The only way in or out of the town is via river or air.

So this got me curious…. what is life in Bethel like? And even more interestingly, what is DANCE in Bethel like? I mean, how many dance students can there be in a town of 6,000 people, where the people are probably outnumbered by moose, and surrounded by miles upon miles of vast frozen tundra? I had to find out, so I asked Delilah to tell me a little bit about her dancers! If there is a dance studio in Bethel, I would like to know what their name is and more about it!

Here is what Delilah told me about dance in Bethel:

“The name of our dance team is Delta Illusion Dance Company. To make a very long story short, our town is extremely transient and if you’re not born here you came up to work. For three years we had a lady teaching dance in our town. She worked full-time at the Dental Clinic, and taught dance classes in the evenings and on weekends. Looking back, I realize how much she truly loved dance because she must have been dead tired after working all day, yet she never got frustrated or upset when children didn’t listen or parents (who knew nothing about dance at that point) complained about the price of tap shoes and leotards.
 
In 2008, the dance teacher asked the parents if they would be interested in forming a competition team. Five parents agreed, although we had no idea what she was talking about. We we lured in by the costumes, the fact that our girls would keep active (which is important in a small town), and the added bonus that we would all get to travel to San Diego. When we got to StarPower in San Diego, we were amazed by the level of dance and intensity the other teams brought. Not to take away from our teacher, but we were recreational dancers with girls who still needed reminders about pointing toes and looking up. That trip opened our girls’ eyes and made them more serious about dance. It made them realize there was more to dance than just going to a class every evening. They were hooked.
 
In 2009 the dance teacher and her husband decided they wanted to move closer to their roots and start a family. We were devastated, but she agreed to do a year of classes/comp routines via Skype. She met us for a comp in Vancouver and that was our last time with her.
 
This part is where the true blessing/kismet/miracle happens. In 2010, four parents were determined to continue dance for our girls but were struggling with figuring out how. One of the parents contacted a studio in Florida she had sent her daughter to for summer camp. The owner of [Studio] in Florida has been an absolute blessing to us! She agreed to have the four girls come down for 2 weeks in the summer and lent us a studio and her two comp team instructors. We have been working with them ever since! Over the years, through pure randomness (or miracles, as I believe they are) We have found other people who help. Two women who live in L.A. help with choreographing and cleaning routines. One of the staff members for our school district took tap from the age of 2 and offered some classes when she was here. She moved in 2012, but this fall we finally got her to come up once a month and instruct. An Optometrist in town has danced since she was little and will help out when she has time. The biggest stroke of luck occurred when we found out that one of our teachers in a tiny village is married to a well-known Russian dancer, who retired after 20 years with the Russian Ballet. We try to fly him to Bethel as often as we can, but as of right now that is one weekend every other month. His wife is talking about transferring to Bethel next year!
 
The four original parents got a business license and pretty much started a dance studio. Although we have no actual studio hence the name Delta ‘Illusion’, our community has been very supportive by letting us practice free of charge in school gyms and cafeterias along with the gym at our local college. We do the the comp team which has traveled to many cities in the lower 48, but we also offer dance classes and a week long bootcamp for the community to give back and spread our love of dance. When teachers are not in town, one of the parents holds practices and cleans routines. You would be surprised at how much we have learned about dance, considering only one parent had any dance experience and that was high school cheer.The team started with just 4 girls but has now expanded to 23 members (including 3 boys).
 
Although this condensed version of the story makes it seem as though everything just fell into place (which in a way it has), there have been many ups-and-downs and obstacles. The one thing I have learned is that if you are truly passionate about something, there is a way to make it happen.”
 
I’ve known for many years how dedicated dancers are to their craft, but Delilah’s story takes it to a whole new level. Please feel free to share your thoughts about the Delta Illusion Dance Company and send them your regards and encouragement!

Feet Don’t Fail Shaun Now

Shaunessey Tap ChampionI am beaming proud of Shaunessey for her best performance to date… which garned her being awarded the Number One tap routine in her age category, as well as the First Place soloist in the 9-11 age category at this weekend’s StarPower regional competition in Springfield MA. I could not be more proud! Choreography by Lesley Weber. Music by Rhythmic Circus; much love to them for sending me the Minus-Taps mix from their amazingly tapalicious FDFMN song!

Ready for some musical inspiration?

DANCE-silhouetteDance teachers, and studio owners, this post is for you.

Right at the peak of Regionals competition season, heading into recitals and possibly Nationals, there is much that needs to be worked on. Some of you are also getting ready for a new season of routines, which means new choreography, which means new music.

When you are ready to start working on the next season, and need musical inspiration, then look no further than a Squirrel Trench Audio custom remix. Every piece of music is worked on individually and uniquely for YOU and your dancer’s needs. There is no cookie-cutter process, and you will not hear your music used by another dance studio. For dancer teachers who love great music, we think the difference between a piece of music which is custom crafted just for you and your dancers is a difference that can be FELT throughout your process of working with your students. You KNOW that this music is YOURS and YOURS ONLY which is something you can feel great about.

We’ve created custom remixes for a number of dance studios throughout the country, including Beatles remixes, Michael Jackson remixes, Janet Jackson remixes, hip hop remixes, movie/Broadway soundtrack medleys, and many others. We’ve also done scary horror-movie themed remixes, and Dancing Through the Ages medleys. We can do recital opening/grand finale numbers such as this fun Wizard of Oz production.

If a Squirrel Trench custom remix is just the ticket to get your choreographic creative juices flowing (especially for your teen, junior and senior groups), then the process is easy. Just email me (morriss@squirreltrenchaudio.com) or give me a call at 413-535-0621 to discuss the ideas you want shaped into the music for your routine. Pricing varies depending on the complexity of the project, but is generally in the range of $89 to $129.

Call or email me when you are ready to get started!

Congratulations, dancers!

Congratulations to four New England Dance Center soloists, a duo, and a trio, using Squirrel Trench Audio remixed songs and choreo by Miss Lesley, for winning 1st overall in your category at Star Systems‘ Worcester Regional yesterday morning… and the duo and trio scored the PLATINUM prize as well.

Brianna Roland wins Starbound Senior Overall

Congratulations to Brianna Roland for earning Elite Gold in both of her solo performances at the Starbound regional competition in Springfield, Mass. yesterday. These fierce performances earned her both First and Second place in the overalls for her age category. Her jazz routine Lady Jackson features an original Squirrel Trench remix of Janet Jackson’s Nasty, and her lyrical routine features a Squirrel Trench edited song by OneRepublic.