<![CDATA[A Voce Dance Gear - Dance Blog]]>Sun, 22 Nov 2015 11:02:25 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Musicality and Dancing]]>Tue, 04 Mar 2014 02:08:24 GMThttp://westiecouture.weebly.com/dance-blog/musicality-and-dancingWestie Couture
Musicality Matters: How to Become a More Musical Dancer

When Lorena Feijóo took the stage in Jerome Robbins’ In the Night at New York’s City Center last October, it was as if an invisible cord connected her body to each instrument in the orchestra. Whether from studying the piano as a young dancer in Cuba or from her intrinsic ability to embody sounds, the San Francisco Ballet principal exhibits that intangible quality that makes dance such a pleasure to watch: musicality.

So what exactly is musicality? It’s how a dancer expresses music in his or her body. “Musicality is understanding music on a technical level, and then dropping all of that knowledge so you can sit deep inside the music,” says choreographer and “So You Think You Can Dance” regular Wade Robson. “It’s dancing inside the music, as opposed to floating on top of it.”

A well-developed sense of musicality separates the pros from the amateurs. It also makes you enjoyable to watch—and it’s a more rewarding way to dance! Here are some ways to hone your ear and make inspired music and movement choices of your own.

Mastering Musicality
Put a musical dancer and a nonmusical dancer side by side and you’ll see why it’s so important to be attuned to the rhythm, melody and mood of a song. Dancers without a keen connection to the music might seem stiff or disconnected—often, they’re hard to watch. “They’re unable to transmit the emotion the musical notes are giving,” Feijóo says. “A strong but nonmusical dancer is like a painting without any colors. I’d rather watch a musical dancer with less extension and not-as-pretty feet.”

Musical dancers, on the other hand, never disregard the music to fit in more tricks. “You can see the effort in a nonmusical dancer—they are often step-driven,” says NYC ballet teacher Deborah Wingert. “Musical dancers don’t just turn until they stop. They turn until they have to move on to the next point in the music. Musical dancers never get so caught up in steps that they ignore the music.”

It’s important to understand that musicality comes in many forms, and there is no right or wrong way to interpret a score. Some choreographers create entire dances before they choose the music, while others may start with a piece of music before they create a single step. As a dancer, you must be ready for any approach they use.

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<![CDATA[Dance Informa's New Year's Resolutions from Dance Leaders]]>Wed, 15 Jan 2014 22:53:12 GMThttp://westiecouture.weebly.com/dance-blog/dance-informas-new-years-resolutions-from-dance-leadersKate Hutter
New Year’s Resolutions from Industry Leaders

“I think one of the most important things in one’s professional and personal life is not being afraid to take risks. If you’re afraid to fail, you’ll never achieve your goals - Mark Stuart 

By Chelsea Thomas of Dance Informa.

Those who make goals are usually those who reach their dreams. Without goals and measurable success, how can we really tell how effectively we are moving toward achieving our dreams?

With this in mind, do you have a New Year’s resolution? Do you typically make goals for yourself at the start of a new year, in the hope of becoming a better dancer, choreographer or teacher? If not, perhaps this is the year to start! It’s a fresh new beginning after all.

Here, Dance Informa spoke to both up-and-coming dancers and renowned artists about their 2014 New Year’s resolutions. Even the industry’s most renowned dance artists set new goals for the New Year.

Kate Hutter
Artistic Director, L.A. Contemporary Dance Company

“My resolution is to find balance between my administrative, artistic and personal life pursuits, and find the same veracity, determination and passion I have when creating dance for when I am developing new opportunities for the company and leading the organization and board towards our future goals… since in the long run, one supports the other. I also want to take some time to reflect on the accomplishments of the company and the amazing artists I get to work with each day, and celebrate that before pushing forward into the new year. There are so many wonderful and deeply inspiring things happening in our craft nationally and internationally, and we need to sometimes take time to acknowledge the achievements of ourselves and others to remind ourselves that this is an exciting time and we need to keep making, teaching and sharing this incredible work.”

Kate Hutter is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a BFA in Theatrical Design and a MFA in Dance/Choreography from Purchase College, SUNY. She has won awards from the USC School of Theatre for Outstanding Choreography in 2001-2004, as well as the Stanley Musgrove Award and the James and Nony Doolittle Award for her unique contributions in the theatre. Her work has also been nominated for two Lester Horton Awards for “Best Small Ensemble.” Kate continues to create new works for her L.A. Contemporary Dance Company as well as choreograph for theater productions and commercials, and teach at the Brockus Project Space in downtown L.A.

Click here to To Read about more Dance Resolutions 

<![CDATA[Help! I Hate My Comp Routine ( Part I)]]>Mon, 06 Jan 2014 01:19:32 GMThttp://westiecouture.weebly.com/dance-blog/help-i-hate-my-comp-routine-part-iWestie Couture
Struggling with your Dance Choreography

“It’s tough to see that in the moment, but when you look back at what you’ve accomplished, you’ll see it’s a big deal.”

There are myriad reasons you might dislike one of your group dances for competition. Every dancer prefers a routine that makes her feel like a rock star. But even if you’re never going to be in love with that one dance, there are ways to make friends with it, or at least call a truce. Here are six of the most common scenarios—and advice on how to handle them like a pro.

Help! I hate the choreography!
In the professional world, dancers are frequently asked to perform things they don’t necessarily love. You won’t always agree with your teacher’s taste, but try to see that as an opportunity to become more versatile.

Often, when dancers dislike choreography, it’s because they don’t feel they look good doing it. Rather than letting the dance crush your spirit, acknowledge the obstacle and form a plan of action. Donnajean Kline, owner and artistic director of The Dance Academy in Holland, PA, recommends finding a buddy to practice with, videotaping and watching a rehearsal, or taking extra classes in the style. Your teacher or an assistant may even have time to give you private lessons. “It’s exciting to be uncomfortable,” says Tawney Giles, who teaches at The Southern Strutt in Irmo, SC. “It’s tough to see that in the moment, but when you look back at what you’ve accomplished, you’ll see it’s a big deal.”

Help! My costume is getting in the way of my dancing!
A troublesome costume can throw off an entire dance. It’s important to sort this out as early as possible: At your fitting, make sure you have a full range of motion, and don’t be afraid to be vocal (in a polite way) if the bodice is so tight you can’t breathe, or if you’re afraid of “popping out.” Test tricks and lifts in costume a few times before dress rehearsal and tell your teacher about any problems. In the end, the sequins might still be scratchy, but the costume shouldn’t interfere with your dancing.

If you’re worried the costume is unflattering or doesn’t fit the dance, that’s a decision to leave to your teacher. If you’re truly uncomfortable performing in the costume, though, mention it to her one-on-one and see what she advises. And if you’re embarrassed by a silly costume like a pony or duck suit, Dana Adames, owner and director of the Talent Factory Performing Arts Centre in North Kingstown, RI, recommends embracing the ridiculousness as a rite of passage. Even your Broadway heroes have been there.

Article by DanceSpirit (Ashley Rivers)

<![CDATA[DIY - How to Make Laced up Khaki Pants]]>Sun, 05 Jan 2014 20:52:53 GMThttp://westiecouture.weebly.com/dance-blog/diy-how-to-make-laced-up-khaki-pantsPicture
DIY Laced-Up Khaki Pants

For this week’s tutorial, we designed a laced-up pants that was inspired by Isabel Marant’s collection for H&M. By simply adding grommets on the side seams of the trouser, it created this mixture of boho chic with rock ‘n’ roll vibe. 
You will need 1 yard of twill fabric with moderate amount of spandex in order to easily move within the pants. You will also need black grommets and strings for this tutorial.

What's most interesting about this coat is that it is a denim jacket with faux fur sleeves attached to it. 
Read More at Article by Q2HAN
♥Fashion Blog- http://q2hans.blogspot.com

<![CDATA[Dance Fashion Solution]]>Sun, 05 Jan 2014 20:36:03 GMThttp://westiecouture.weebly.com/dance-blog/dance-fashion-solutionPicture
What Blouse Do I Wear With Platform Heels and Skinny Jeans?

Skinny jeans and platform heels are a match made in heaven -- the shoes' extra height can help make your legs look longer and leaner in the snug-fitting jeans for a sexy, flattering look. But when you're wearing such bold pieces on your lower half, finding the right blouse to pair with them can be a challenge. 
Skinny jeans and platform heels can actually work with a variety of tops, though, so you can easily switch up your outfit depending on the occasion and the look that you're going for.

Button Up
When you want a chic, polished look, pair your skinny jeans and platform pumps with a classic button-down blouse. For the most put-together look, opt for a fitted button-down that you can tuck into your jeans. Wear dark wash jeans with a white button-down blouse, and add a pair of platform pumps in a striking color like red or cobalt for a simple, stylish look. Or pair black skinny jeans with a magenta button-down blouse and black platform heels for a look that’s sharp and modern.

Go Long
If you feel self-conscious in skinny jeans, a long blouse that covers your stomach and backside is an ideal option – which is why a tunic pairs well with your jeans and platform heels. During the day, pair a pink and orange floral print tunic with medium wash skinny jeans and brown platform heels for a casual look that you can wear for an afternoon of shopping or lunch with friends. For an evening out, pair a sequin tunic tank with dark-wash skinny jeans and black-velvet platform pumps. If you feel like the tunic top is making you look a little large, add a belt to cinch your waist and accentuate your curves.

Wrap It Up
With skinny jeans and platform heels, you can create a long, lean look for your body. Maximize the effect by pairing them with a wrap blouse – the two halves of the blouse create a deep V-neck that elongates your upper body, while the tie at the waist flatters your curves. For a sleek, slimming look, go monochromatic by pairing a black wrap top with black skinny jeans and black platform heels. For an evening out, opt for a red wrap top with ruffled sleeves and hem, and pair it with dark-wash skinny jeans and animal-print, peep-toe, platform pumps for a flirty look.

Continued ...
Read More here: Article by Jennifer Blair
Photo Credits: Larry Busacca/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

<![CDATA[4 ways to wear jeans and heels]]>Sun, 05 Jan 2014 20:18:15 GMThttp://westiecouture.weebly.com/dance-blog/4-ways-to-wear-jeans-andheelsPicture
Four ways to wear jeans and heels

A while back, a reader suggested I write about wearing jeans and heels. Since my daily uniform generally consists of this combo, I figured a post weighing in on the trend was long overdue! I’m so excited to share four ways I pair the ultimate casual staple with heels.

I always pair loose fitting boyfriend jeans with classic heels like pointed toe pumps. The key to avoiding a sloppy look is balancing the masculine denim with feminine heels. Classic, simple shoes are your best bet — avoid platforms and complicated embellishments. I recommend a clean, tall cuff with the fold grazing the backs of the heels.

I try to keep things extremely simple with patterned denim, pulling one color (here, nude) from the print to coordinate with the heels. 
Don’t be afraid to let the lining show, I think it keeps things interesting and helps dress down the heels.
A small cuff also creates a natural break between the pattern and heels, all while showing off your ankles!

You have plenty of creative range with skinny jeans. This popular fit is much less complicated than other shapes, naturally lending itself to a wide range of heel styles — classic pumps, sling backs, ankle straps and booties. I love haphazardly cuffing my skinnies to add intrigue to the traditional fit (even if the hems are uneven) and to dress down structured heels.

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<![CDATA[Meditatin’ : A Leader/Follower Conundrum]]>Sun, 22 Dec 2013 19:22:51 GMThttp://westiecouture.weebly.com/dance-blog/meditatin-a-leaderfollowerconundrumdance fashion

"Meditatin’ is a series of random thoughts."
Article by SwungOver

Recently, I was talking to some dancers in a scene that will remain anonymous, when I heard a story that went like this:

At this one swing dance, there were many more “followers” than “leaders.” It just so happened that two of the people known for being some of the best leaders in the scene decided to dance together, switching between who led and who followed. Midway through the dance, a small gang of the other followers broke up the two from dancing. Their reasoning: There were too many followers already present for it to be fair for the leaders to be dancing with each other.

I personally have seen something like this before in other swing scenes; it was not new to me. However, at the time of hearing this story, and for a few hours afterwards, I was increasingly and increasingly more stirred emotionally by it.

I do sympathize with the small group: Most scenes are follower heavy, which means followers are less likely to have a night full of dancing than leaders. And for followers for whom following is their primary or only role to see two good leaders dancing with each other means that there are two followers who are missing out on those dances. Also, one of those group members happened to be the studio’s owner and a friend of both the leaders. The owner had both a vested interest in making sure the followers were pleased and an intimacy with the leaders which allowed for bold action.

However, I was stirred because I couldn't help but feel an injustice had been done to the two dancers broken apart. First off, just because you are a good leader does not mean that you cannot also be a (good) follower and enjoy the act of following. Every person has every right to have a dance in the role of their choice without harassment. So, one way of looking at the scene above is that a leader and a follower enjoying a dance together were split apart for doing what almost everyone comes to a swing dance to do.

Secondly, every person at a dance has the right to dance with whomever they wish, period. Just because you are an advanced leader or follower, or a beginner leader or follower, does not mean you are supposed to dance with someone. Everyone at a dance is responsible for asking who they want to dance, and accepting or not accepting the offers they are given. This is exactly what the two dancers above did. One asked the other to dance, they defined the terms (“we’ll both lead and follow, and switch roles”), and they both agreed. So, another way of looking at the scene above is that two people who had agreed to dance with one another were broken apart for doing what is everyone’s responsibility to do.

What makes this a little more tricky is if people assume leaders = men and followers = women. For instance, the group of followers was composed of women. The two dancers broken apart were both men. So, the story was told to me as “A group of women broke up two men dancing together” rather than “a group of followers broke apart two leaders dancing together.” It’s a subtle difference, but a subconsciously influential one.

Now, simply mentioning this can severely inflate its importance in this specific conundrum, because gender and dancing is a current topic of passionate opinions. But I want to stress that it’s not really the main point, only a subtle variable that plays a small role in helping the bigger problem.

Read more at SwungOver

<![CDATA[DIY Red Party Dress for Christmas]]>Fri, 20 Dec 2013 16:13:54 GMThttp://westiecouture.weebly.com/dance-blog/diy-red-party-dress-for-christmasWestie Couture
"Can you believe Christmas is almost around the corner? "

Whoa, time flies! Christmas means parties and we couldn't miss designing a dress for you guys. So here it is! We decided to design this red dress with slight cutouts on the sides for an indoor Christmas party. 

We are also planning to sell this dress in first-come first-served basis, so if you have in mind, please shoot us an e-mail at q2hans@gmail.com! In terms of my outfit, I'm wearing this thigh high boots from DressLink, and it definitely did its job in keeping myself warm during the entire shooting. 

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<![CDATA[How to Make a Dance Shirt]]>Tue, 10 Dec 2013 23:38:57 GMThttp://westiecouture.weebly.com/dance-blog/how-to-make-a-dance-shirtDance T-Shirt Laddering

Backless T-Shirt with Front V-Neck Scrunch

<![CDATA[Common Dance Cues That Screw You Up (Part II)]]>Mon, 09 Dec 2013 05:07:21 GMThttp://westiecouture.weebly.com/dance-blog/december-08th-2013A Voce Dance Gear
Common Dance Cues That Screw You Up  (Part II)

2) “Push into the floor with your feet to keep your supporting leg solid”

This makes perfect sense. In theory.

Again, because dancers have very facilitated quads (meaning they tend to do way too much work, leaving other muscles to chill out in an inhibited, lazy state), this cue can be hit or miss. Sometimes it will help the dancer. For some, and if you’re like me, it can screw you up more often than not. Here’s why.

You can accomplish the feeling of pushing into the floor in a few ways. One, by way of the glutes (medius especially) and other stabilizers of the hips. Or, two, by locking the quads, hyperextending the knee and gripping with your toes into the floor. The first way is far more efficient and effective, but remember how most dancers have over facilitated quads and grossly under-achieving glutes? Due to this imbalance, the knee-locking situation tends to happen more often than not, which is not super effective.

The glute med in particular plays an important role in stability of your supporting leg, and so it’s super important to have functional to keep your dancing on pointe. Ha. Get it? Sometimes I’m funny. I swear

In the picture above from Mike Reinhold’s site you can see how the dude on the right has poor ability to control his hips due to perhaps a dysfunctional (LAZYYY) glute med. You can also see how this would affect how high the gesture leg will be able to lift, and what other compensations might occur. Not pretty.

Westie Couture
3) “Suck in your gut/ Pull-up!”

Who HASN’T been told to “suck it in”, or “pull-up”, or the elusive “engage your abs”? There are a few issues with these cues.

Issue 1: While dancers may seem to have very strong abdominals, they often can’t fire them properly, or lack the neuromuscular control to actually do it while dancing. This can be trained, but it takes time, persistence and patience.

Issue 2: Being told to suck in your gut is a very negative, damaging thing to hear, and the cue itself is not even the most effective in correcting what is really an alignment issue.

Dancers, and gymnasts too, who appear to have a distended belly and lots of lower back arching often have a hard time “pulling-up” because they lack the neuromuscular control to engage their abs. Many dancers, after hearing this comment will turn to dieting or disordered eating habits to control what they understand to be an aesthetic problem.

Rather, it is an alignment issue. The extreme lordosis is actually pushing the contents of the abdominal cavity forward, and though the dancer is thin, she may appear to have a slightly protruding belly.

Instead of saying “suck it in” or something to that effect, a better method is to educate the dancer that she has an alignment issue that can be addressed with supplemental exercises and improving body awareness, which will increase her neuromuscular control to the abdomimals and other core muscles.

From personal experience, hearing that I needed to suck in my gut had very damaging  long term effects, making me feel fat and self conscious and adding extra tension to my dancing. It is only recently that I realized that sucking in my gut (or trying to “hollow my abdomen”) without attempting to resolve the root of the issue (the underlying spine and pelvic alignment issues) was only making the matter worse.

If you are familiar with “lower crossed” syndrome, then you know that this is a postural dysfunction that can be corrected through strengthening, soft tissue work, mobility drills, and postural re-education. Which takes longer than saying “suck it in!”. If you are not prepared to help your students appropriately, refer them to someone with the skills to help.

Oh well. Live and learn! Please stop telling your dance students to suck in their guts. It is more damaging than helpful.

I guess if I had to choose a moral for this post it would be, “Don’t get too hung up on genetic factors- Your ex-professional ballet teacher is a different kind of human being.” We all have different genetic potential, and your dance teacher’s job is to help you live up to yours, not regurgitate the same corrections they received and hope they stick.

Or as the dude from P90X says, “Do your best and forget the rest!”. If it rhymes, it must be legit.

Got any other good dance cues that make no sense? What cues do you hear from dance teachers that are more confusing than helpful?

Article by The Dance Training Project(DTP)