Nationals + Invitationals 2017 Recap

What a great past few weeks it’s been for the PNDC family! Nationals 2017 has just wrapped up after a whirlwind tour of Panama City Beach, FL, and Pigeon Forge, TN, and last week found us in Charleston, SC, for an amazing Ultimate Invitationals Championship. Our heartfelt thanks go out to all the parents, studios, teachers, judges, and especially the talented dancers that helped make these competitions the best yet! In celebration of the amazing performances we saw, we’ve put together a recap of our favorite moments from these past few weeks. Enjoy!

June 12-17 found PNDC in sunny Panama City Beach, FL, where we were welcomed with performances from superheroes, grannies, Grecian goddesses, showgirls, and more! We absolutely loved the costume creativity that was on display this year! Check out Panama City Beach’s opening act to warm us up for the performances to come here!

 

Later on in the month, we traveled to beautiful Pigeon Forge, TN, where we spent another fun-filled few days enjoying performances by some of the most talented young dancers in the country! The opening number in Pigeon Forge was incredible — see for yourself here!

 

It was unreal seeing the strength and flexibility that our PNDC Dancer family had on display throughout this year’s Nationals. It was clear that everyone had been practicing really hard – and it truly paid off!

 

We also loved seeing how much PNDC spirit our dancers (and parents and coaches!) had. Whether it was on their cars, on their t-shirts, or on the backs of their jackets, everywhere we turned, we saw people spreading the PNDC love! Thanks, everyone!

 

Then, we journeyed to charming and historic Charleston, SC, for a two-day dance extravaganza with our Ultimate Invitational Championship! This whirlwind tour featured even more beautiful costumes, talented dancers, and stunning choreography. What a fantastic way to round out our summer season! Thanks to all who came out to support PNDC!

 

As always, these competitions wouldn’t be possible without the support and assistance of all of our rockstar judges, choreographers, staff members, teachers, coaches, studios, parents and family members, costume designers, set designers, and dancers. We love you all and we are continually inspired to do and be better because of YOU!

So what’s next for PNDC?

We are excited to announce that the dates for our Platinum Dance Experience Convention Tour are out! Watch out for us throughout the fall as we visit over 10 different cities to offer a variety of dance classes and workshops to talented dancers like you!

How was your experience at Nationals and Invitationals? Which cities did you go to? What were your favorite performances? We want to hear from you! Be sure to follow our adventures on our Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages, and make sure to tag us and use #PNDCDancer!

Faculty Spotlight: Kyle Shukis

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Convention season is in full swing, and we couldn’t be more excited! Our dancers and staff are in it to win this year. We had the chance to speak with one of our great faculty members, Kyle Shukis, about why he loves to teach at Convention – and what he hopes you’ll learn this year. Read on to learn more about Kyle!

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Q: What are you most looking forward to about Convention this year?

A: I am always excited to work with a bunch of new dancers but also look forward to the students who return each year.  Getting to see their growth over time is so rewarding!

Q: If you could give one piece of advice to the dancers coming to Convention, what would it be?

A: Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.  So many dancers get used to the same teachers and styles and let that box them in.  Conventions are a great place to challenge yourself in new ways and you can grow so much as a dancer in just one day!

Q: How long have you been teaching dance?

A: I started teaching dance as an assistant when I was only fifteen and haven’t stopped since!

Q: What kind of dance classes do you enjoy teaching the most? Which ones will you be teaching at Convention?

A: I love teaching classes that push your thought process as well as your technique – improvisation, choreography, movement studies etc.  I will be teaching both contemporary and jazz at the convention and love those, as well!

Q: You have a lot of experience in many areas of the dance world – which part of this industry is your favorite?

A: I used to do a lot of work on the side as a lighting designer in NYC – it was a great way to supplement my income as well as have a flexible schedule.  It’s amazing how much lighting can change and influence a piece of work and you truly feel as though you are a part of what is happening on stage.

Q: What do you think the biggest challenge is for young dancers today, and how can they overcome it?

A: I honestly think that much as the way magazines can cause people to have image problems, social media and what is posted dance wise often has the same effect on young dancers.  Most of what people post and share are things that are “perfect” and when inundated with these videos and images it causes young dancers to think they aren’t good enough.  Always remember that people are only going to post their best, and no matter how amazing a dancer is, they have both fallen and failed at something – you just aren’t there to see it.  Use these posts for inspiration, but don’t let it dictate what you feel like you need to be as a dancer.

Q: You have been involved quite a few productions – which one is your favorite?

A: I was in an all-dance production of “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.”  I got to play Edmund and it was so fun to have to portray a child while also performing challenging movement.

Q: There’s always that one move or combination that gives you a hard time. Is there any specific dance move that has been difficult for you? If so, how did you get better at it?

A: I always struggled with flexibility as a younger competition dancer.  Learning how to stay warm and stretch properly and for the right amount of time helped increase my range by a huge amount.

Q: What is your favorite dance memory?

A: I have so many! One of my favorites was getting to work an extended residency in the Cayman Islands where we taught residents in the community about dance.  Everyone was so welcoming and so open minded and excited to learn new things.  We also got to perform on an open air stage outside where chickens would wander into the wings – it was so cool!

Q: Who are your favorite people to follow on social media (dance related or not!)? 

A: I love Michelle Obama on social media – she is so inspirational as a person and does so much good work around the world.  She has a snapchat that really lets you in to see how much she does each day and she is always full of positivity.

Q: Are you on social media? Our dancers would love to follow you!

A: Yes! My Instagram is kyleasaurusrex.

 

We can’t wait to see you at our next Convention stop, Kyle! Dancers, check back here to learn more about our amazing faculty and what’s in store for you this season! Are you coming to convention? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

Three Things Every Dancer Needs to Know to Become (and Stay) Flexible

Competition season is well under way – but it’s not over yet! You want to give your very best from the first competition to the last, and that means staying focused and in-shape for the entire season. Therefore, so many skills need to be honed and maintained – like your flexibility.

If you need some fresh ideas on how to become more flexible and stay that way, check out these three tips below

1. A little yoga can go a long way.

When it comes to flexibility and stretching your muscles, yoga is one of the most useful activities. It is designed to strengthen your body through building muscles and endurance, two key components of a dancer’s exercise routine.

By incorporating yoga into your regular workout, you will find new ways to build and stretch your muscles that will be invaluable to your dance career. Bonus: Yoga has been shown to reduce stress and improve your overall health.

Check out some of these great stretches on Pinterest.

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2. Start small.

If you are a beginner to the world of stretching and increasing flexibility without the help of a coach or teacher, don’t do too much too quickly. Start with a small goal for yourself – like some of these beginner-level stretches.

Every day, try to do a little bit more. If you were able to stretch for twenty minutes you first, day, try stretching for twenty-one minutes the next day. Slowly and gradually build up your endurance until you are able to maximize your flexibility and improve your jumps, lifts, and turns.

3. Listen to your body.

It’s tempting to see how far you can push yourself when learning a new skill, and stretching is no exception. But while you do want to do your best, you don’t have to start by being the best.

Pay attention to the clues and signs your body is giving you that tell you to stop or slow down. Being the most flexible dancer in your company won’t do you any good if you are injured and unable to dance. Even the Rockettes recommend taking a break now and then.

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It should always be your goal to improve and make a little more progress than the day before – as long as you do it in a safe, smart way.

How about it, dancers? What are some other things that help you stay flexible during the competition season (and the rest of the year, too)? Share your tips with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.