Maximum length for dance competition songs and remixes

Occasionally someone arrives on this site by googling for something like “song length for dance competitions.”

While there is no definitive answer, I can give you some guidance. The most important thing you can do to determine the allowable length of your song is to check the competition rules for each competition you will be entering in for the season. Most competitions follow the same guidelines for maximum allowable length.

Many competitions state that solos can not be longer than 2:45 in length, while group numbers can be 3:00. Some competitions allow for even longer songs with larger groups. For example, Star Systems allows:

• 2:45 for a solo
• 3:00 for a duo or trio
• 3:30 for a small group (4-9 dancers)
• 4:00 for a large group (10-18 dancers)
• 4:30 for productions and lines (19 or more dancers)

However, not all competitions follow these guidelines. For some competitions, 3:00 may be the maximum, no matter what size the group, so be sure to check EACH of the competition rules that your studio is entering for the season.

For recitals, many times the maximum length is 2:00.

Bear in mind that these are maximums. It’s much better to make your routine shorter and tighter than to drag it on and on with no real purpose. Also, more important than the total length is the story arch that the dance and music follow.

Here are the things I keep in mind when trying to determine the right length for a music edit or remix:

For tap or acro, endurance can be a factor, especially for younger students. For younger tappers, 2:00-2:10 can be a good length. More experienced tappers who have built up endurance can be in the 2:20-2:45 range. And in general, younger dancers will want to be in 2:15-2:30 range, and older, more experienced dancers who have developed their style and moves, and want to tell a story with their dance should have music in the 2:45-3:00 range.

I know you are struggling with cutting your music

I know you are out there, and you are frustrated. You are a busy dance teacher, and you’ve got a boatload of choreography you have to create and teach. And in addition, you have to pick out the perfect music for each of your groups and soloists. Now you have the task of cutting down a song that is 4:10 to a competition-ready length of 2:45, or to a recital-ready length of 2:00. You grab your trusty music editing program of choice, and start listening. You stare at a bunch of strange squiggly lines on the screen, trying to figure out what-in-the-heck they mean. How on earth do these squiggles represent MUSIC? They look like a bunch of scribbles that your 3-year-old toddler drew in pre-school! They sure DON’T tell you where the bass guitar plays a riff, or the saxophonist starts wailing on a solo!

Instead of pulling your hair out, trying to figure out what needs to match up to what, just shoot me an email and I’ll solve your music cutting problems for you. And all at a VERY reasonable price! And maybe save you a from a few gray hairs in the process. After all, your students test your patience often enough, you don’t need more aggravation from trying to wrangle your music into shape!

Behind the scenes of a Beatles remix

It’s been a pleasure, a joy, and labor of love creating the Beatles remix called Somehow Someway. I can’t wait to see the choreography for this routine performed at Regionals and National dance competitions in 2012.

I’d thought I’d give folks a sneak peek at what went into the creation of the music for this piece.

More behind-the-scenes peeks of this remix will be posted soon. Let me know if this is useful to you, and I’ll do this for other remixes I’ve made. Questions? Comments?

Another happy gymnast…

In addition to cutting, editing, and remixing music for dance routines, I thoroughly enjoy cutting, editing and remixing music for floor gymnastic routines as well. It’s basically the same process, but in gymnastics the routines are shorter (a maximum of 1:30), and lyrics are not allowed. Here’s what my latest client had to say about a really fun edit I just completed:

“Oh my goodness!  This is great! i can’t wait to have her listen when she gets home from school today.  I will have her bring it to gym and see what the coach thinks about timing.  I’m sure it will be great.  Thanks so very much! That was fast!”

— parent of a gymnastic student in Ohio

Solos, duos, trios, and gymnastic floor routines

It’s been a blast doing some fun music editing and remixing for this dance season’s soloists, duos, trios, as well as for a number of gymnastic floor routines. I’m really excited for all of these songs to be performed by a wide age-range of students, anywhere from ten to eighteen years old. The songs range from jazz to electronic to pop, and artists range from Martin Solveig to Club des Belugas to Dee Dee Bridgewater.

If your son, daughter, or student still needs their music professional edited for dance routine length or gymnastic floor routine length, send me an email, and I’ll try to get it done for you right away!

Video Tutorial: How to Avoid Awkward Fade-outs (Part 1)

In this two-part video, I explain both WHY you should avoid awkward fade-outs whenever possible, and HOW to do it. Here is Part 1, WHY:

If you already know WHY you should avoid fade-outs, here is Part 2, where I show you HOW to do it.

For more detailed information on how to avoid awkward fade-outs when editing music for your dance routines, here’s a web page about it, in written form. Here’s more about the Top 5 song editing mistakes I hear at dance competitions.

I would love your feedback about this video. Was it useful to you? Did you learn something? What audio-editing-for-dance tips would you like to learn about next?

Music for gymnastics floor routines

Just got done mixing my first song for a gymnastics floor routine. While I have years of experience with editing music for dance, there are some unique challenges posed by the requirements of gymnastic floor routines. Music can be no longer than 1:30, and at some levels, 1:10 or 1:00 is required. The other major consideration is that the music must be an instrumental with no voice or vocals on the track.

My client requested a version of my Drive Remix specifically for her gymnastic student’s floor routine, and I was only too happy to deliver a final mix within hours of her order.

Special offer on song editing for dance routines!

Squirrel Trench Audio is currently running a SPECIAL OFFER good only through Friday, September 9, 2011. Submit your song to be edited (and payment) before that date, and I will cut it to routine length for ONLY $29! (That’s a $20 savings!) If you want to take advantage of this offer, email: morriss@squirreltrenchaudio.com.

Ready to step up your dance?

As has been pointed out previously, music is the foundation of dance. You can easily verify this for yourself by realizing what happens when the emcee plays the wrong music at a competition….. the dancer freezes because it’s not the right music.

If you are a high-level dance studio owner or teacher, and you regularly bring your students to regional and/or national competitions, and you want to step up your routines, where should you start? Answer: The music. If you are working with exciting music, music that gets your kids pumped up, they will naturally perform better. If you, as choreographer are excited about the music, you will bring your enthusiasm to the choreography you create. On the flip side, if you are using stale, flat, worn-out music, it’s hard to generate enthusiasm, either in yourself or your students.

What’s the answer? Try an original Squirrel Trench Mix. I’ve created many original mixes based on modern interpretations of classic songs, including train medleys, a Beatles remix, a slumber party theme, a Mary Poppins remix, a Pixie Hollow remix, and more. I also have a slate of original remixes and medleys scheduled to create for a studio in Canada that I am eager to begin work on shortly.

If you have a theme idea and you want the music to provide the foundation to help you create original, exciting choreography to break through the multitude of routines that judges will view, then contact me to find out about our editing and remixing services. I’m excited about the remixes I’ve already done for the upcoming season, and I can’t wait to create yours!

Break a leg in the upcoming 2011-2012 dance season!

When do you prep your music?

If you aren’t already a fan of Squirrel Trench Audio on Facebook, feel free to “like” us. (We’re also on Twitter if you want to follow us there.)

We’ve just added a poll on our Facebook page, and would be thrilled to get your answer. Check out the poll, and submit your answer here: Dance teachers – when do you select and prep your music for the upcoming dance season?