November 2019

National Dance Coaches Association

Table of Contents

  • 2020 National Dance Coaches Conference - Registration open!
  • Now Accepting Nominations
  • Resource: Team Building Exercises
  • Resource: 10 Thoughts for Beginning Coaches
  • Resource: The One Question All Coaches Should Ask Their Athletes
  • Article: The Road to Starting Your Own Dance Team Consulting Business - A Personal Journey
  • Featured Member - Danielle Schneider
  • Tired of Crushed Poms?
  • Our NDCA Partners
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Now Accepting Nominations

The NDCA is continuously accepting nominations for:

  • High School Coach of the Year
  • College Coach of the Year
  • All Star Coach of the Year
  • Contributor of the Year
  • Hall of Fame

Nominators can be anyone - fellow coaches, parents, dancers, administrators. Nominees must be NDCA members (never too late to join!) Nominations are done online, and forms can be accessed on

DEADLINE for 2020 is December 31, 2019.

Do a good dead today and nominate a deserving dance team professional!

Resource: Team Building Games

1. Do you ever feel like your dancers can't follow verbal directions? Try this as a warm-up game. Check out how you do the opposite at the end to really make them think. Sometimes the simplist things can teach effective lessons.

2. Skip to 2:35 to get right to the point. Maybe do this as a quick pick me up after a water break. Or consider using it as a lesson about "protecting/standing up for your teammates from others who might try to tear them apart."

Fun fitness games. Warm up at ukoutdoorfitness.
CrossFit Warm Up Games ("Funnel Tag")- CrossFit Krypton

Resource: 10 Thoughts for Beginning Coaches

This article was originally written by Coach Jim Burson (

1. Not every player will be interested in every practice.

No matter how much experience you have or how great you are at teaching, you will encounter times in the gym when players are just not interested. Don‘t give in to the temptation to scold or yell. Instead, try changing your tone of voice. Try moving around. Try both. You can even switch from talking to a physical activity, like a scrimmage. The process of the scrimmage may increase the players‘ understanding and, possibly, their level of interest. Teach them anyway.

2. If a practice is going badly, stop and regroup.

Even if you have planned a detailed practice and have a clear goal in mind, if your approach is not working – for whatever reason – stop! Regroup and start over with a different approach, or abandon your planned practice entirely and go on to something else. Afterward, be honest with yourself as you examine what went wrong and make plans for the next day. Do it. Do it right. Do it right now.

3. Coaching will get better.

Maybe not tomorrow or even next week, but at some point, as you keep at it, your job will get easier. Do you remember your very first practice? Were you nervous? Of course. So was I. See how much your coaching has already improved? By next year you will be able to look back on today and be amazed at how much you have learned and how much more easily you do your job. The dawn alleviates.

4. You do not have to say yes to everything.

Do not feel that you must say yes each time you are asked to participate. Know your limits. Practice saying, ―Thank you for thinking of me, but I do not have the time to do a good job with another commitment right now. Of course, you must accept your responsibility as a professional and do your fair share, but remember to be realistic about your time. Learn to say no.

5. Not every player or parent will love you.

And you will not love every one of them, either. Those feelings are perfectly acceptable. We coaches are not hired to love players and their parents. Our job is to teach players and, at times, their parents as well. Players do not need you to be their buddy. They need a facilitator, a guide, mentor, a role model for learning and for character. Give them what they need.

6. You cannot be creative every day.

When those times happen, turn to outside resources for help. Coaching books, teaching guides, clinics, professional organizations such as high school associations are designed to support you in generating well-developed practices. When you come up with your own effective and meaningful practices—and you will – be sure to share your ideas with other coaches, both veterans and newcomers to the profession. Sit at the feet of Masters.

7. No one can manage classes, students, players, recruiting, media and – oh, yes, coaching – all at the same time and stay sane.

A little multi-tasking can be good, but you must know your limits. Beware of burnout. Remember #4.
A little learning is a dangerous thing – drink deep.

8. Some days you will cry, but the good news is that some days you will laugh.

Learn to laugh with your players and with yourself. Patience is a great virtue.

9. You will make mistakes. That’s life, and that’s how you learn.

You cannot undo your mistakes, but berating yourself for them is counterproductive. If the mistake requires an apology, make it and move on. Mistakes are life. Life is not a game. No one is keeping score. Put down the beating stick.

10. This is the best job on earth.

Stand up straight. Hold your head high. Look people in the eye and proudly announce, ― I am a coach. You make a difference.

Alan Stein
Hardwood Hustle Blog

Resource: The One Question All Coaches Should Ask Their Athletes

Spoiler - Here is the question.

“What is one thing you wish your coaches knew that would help us coach you better?”

Read the rest of the article to find out how to implement this question into your program.

The Road to Starting Your Own Dance Team Consulting Business - A Personal Journey

Written By: Breanna Griego-Schmitt, BGS Dance Collective Artistic Director and Choreographer

On July 3, 2019, I left my job at the studio where I had worked for over sixteen years to pursue my choreography business full time. It was time for a fresh start and full control of my creative vision! I was ready to be my own boss and to define my artistic path. It was time.

Many people have offered me advice as things progressed, from accountants to colleagues, new friends and former coaches, financial advisers, booster club presidents, and more. Since July 3, my client list has grown from two teams to fourteen high schools and studios around New Mexico. There are a lot of lessons that I learned along the way, and I hope that my experiences will help you pursue your own choreography/technique/consultation business.


Once I was ready to expand my client base, there were many different elements that I had to take care of. While the creative component is important, knowing what to do in order to actually operate your business is even more so. Every team/school/studio is going to have different expectations for processing paperwork and cutting checks, so it is best to have all of your bases covered! Here are a few important components to consider when starting your own dance consultation business.

Branding and Social Media: First, I created a business name and a strong logo. Once I had my name and logo, I made business cards ( is excellent and affordable) and had a friend create merchandise for me to wear to jobs and give to clients for promotion. Next, I spent time building my business pages on Instagram and Facebook. Although I own a domain, my primary traffic has been through social media. I regularly post videos (videos have the highest viewing percentage), promotional pages, and technique tips. Hashtags are excellent for getting exposure for your page (#dancersofinstagram and #choreography are two popular examples). Tag relevant people and organizations, and tell the stories behind different performances and experiences. Your brand should communicate what you do, who you are, and what you value as a choreographer.

Business Needs: I needed a business license in order to open my BGS Dance Collective Checking account and I registered with the New Mexican county where I do most of my work. My accountant helped me file the paperwork to attain a Federal Tax ID Number (EIN) as well as the New Mexico CRS ID number. Schools may request this information in order to issue a Non-Taxable Transaction Certificate. Additionally, I purchased General Liability insurance from my agent. Schools may ask for a Certificate of Insurance and this can also be obtained from your insurance agent.

Certifications: Your CPR, first-aid, AED, blood-borne pathogens, and concussion training should be current. I always carry a printed copy in my teaching folder, but you should have access to digital versions, too. I also carry my teaching accreditations, coaching and judging credentials, and licenses from New Mexico Athletic Association, New Mexico Officials Association, and National Dance Coaches Association with me when I’m doing a job.

Continuing Education: All conferences, classes, meetings, conventions, volunteer activities, and safety training should be documented. Keep your CV current and show the work that you’ve put into your dance education!

The Contract: My mentor, Toya Ambrose, gave me an excellent piece of advice about establishing prices and creating contracts: Know Your Worth. On my first choreography job, I was so excited to be doing the work that I didn’t account for all of the expenses that I needed to cover (music, hotel, food, gas) and my take-home was about $150 for a ten-hour State Pom routine! I never made that mistake again. My husband and I created a spreadsheet that gives the rates for each of the elements involved in a large choreography job and I make sure that I am always hitting my financial goals. My contract includes clauses for cancellations, deadlines for payment, specific dates and locations for the job, outlines the coaches’ responsibilities (securing facilities, sound system, etc.), and provides a clear timeline for the session. Schools may require a lot of paperwork (see above), you may go through a booster club, or they may pay in cash. Be prepared for all requests and process your contract as early as possible!


Market Your Strengths: The creative component is definitely the most important element! What do you offer in terms of style and technique? How are you different from other people? Why would teams and coaches want to work with you? I excel in Lyrical and Jazz with Pom rounding out my top three. I wouldn’t take on a hip-hop or kick job because it is outside of my areas of expertise. As you begin to reach out to teams, have a set of demonstrable items ready to send out: highlight reels and a developed social media presence are critical. People want to see what you have to offer! Stay aware of current trends but don’t be afraid to push the boundaries with your own signature style. Your passion for your skill set should be easy to identify!

Know the Rules: There are many variations in rules and guidelines between competitions, organizations, and states. Dance team competitions tend to have more limitations and safety structures than studio competitions, and the choreographer should be aware of these regulations before starting a job. Details about time limits, safety and lifts, prop usage, clothing, shoes, music, themes, and genre requirements are need-to-know information. For high school dance team jobs, you should become very familiar with the National Federation of State High School Associations ( This is the governing body for high school sports and performing arts activities. They publish a spirit safety and rules book every year which is a critical source for coaches and choreographers.

Networking: My involvement with National Dance Coaches Association has been incredibly valuable as I’ve expanded BGS Dance Collective. I joined the inaugural year and have been the District 6 All-Star Representative since 2017. In 2019, I was honored to receive the NDCA All-Star Coach of the Year award! I have earned my Level 1 Coaching Credential and my Judging credential through NDCA, and have opportunities to judge with various organizations throughout the country. I also made many new friends who have been extremely generous with their time and advice. Having a group of people who intimately understand the complexities, stressors, challenges, and the rewards of working with young dancers is priceless. I am particularly grateful to Carrie Smith, Teri Rowe, Toya Ambrose (TRA Choreography), Nick Clement (NKC Choreography), Chelsea Pierotti (Passionate Coach), and Bre Emigh (Bre.Choreography) for their guidance and friendship.


When I decided to focus on expanding my dance business, things really took off! Over the past four months, I streamlined my aesthetic, expanded my social media profile, embraced the art of cold-calling potential clients, learned what it takes to run a small business, and discovered that I am able to make a living doing what I love! It takes courage to pursue your dream and to put yourself out there, but you can do it. If you have a goal, get out there and chase it. We’ll have your back along the way.

Featured Member - Danielle Schneider

NDCA is proud to present our featured member, Danielle Schneider, from Oregon! Danielle wears a variety of dance team related hats and has an abundance of experiences to share. She is a high school dance team coach, a performance judge, and a current member of the Oregon DDCA Board of Directors, and former Chair. Danielle is also lending us some of her expertise in website and surveys management for NDCA.

How did you first get involved in the world of dance teams in Oregon? Tell us a little about your background and affiliations with dance.

My connection to Oregon dance team started at age 6. My Aunt (and eventually my mom) coached the team in my home town. I grew up going to practices and competitions with their teams. It was my biggest childhood dream to be on my high school dance team. I participated in studio lessons growing up and took a few dance courses in college. I also cheered at a community college for one year.

I'm currently in my 15th season of as a high school dance team coach and, 17th season as a certified performance judge. I've also coached middle school dance and high school cheer. I'm in my seventh year of serving as a Board Member of the Dance Drill Coaches Association of Oregon. I served as the DDCA Board Chair, when the DDCA started our annual fall Category Championships, an event that's run for more than a decade. This event provided a new way for our teams to compete, and I'm incredibly proud to have been part of the group that envisioned and started the fall Category Championships. This year, when I walk my team into our state competition, it will be my 30th year participating in Oregon's state dance competition.

As both a certified judge and dance team coach, how do you balance the two roles? Do you have any tips for those coaches thinking about making the transition into judging?

I try to be the best version of each when I'm in the role. When I coached in our state's 5A classification, I often judged my team's competitors. I judge for the same reason that I coach - because I want youth to have the great experiences through dance that I did: the same opportunities to build community, to be a part of something bigger than themselves, to have something that they love so much that they stay involved long after their final performance. Honestly, I believe being a coach makes me a better judge and being a judge makes me a better coach. When I'm giving feedback on a routine, I understand what coaches face each week, because I'm there in the trenches too with my own team. As a coach, I have that firsthand perspective of what judges are looking for, and of what's talked about in the judges' trainings.

Tips: Go the judges' trainings in your area. Get to know them as people and understand their perspective. But my biggest advice would be just take the leap and give judging a try.

In your experience, what are some current issues or struggles facing dance teams, coaches, and/or judges today?

Coaching has changed so much since I started 15 years ago. Each year, I'm called to serve my team in ways that I never imagined when I first started coaching. It's emotional work. Another huge impact is the length of our season. In Oregon, it's eight months not including tryouts, parades, and summer camps. Today's students have so many other things they want to try or experience. Trying to keep the experience fresh and fun for them can be a challenge.

What types of things/classes from the NDCA Conference last year made an impression on you? How were you able to apply what you learned to inspire your own team or coaching staff?

The entire conference was incredible. It was clear from the first session that a lot of time and energy had been invested to bring the best speakers to the conference. I left re-energized and ready for another year of coaching. Since the conference, I've been following Chelsea at Passionate Coach and incorporating some of her tip and tricks into our practices, and I'm trying to be better about writing out our daily goals for the team to see.

Name the top 4 things you might include on your personal "bucket list".

*Travel to all 50 states - over 60% checked off to date

*Start my own fundraising/development consulting business

*Become certified as a dance judge in another state

*Travel to London

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Tired of hearing the excuses for lost or crushed poms? No more excuses - Pom Pony to the Rescue!

Pom Pony Pom Holders are the best and smartest way to carry and store your poms. Whether going to competition, game day or just needing to keep track of them at home, Pom Pony is your answer. Say good-bye to crushed poms. Pom Ponys attach to backpacks, suitcases, or hang on hooks and closet rods or whatever you can think of. Pom Ponys will last the lifetime of your dancer and keep your poms looking great all season.

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