February 2020

National Dance Coaches Association

In This Issue:

  • Register for your 2020 NDCA National Dance Coaches Conference
  • Looking for Volunteers
  • Resource: Having a bad day? Show your dancers how to turn it around.
  • FREE Offer for Members: mUvmethod
  • Resource: Rules vs. Standards
  • NDCA Swag
  • Featured Member - Kelly Berheide
  • February Featured Partner - Varsity Brands
  • Thank you to our NDCA Partners


It's time to REGISTER for this year's NDCA National Dance Coaches Conference in Nashville, TN, May 14 - 16, 2020. Check out the link below to find out all the information you need to know.
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Looking for Volunteers

We are looking for people to help spread the word about NDCA by serving as a State Representative. If you are willing to help in your state, please email info@nationaldancecoaches.org.

Resource: Having a bad day? Check out this video on how to turn it around!

How to Stay Positive on a Bad Day | Robin Sharma

FREE Resource for NDCA Members

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What is mUvmethod?

mUvmethod is a conditioning program for dancers based on yoga and pilates and backed by science. We specialize in weekly stretching made safe, easy and effective.

At mUvmethod we believe that the majority of dancers are limited by flexibility and joint range of motion, rather than strength.

Which is why we’ve created a number of Free Stretch Resources and Training Programs. In order to provide dancers and dance educators with the tools and techniques needed to help dancers move beyond their limitations in flexibility and joint range and meet the new demands of dance.

We believe that you, as dance educators, deserve absolute clarity when it comes to the fundamentals of safe and effective stretching. You deserve to know exactly what to stretch, when to stretch and how to stretch.

Not only that, you deserve step-by-step guidance when it comes to implementing a comprehensive, up-to-date, safe and effective weekly stretch curriculum for dancers.

You deserve to be less overwhelmed by all of the noise out there and how it relates to improving a dancers flexibility and joint range of motion!

Therefore we wanted to share our FREE Stretch Guide with you!

This resource provides some information around the fundamentals of safe and effective stretching, along with a balanced 20 minute stretch sequence that you can start teaching your dancers today.

This Stretch Guide will help you:

  • Save Time

  • Maximize Your stretch Efforts

  • Stretch ALL Muscle Groups (not just your hamstring and inner hips)

  • Avoid Overstretching

  • Avoid Under Stretching

  • Create Consistency

  • Safely Maximize Overall Flexibility and Joint Range

  • Decrease Pain and Risk of Injury.

It is crucial to understand that the right stretches act as the prerequisite to all dance related movements and skills. From first position to the most awe inspiring arabesque the right stretches ensure that dancers meet the necessary flexibility milestones to move beyond limitations in flexibility and reach their full potential.

The stretch programs we offer at mUvmethod stretch the following major muscle groups:

  • Hip Flexors and Anterior Thigh (Quad)

  • Outer Hip and Lateral Thigh

  • Deep 6 External Hip Rotator

  • Hamstrings and Calves

  • Inner Hip and Thigh

  • Shoulder, Mid Back and Spine

And improve the following dance skills:

  • Turn Out

  • Passe

  • Leg Extensions

  • Leg Holds

  • Grande Battements

  • Tilts

  • Grande Jetes

  • Front Splits

  • Middle Splits

  • All Leaps

  • And much, much more

Also, if you would like to include a link to start our Level 1 Flexibility Training + Weekly Stretch Curriculum FREE 7-day Trial. Here is the link for that.


Support NDCA by purchasing NDCA swag. The campaign closes on February 11th, and all items will ship between February 21st and March 3rd.

Resource: Rules vs. Standards by Justin Brandt

It's the time of year when dancers get tired and are tempted to take shortcuts. It might be a good time to revisit your team standards and get everyone back on the same page. Here is an article to get back in focus.

There are major differences between the two terms, even in their simplest of forms, the definitions. Provided below are the results for the two words if you were to search for them on Google.

Rule – one of a set of explicit or understood regulations or principles governing conduct within a particular activity or sphere.

Standard – a level of quality or attainment. An idea or thing used as a measure, norm or model in comparative evaluations.

By definition alone you can see that rules are very forceful and demeaning. In fact, if you were to reference a thesaurus for synonyms for words used in the definition, you would also find words such as “command”, “controlling” and “dominant”. Individuals are forced to bow DOWN and abide by a set of rules they may not even agree with. On the contrary, if you did a similar search for standards you would find words such as “character”, “individuality”, “genius”, and “virtue”. In this case, individuals rise UP in the situation to increase their likelihood of success. Thus, by definition alone, rules are negative, while standards are positive.

During an interview, Coach Mike Krzyzewski once described his reasoning for use of standards instead of rules by stating, “When I was at West Point, we had a bunch of rules, all of which I didn’t agree with. Usually when you’re ruled, you never agree with all the rules, you just abide by them. But if you have standards and if everyone contributes to the way you’re going to do things, you end up owning how you do things.”

Take a moment to reflect upon this statement with the provided example. You are abiding by the rules just because it’s what you are supposed to do. So instead of running the floor with reasoning, maybe because the team you are playing against enjoys slowing the pace, you jog because it’s January and you are tired of running due to the rule. Or, my favorite, for the purpose of “because I said so”. Sound familiar?

Unfortunately, the reasoning provided above is far from being bizarre or a foreign concept. Knowing the why is the first step to buying into anything! You rarely spend your money on products without any reasoning behind it, why would you spend your time, something that has no return policy, on buying into a rule that makes no sense to you?

While knowing the why is the first step when it comes to buying into anything, that does not mean it stops after day one. You will have to continue to reinforce the why on a regular basis. Your standards should also be relevant, realistic, have background data to support them, be developing and have consequences.

Relevant. The easiest way to make standards relevant is to gain input from your athletes. It is very easy to look up standards from other great teams and attempt to implement them. However, as Coach K said before in his interview, “if everyone contributes to the way you’re going to do things, you end up owning how you do things.” Ownership cannot be understated. When people don’t live up to the standards that they put into place, you can hold them accountable for both the decision they made to set the standard and the decision they made to not live up to it. Coaches, support staff and athletes alike.

Realistic and Background Data. I put these two in the same section because they work harmoniously. Your standards must be realistic for your players to live up to. If your team is young and struggling with turnovers, don’t set your standard to zero turnovers. It’s unrealistic to expect someone to go from 10 turnovers in a game to none. You wouldn’t expect a beginner weightlifter to squat two and half times their body weight, so why should your basketball player be any different? With that, you must provide some background data not only to hold them accountable, but to provide them with a standard to live up to.

Developing. Once your players reach the standard consistently, it is time to raise the bar. In doing so, you promote a growth environment as opposed to a simple living at status quo. But remember to keep it realistic.

Consequences. While it is the least favorite portion of most people’s programs, consequences are essential to growth. You can talk goals, rules or standards until you’re blue in the face, but if there’s nothing there to hold you accountable afterwards, the majority of the population will continue to come up short. However, like your standards, make sure that your consequences are realistic and appropriate. The days where coaches make their student athletes run 30 suicides because they missed one free throw should be long gone. ESPECIALLY, if you have a coaching philosophy of running and scoring in transition. By punishing athletes with running, they associate running with a negative consequence. Do not make punishments as you go, have them predetermined, this way your emotions from the situation don’t dictate what happens in the moment.

The quick summary… Standards are instinctively more positive than rules. Rules encompass negative connotations and empower the coach/supervisor while standards inspire everyone in the program to contribute/grow their level of excellency. In order to set standards, you should be able to answer the why, make them relevant, realistic, have background data to support your standards, make sure they are always developing and growing and you MUST enforce consequences. The question you have to ask of yourself, staff and athletes now is, what standards do you want to set in order to raise your level of excellency?

To see the full article, go to https://www.coachestoolbox.net/program-building/rules-vs-standards

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Featured Member - Kelly Berheide

NDCA is pleased to feature Kelly Berheide – our current Co-Director of the NDCA Judge Credential Program! Kelly is a former high school dance team and winter guard director; her teams have held both state and national titles. She has served on the board of directors for the Indiana HS Dance Team Association, Indiana HS Color Guard Association, and the Mid-Continent Color Guard Association. She is currently serving the Indiana HS Dance Team Association as a Head Judge and Coordinator. Kelly has choreographed several halftime shows: Auto Zone Liberty Bowl, Alamo Bowl, Gator Bowl, and the National Special Olympics. On top of this, she is the Vice Principal at Elkhart HS in Indiana.

You have worn several hats in the dance team and color guard world. What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment with these organizations so far?

I think the biggest accomplishment for each genre of the pageantry arts world is the wonderful relationships I have formed. I still have close ties with many of my former students, their parents and all of the directors and co-directors I had the pleasure of working with. The titles, trophies and accolades were nice, but it is the people that I remember the most. That is still true as I work as the NDCA co-director of the judging program. I have met and have had the pleasure of working with great people. That’s my most treasured accomplishment.

As co-director of the NDCA judging program, what process do potential candidates need to complete in order to become a nationally certified judge? Do they need to be currently judging in their home state?

The process to become a nationally certified judge is as follows:

· Join NDCA as a Judge

· Attend the NDCA conference in May and take our Proficient level classes. There are 3 classes in the proficient level: Introduction to judging, Separating Artistic & Technical Elements, and Giving Better Feedback/Verbal and Written

· The in-seat classes are the most effective and interactive, but we also offer on-line classes via Zoom conference calls. Either way, we have great discussion on the art of judging.

· After the judge has completed the classes and has had an opportunity to judge a few times, Joni May (co-director) and I have a meeting/discussion with our Proficient candidates on how the judging experience has gone for each of them. We answer questions, discuss any difficulties the judges may have experienced. Many of the judges send us verbal critiques to listen to and give feedback for them. After the group or individual meeting, the judge is awarded their NDCA credentialed judge pin. Joni and I have found the entire experience very rewarding and we have received great feedback from our judge colleagues.

· The Advanced Judging Level Credentialing class is offered in seat and on-line. The Advanced Level offers information on how to profile your scores and why competitions outcomes sometimes occur the way they do. The Advanced level credential includes scoring labs that allow the judge to score teams, compare their outcomes to others and discuss those outcomes.

· The third judge credential level is in the research and development phase.

· Judging for your state dance team associations is not necessary. We realize that not all states have active associations. Everyone who has been a part of dance team is welcome to join us.

What are the benefits of getting NDCA Judge certified? For any coaches thinking of judging, can you give some advice on how judging might help coaches or teams become better?

There are several benefits to becoming a NDCA credentialed judge.

o Looking at the art of judging in a holistic way

o Learning to give the teams feedback “in the moment”

o Learning to judge each sub-caption independently and not allowing one sub-caption to affect others

o Collaborating with other judges to become a better judge, and networking with others

o Networking with others

o Opening our minds to new thoughts and opinions

Training to be a judge or just taking the judge training while you are coaching would be of great benefit to coaches and their teams. The value of looking at the program from a different lens can be a huge asset helping the team to become better. Knowing and understanding what score sheets mean can help the coach produce a better product.

Lastly, what are you most looking forward to in the new year?

I laugh at this question. I just want to survive. My life is crazy right now. I have about a bazillion jobs. My real job is the Vice-Principal at a large high school. My school system is merging our two high schools into one. I will be the principal of the Arts and Communication school next school yea. This entails planning the new school, assembling the new staff, designing curriculum, even finding someone to write a new school song, new school colors and many other responsibilities, all while doing my current job. Along with this I am also the judge coordinator for the Indiana High School Dance Team Association. AND OF COURSE, the NDCA judge program. So yeah, I am just looking forward to surviving.

February Featured Partner - Varsity Brands

With Varsity Spirit’s three dance brands, Universal Dance Association, National Dance Alliance, and United Spirit Association, dancers and coaches across the nation receive cutting-edge material, knowledge and experiences to prepare for their season. Varsity Spirit is the largest camp operator in the world, and our camps are run by leaders and experts in dance team training. Varsity Spirit offers a wide variety of camp types to meet your team’s unique needs. Looking for the perfect camp location? Contact one of our Dance State Directors who can assist you in choosing from one of our many camp locations and camp types.

Universal Dance Association

Get ready to make it WOW this summer at UDA Camp! With a combination of innovative material and the most talented staff to mentor and train your dancers, UDA Camp will ensure this season is SUPER and an unforgettable experience for your entire team.

Take a look at the 2020 UDA Summer Camp Brochure here.


National Dance Alliance

At NDA Camp, your team can #PursueGreatness! With innovative curriculum, focused team bonding, and specialty technique classes for all levels and styles, you and your team will leave camp filled with memories and feeling prepared for the season ahead! Check out the 2020 NDA Summer Camp Brochure here.


United Spirit Association

Dancing is about CONNECTING with the movement, the style and the choreography. This summer Make The Connection at USA Camp! From Leadership/Officers camp to Performance Dance and Elite Invitationals (and everything in between) the USA Dance program has a camp to fit the needs of any team!

To view the 2020 USA Summer Camp Brochure, click here


Thank You to Our NDCA Partners!