Tag Archives: routine

Barbie Girl by Aqua – Squeaky Clean

barbie with lipstickI am honored to be on the Advisory Panel of YPAD; Leslie Scott​’s organization to educate the dance community about the dangers to impressionable young minds when they dance in inappropriate routines. To further that goal, I am pleased to offer the song “Barbie Girl” minus the words “undress me anywhere” and minus other suggestive lyrics that occur in this otherwise fun and bouncy song. And I’m offering it for FREE ($2.28 if you don’t already own both versions used to create this cleaned edit). If your studio is already using this song this season, I will match your existing edit with this squeaky clean version for FREE so that no re-choreo’ing is needed. Don’t let your routine take deductions for inappropriate lyrics. Click the graphic below to take a listen and hear for yourself how great this song can still sound when the suggestive lyrics are removed.

In addition, Squirrel Trench offers three other shorter lengths of this squeaky clean edit at $9.99 each.

Get more Squirrel Trench remixes at Legitmix

Wizard of Oz Production mix

wizA few years ago, I created a custom, 6-minute Wizard of Oz mix for Kimberly Houli’s Dance for Joy studio in New Jersey. This mix includes munchkins, movie dialogue, sound effects, and more. She used it as a grand opening piece for her recital, and you can see a video of it below.

Because it’s been several years since this piece was originally created, Kimberly has agreed to let this soundtrack become available for purchase by other dance studios. Take a listen and see if this is right for your next Wizard of Oz recital or competition production!

Listen to and purchase this remix here on Legitmix:

Get more Squirrel Trench remixes at Legitmix

Radioactive – a cappella

Imagine Dragons performing at the Made in America Festival. (Colin Kerrigan / Philly.com)

Imagine Dragons performing at the Made in America Festival. (Colin Kerrigan / Philly.com)

The song Radioactive by Imagine Dragons has been incredible popular ever since it was released. Scores of other musicians have covered it, including a collaboration between Pentatonix and violinist Lindsey Stirling which is also available in a 2:50 dance routine length. Below are links to an a cappella edit of the song from the original recording. This version is available in three lengths for your dance routine: 2:56, 2:42, and 2:07. This amazing tour de force performance could be used in a jazz, tap, lyrical, contemporary, modern, or even a hip hop routine.

And here is the Pentatonix/Lindsey Stirling cover of this fantastic song:

Get more Squirrel Trench remixes at Legitmix

Find the EXACT best tempo for your routine

tempo slomo screen568x568I’m sure you’ve noticed that there are some songs where your dancers are constantly being held back by the tempo of the song. When this happens it’s almost like there is an invisible force subtly sapping the energy out of the routine. Conversely, there are other songs where the dancers are always rushing to keep up with the beat. Adjusting the groove of the song, by even as little as 1% slower OR faster, can make a huge impact on how well your dancers perform with the music. Use the Tempo SlowMo app to dial in EXACTLY what the tempo should be for every routine you choreograph. Spin the jog wheel WHILE your dancers are performing to find the exact tempo that FEELS just right!

Tempo SlowMo is just one app that allows you to change the tempo of songs you are playing. Another one is BarreNotes.

Don’t forget to “print” a new copy of each song that you are using at the new tempo that you’ve dialed in.

Tips for recording Voice-Overs for dance routines

voice memo app iconMore and more folks are interested in recording voice-overs of various kinds for their dance routines. Since Squirrel Trench Audio works with dance teachers and choreographers all over the world, we usually can’t come to you in order to do the recording. This means you are on your own to record your own dancers’ voices, but it’s not too hard to do that, and send us the resulting audio files.

The good news: if you have an iPhone, it’s easy to record the voice-overs that you want. Just use the (free) Voice Memo app that is built-in. Here are the tips in a nutshell, with further explanation below:

  • Record in a living room or bedroom; never in a dance studio
  • Aim the bottom of the iPhone at your dancer(s), about 1.5 feet away
  • Record three takes of the words you want

Record in a living room or bedroom; never in a dance studio

One of the most important aspects to getting a good recording is the room in which you record, because sound bounces off of walls, floor and ceiling. This is called reverberation, which is a form of echo. Pretty much the worst space to do a recording is inside a dance studio rehearsal room. Ideally, you want to be in a living room or bedroom when recording a voice-over. The more drapes or other fabric there is in the room, the better. Carpeting is also very helpful. Using the Voice Memo app on your iPhone, situate yourself with the iPhone, and the person(s) that you are recording, in the middle of the room, away from all the walls.

The iPhone’s mic is in the bottom of the phone; aim it at your dancer(s), about 1.5 feet away

Hold the iPhone approximately 1 to 2 feet from the person(s) speaking (1.5 feet is probably ideal). Aim the mic (which is in the bottom) at the person talking. It should be close to them, but not TOO close.

Record three takes of the words you want 

Record at LEAST three “takes” of the words that you want to have. That way, I will be able to choose from the best of the resulting versions. Sometimes a word might get cut off, or the speaker trips over a word. If you have them repeat their lines three times, then I can put together the best version of the words.

Here are a few Squirrel Trench Audio custom dance mixes that feature Voice-Overs:

Get more Squirrel Trench remixes at Legitmix

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Let It Snow Brian SetzerNormally, when you come across a short song when searching for music for your routines, you breathe a sigh of relief. You think to yourself, “Thank goodness, I don’t have to cut this one!” However, occasionally the song is TOO short. Into the void steps this extended (2:23), rockin’ fun version of Let It Snow! by the Brian Setzer Orchestra, perfect for a group tap routine. This song is simply begging to be used in a tap routine, and is great for any age dancers.

Get more Squirrel Trench remixes at Legitmix

Honey, I’m Good – clean version

Honey, I’m Good by Andy Grammer has been lighting up the charts over the past couple of months, but it includes some inappropriate language. Squirrel Trench Audio is pleased to provide a clean, full-length version of this hit song.

Get more Squirrel Trench remixes at Legitmix

The economics of a competitive group dance routine

1902765_10152284887868103_160835853_n.jpgIt’s pretty amazing how much time, sweat, rehearsal, effort, and money goes into putting a competitive group dance routine on stage. I think it’s terrific and amazing that so many dance parents are able to give their kids the experience, discipline, camaraderie, and excitement of performing an intricate routine, complete with music, choreography, and costumes. While the kids on stage and the choreographers are the ones who get the medals and awards, really it should be the parents getting the awards for making it happen!

One thing I am always surprised about is how often these amazing routines go on stage, and are performed at competitions, with less-than-perfect music. Often times the music for these routines have jarring clicks, jumps, awkward timings, and mis-matched phrasing. While competitive dance is not judged on the quality of the soundtrack, bad music edits can make counting and choreography more difficult for the dancers since musical phrases can wind up with nonsensical timings like 9.7 beats instead of 8!

It surprises me that so much music with significant issues winds up on the competitive stage when you consider how much time, energy, and money goes into each dance. After all, the music is the foundation of the dance, and great music serves as the inspiration both for the dance teacher/choreographer as well as the dancers themselves. There are some studios, such as Mather Dance Company in the L.A. area, that go so far as to have original music commissioned for them by professional recording artists. While understandably, that kind of budget is out of reach for many studios, working with a skilled music editor is quite reasonable, especially when you think about the finances that go into each competitive routine that is put on stage. After all, we wouldn’t dream of putting a dancer on stage with a wrecked costume, so why would be put them on stage with wrecked music?

So let’s take a quick look at the cost to put one competitive dance on the stage. Oftentimes a unique music remix can be created for $199 or less, so I will wrap up our analysis by looking at that music cost as a percentage of the total cost of putting a routine on stage.

To make this calculation, I’m going to use conservative estimates. For many studios, the costs might be much less, while at others, they might be far more. For this example, let’s use a group routine with 15 dancers. If each of those company dancers is paying an average of $180 per month in studio tuition, and is in a total of 8 competitive routines, then their combined total studio fee, on a per routine basis is: 15 kids x $180 x 10 months / 8 total routines = $3,375 combined cost per dance. No matter if a guest choreographer is brought in, or the studio’s own teacher creates the choreography, that takes considerable effort, so we’ll budget $500 for the choreography. Next, costumes can easily run $125 per, for competitive routines, so that is another $125 x 15 = $1,875. But we haven’t even gotten to entry fees, let alone hotel and food costs that dance parents incur. If a competitive routine is entered into three regionals and one nationals, the entry fees can easily be $40 per regional and $50 per national. That is 15 x ((40 x 3) + 50) = $2,550. We are up to $8,300 for the combined routine cost, and we haven’t figured hotel or travel expenses yet.

Let’s assume that one of the regionals is near enough to the studio to not require a hotel, and let’s use a conservative estimate that the other two regionals will require one hotel night, and that the nationals will require four hotel nights. That’s a total of six hotel nights, so our calculation is 15 families x 6 nights x $110 / 8 routines = $1237. Let’s just round up to $1300 when you figure in food on the road. We’re also going to assume that families don’t have to purchase air fare to get to Nationals.

So our total cost, to put one group competitive routine on stage in all competitions is $3375 studio time + $500 choreography + $1875 costumes + $2550 entry fees + $1300 hotel costs = $9,600. Now imagine spending even as much as $200 for a spectacular custom music remix. That $200 represents 2% of the total cost in putting the routine on stage. Some would say that that is money well worth it. But I might be slightly biased as a music professional. Even if it’s not worthwhile to spend $200 on the music for a competitive group routine, it’s still very much worthwhile to spend $40 on having smooth and seamless music edits handled by a professional.

All You Need Is Help From Friends

the-voice-judges-finale-performance-with-a-little-help-from-my-friendsRecently a dance teacher requested a mix of songs, for the benefit of a little girl fighting stage 4 cancer. This teacher wanted to use the song All You Need Is Love combined with others for a 2.5 minute routine. I added the Tom Petty song I Won’t Back Down and wrapped it up with With a Little Help from My Friends. To create freshness, I used cover versions of all of these songs; Brandi Carlile’s upbeat version of All You Need Is Love, Blake Shelton & Dia Frampton’s The Voice version of I Won’t Back Down, and concluded with Brandon Roush’s The Voice version of With A Little Help From My Friends.

This uplifting and original Squirrel Trench mix is perfect for any dance routine designed to pay tribute and be inspiring to someone going through a tough time, whether it’s a medical battle or the loss of a loved one.

Get more Squirrel Trench remixes at Legitmix

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.