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!

Show Yourself Some Love

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In the spirit of February and Valentine’s Day we’re focusing on love. Yes, it’s important to show your love and appreciation for family, friends and dance teachers, but you must not forget to love yourself! Now that competition season is in full swing, it’s easy to get caught up in your day-to-day tasks. Read on to find out how you can take a moment each day to show yourself some love while still powering through your days for a successful season.

 

1 — Always be prepared.

Set yourself up for success! Whether it’s dance class or competition, it’s important to be prepared for whatever may come your way. That means all the right shoes, snacks, hair-ties and anything else you can think of. Check out this post for more ideas on how you can properly prepare yourself for success.

 

2 — Eat well.

 

Healthy bodies start in the kitchen and finish on the dance floor. If you really want to stay healthy and get stronger throughout the competition season, eating well will help you reach that goal. Stumped on where to start? Check out this post for some tips and recipe ideas.

3.  Rest.

We all know that competition season is an extremely busy and somewhat stressful time. This is why it is truly imperative to give yourself some rest. Rest days are important because it gives your body time to recover from all of that hard work and come back stronger. Here’s a great article on why rest is so important and how it can benefit you.

 

We hope you’ll take a moment to treat yourself this season. Remember, you deserve it! What’s your favorite way to show yourself some love? We’d love to hear! Share them with us on Facebook and Twitter!

Dance Resolutions for 2017

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The holidays are officially over and it’s time to get back to the grind. Have you taken a moment to think about your goals and aspirations for 2017? If not, we’re here to help you create those goals and make 2017 your best year yet! Here are five great resolution ideas to help you build toward a happy and healthy dance future in the New Year.

1. Focus on getting stronger.

It’s important to do strength-building activities to help you grow stronger which, in turn, helps you perform better on stage. Check out these ideas from Dance Spirit.

2. Listen to your body. 

If something hurts, make sure to tell your teacher or coach and never dance through the pain. Addressing the pain early on could help prevent more serious injuries in the future.

3. Get out of your comfort zone. 

This could mean performing that hip-hop solo instead of your usual contemporary, or maybe even auditioning for a new team or production. Your life truly begins when you step outside of your comfort zone — go for it!

4. Pick one move you’d like to perfect and stick to it. 

Rather than trying to work on ten different things at once, pick one thing at a time and give it your undivided attention. Once you have perfected this move, continue on down your list to the next thing.

5. Relax and have fun!

We dance because it’s fun! Try not to get too caught up in the stress of practice and competition and remember why you started dancing in the first place.  

Have you made some New Year’s Dance Resolutions of your own? We’d love to hear! Share them with us on Facebook and Twitter!

 

Faculty Spotlight: Shannon Atkins

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We jumped at the chance to chat with our own Shannon Atkins, who is currently teaching our dancers at #Convention! Read on to find out what some of her favorite dance memories are.

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Q: How long have you been dancing, and how long have you been teaching dance?

A: I have been dancing since I was 5 and I’ve been teaching since I was 13. I jumped at the chance to become an assistant as soon as I was old enough and I haven’t stopped. I actually performed my own self-choreographed jazz solo when I was 10, much to my teacher’s horror!

 

Q: Do you have a favorite type of dance to teach and why is it your favorite?

A: I love to teach all styles; however, I would have to say that my favorite is tap. I enjoy creating different rhythms and seeing students get such enjoyment from them. I love it when kids come up to me at the end of class at workshops and conventions and say “I’m going to get back into tap” or “You’ve inspired me to take tap”. I feel like tap is that one style that gets left behind with the trends of contemporary, lyrical and hip hop and it is therefore extremely important for us tap lovers to continue to pass on the joy of tapping!

 

Q: Which classes are you teaching at Convention?

A: I will be teaching the tap and musical theatre in the junior and senior rooms. Get ready to work up a sweat but also have a great time!

 

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 have always struggled with jumping and leaping – I just wasn’t naturally able to achieve elevation. I would see all my friends leaping through the sky effortlessly and I would be green with envy. So, being the determined little dancer I was, I would practice and practice. I would go into the studio whenever I could and just leap and leap and leap. This did help me build strength – I guess, like anything, practice makes perfect. I also used it as an excuse to jump for hours on the trampoline. Ultimately, I think taking on extra ballet classes is what helped me. Ballet is always the answer!

 

Q: What is your favorite dance memory?

A: Aside from getting to perform in my dream musical, 42nd Street, which was incredible, it would have to be a memory from a competition with my students in Australia. We discovered we had an extra entry in the contemporary category and thought we would do something spontaneous and create something in the three hours we had on break and put it on stage. Three of my other teachers and all the kids banded together and we came up with a piece and the kids competed.  Nobody suspected it was a last-minute creation and, in fact, we got complimented on what a great routine it was. The thrill and rush combined with the fun that was had is something we will all talk about forever. We all bonded in a way that took things even further than just traveling away to compete. It was one of those “aha” moments where I thought this is what this is all about – it’s not the trophies won but the crazy memories made.

 

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

A: This might sound corny but I like to follow my friends and family from back home on social media. It helps me to feel like I am still involved and not missing out. Our time zones are completely opposite, so it is exciting to wake up and see what the other half of the world has been up to. Like any dancer, I’m also obsessed with dance videos! Social media is great for getting new ideas and showcasing talent. I’m looking forward to seeing and sharing some videos from Convention.

 

Q: You came here all the way from Australia! What has been the biggest difference or adjustment you have had to make?

A: Learning to brave the New York weather! Winter is brutal! Snow and blizzards are very different in Australia, where you can pretty much go to the beach all year round, and the most important clothing issue is not having enough bikinis rather than worrying about whether your winter coat is warm enough. In terms of dance, learning that most kids here only have 1-2 solos was a major shock to me. In Australia, an average kid would have around 10-12 or sometimes up to 20 solos – most dance teachers here almost fall over when they hear that.

 

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

A: I think the biggest challenge for young dancers is finding balance in day-to-day life. Even if dance is your priority, it’s important to still make time for family life, education, time with friends, and dance training.  It is very easy to get caught up in this idea that everything revolves around dance and that you are definitely going to become a professional dancer when you are a young aspiring dancer. However, the reality is that dreams change, and it’s important to still enjoy your life outside dance and make sure you don’t miss out on making memories with family and friends. Experiences outside of dance can all be fed into your routines, and having some downtime is just what you need to make sure you crush it at competition. Sacrifices need to be made sometimes, but don’t lose sight of why we all dance – because we love it!

 

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

A: Come and check me out at @shanzy1982 on Instagram! I’m looking forward to checking some of the dancers out on social media before convention.

 

Q: What has dance taught you?

A: If you work hard and do what you love, anything is possible! My passion for dance has brought me all the way from Australia to New York city and let me travel the world chasing my dreams. I still have to pinch myself when I remember I can walk to Broadway and see shows whenever I want!

 

Q: Dancing is tiring! What is your favorite food to help you refuel after a day of dancing?

A: I’m obsessed with the vanilla protein shakes from Juice Press. For all the Australians, I have to say it – there is no better way to feel good than eating some Vegemite toast!

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!

Back to School 101: How to Choreograph Your Classes

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School is back, and that means one thing: Lots of scheduling. Between school, homework, and dance class, it can be hard to figure out how to manage your time. But don’t worry – we have some ideas for you.

1) When in doubt, write it out.

You might think you can memorize your entire schedule in your head – and maybe you can! But you don’t have to. Find a way to write down your schedule so you can glance at it quickly when you need it. Many people use their phones or email for reminders. You can also use a good, old-fashioned day planner. Write down all of your commitments – maybe even color-code them! You’ll be surprised at how quickly you gain control over your hectic schedule.

2) Education over extracurriculars.

You won’t find bigger fans of dance than us. But during the school year, it’s important to prioritize your schoolwork over any extracurricular activities so you don’t fall behind. Dancing is hard work and requires a lot of practice and commitment – but so do your classes. Take the time to finish your homework and give your education the attention it deserves.

3) Veg with the veggies.

 Dancers already know the value of eating well. But this becomes especially important during the school year. The right foods will make you healthier, which will allow you to think more clearly and have the energy you need to handle school and dance. We’re not saying you can’t enjoy a little ice cream once in a while – but keep everything in moderation. Find a buddy to commit to eating healthy with you and keep each other accountable during the year and at dance class.

What do you think? How do you stay organized during the school year? Tell us below!

Year in Review: Platinum National Dance Competition Celebrates 10th Anniversary Season

Competition season might be over, but we have so many great memories from our 10th season that it’s hard to choose a favorite. Dozens of cities, hundreds of performances, and thousands of fans made our 2016 season one for the books.

Let’s take a moment to remember what made this year one of our favorites.

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1) We hosted our first Ultimate Invitational Championship! Dancers from around the country were invited to participate in this exclusive competition. We saw some amazing talent this year and can’t wait to see what next year brings!

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2) Our annual Ultimate Viewers Choice competition was a success! We had dozens of great routines to choose from, but “Glam” from Scenic City Dance showed us what it really means to be the best. Congratulations again!

3) Last, but not least, we want to remember the hundreds of people who worked to make this season so unforgettable. Coaches, teachers, parents, dance staff, costume designers, set designers, family members – we couldn’t do this without you.

Thank you for your continued support!

So what can you look forward to next?

  • A new season! Our 2017 schedule is posted on our website, and we think you’ll love it. We’re heading to 30 cities across the country to watch the best of the best perform fresh routines, and we can’t wait to see what routines our dancers come up with next year.
  • Convention is almost here! You won’t have to wait until next year to dance with us again – join us at Convention in October! You’ll have an opportunity to learn new moves, make new friends, and prepare yourself for the upcoming season.

Check out the whole schedule on our website, and learn even more details about Convention here. Will we see you at one of our stops?

And now we want to hear from you: What will you do to pass the time until we meet again? Are you focusing on a new routine this summer? Or are you taking the time off to relax? We came up with some great ideas to make this summer a great one – take a peek at some of our other posts here, here, and here. Tell us what you’re up to on Facebook or Twitter!

 

2016 Convention: 4 Things You Need To Know

Competition is over, but Convention is coming up! And we have the inside scoop on what you need to know.

1. Convention helps dancers stay sharp in the off-season.
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You have a couple months until your next competition, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn a new skill in the meantime. Convention gives you the opportunity to expand your routine repertoire with jazz, tap, hip-hop, and several other dances. Bonus: You get the chance to meet other dancers and make new friendships and connections.

Learn more about the different classes and auditions here.

 

2. Convention lets you interact with some of the industry’s top talent.  

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You won’t want to miss out on the chance to meet up with some of the teachers who are attending Convention. This gives you a unique opportunity to work with some of the finest dance instructors in the country – and an opportunity to have them help you improve your dance skills.  Learning from the best means you can become the best, too.

Take a look at some of last year’s faculty members here, and check back to see who will be teaching in your area!

 

3. Convention is coming to a city near you.

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Worried that going to Convention will take too much travel time? Odds are good that we’re coming to you instead. We’re hitting cities all over the Eastern half of the nation – see the current schedule here.

We’re invested in making sure that as many dancers as possible get the opportunity to learn from our instructors and classes, and we are traveling to each of these locations to make that happen.

 

4. You could attend Convention for free!

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Raise your hand if you love to win free stuff! We have a prize that is right up your alley – FREE tuition to Convention! We are selecting 10 winners over the next few weeks to receive a paid Convention tuition just by liking or commenting our Facebook post. Like us on Facebook to learn how you can enter.

What do you think? Why are you excited to attend Convention? Tell us in the comments below – or sound off on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Instagram.

Break it Down On Your Break: 3 Dance Moves to Learn Before the Next Competition Season

Competition season will wrap up next month, and we’ll be sorry to see it go! Fortunately, we’ve thought of a few great ways to pass the time until competition is back in action.

Last June, we discussed a few great ideas to make the most of your time off – including learning a few new moves. So which dances should you start with first? We’ve come up with three great options that will round out your competition resume.

 

1. Hip-Hop. 

Put a little pep in your step with these hip-hop dance moves. Adding an extra beat to your lineup for the next competition season will show off your versatility and make a memorable performance for you and your team. This YouTube tutorial breaks down some easy steps that are perfect for beginners. Once you’ve mastered these, find an intermediate tutorial and work your way up!

 

2. Focus On One Move

Are you struggling to perfect a particular move? Take some time to really focus on finessing your technique. For instance, you can look up videos like this one to improve your pirouettes, turns, tilts, and more – the possibilities are endless. This is a great way to add the finishing touch to an already incredible routine. If you feel confident in your skills for each of your moves, try searching for variations on them to make your routine stand out.

 

3. Learn A Dance Routine to a Popular Song

Find even more inspiration for new moves by learning the routine to a popular song, like this video that breaks down the routine to Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass.”  While you may not be able to use the routine for competition, you can get some terrific ideas for creating your own routine and stay in the habit of learning moves from a teacher. Not to mention that learning a popular dance routine is a lot of fun! You’ve worked hard this season, so make sure you enjoy yourself over the break.

 

What do you think? Is there a new dance move you’re just dying to learn? We want to hear about it! Share with us below, or on Facebook and 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.