National Dance Coaches Association

February 2018 Newsletter

Insdie this Issue:

  • HAVE YOU REGISTERED??? Don't miss the 2018 NDCA Inaugural Conference!!!!
  • LOVE Playlist
  • Flu Season
  • 3 Judges - 5 Focus Areas
  • Video Tutorial: B - Twist
  • 10 Jobs to Keep "Busy" Parents Busy
  • Dear Old School Coach ... How To Approach A Bad Performance
  • Coach, Love Thy SELF
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A Little LOVE this Month ...

Celebrate Valentine's Day with a a LOVE playlist for practice. Search "love" in your library or search for these songs (clean versions, of course):

1. How Deep Is Your Love

2. Internationals Love - Jump Smokers Remix Clean

3. Love Don't Cost a Thing

4. Step In the Name of Love

5. Stop, In the Name of Love 2003 Remix

6. Tainted Love

7. We Found Love

8. Wild Wild Love

9. Bleeding Love

10. Seasons of Love


Q. How can we prevent the spread of the flu/viral infections in practice, performances and while traveling?

1. Wash your hands with basic, no-frills soap and water for 20 plus seconds. The CDC agrees it's one of the best things you can do for your health. Antimicrobial hand soaps have not shown to be effective and may decrease the good, protective bacteria on your skin.

2. Fist bump instead of shaking hands or giving a high five. Elbow bumps are probably even safer.

3. If you have a cough, cough in your elbow, not your hand.

4. If you become ill with a fever and flu symptoms during an epidemic, seek medical attention for potential antiviral treatment. Wear a surgical mask properly to prevent transmission to others.

5. There is evidence that excess sugar can suppress your immune system.

6. Vitamin C can reduce the frequency of colds in active people. If you are getting sick, try taking 500 mg every hour until you get gut symptoms. Then cut back the dose until the gut symptoms go away and stay on that daily dose until well.

7. Use fragrance-free products and cleaners. Scented products are a huge source of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs)—compounds that have been shown to mess with your hormones/ immune system. Experts are beginning to understand the dangers of EDCs. Some, like BPA, have been linked to obesity, cancer and infertility.

Check to see the toxicity rating of the makeup/products your athletes use.

Here is link on boosting the immune system.

Q. What are some nutrition and lifestyle tips to build the immune system for flu season?

1. SLEEP Is critical. 8 hours minimum and more if sick.


Think: WHAT DID GREAT GRANDMA EAT? In 1900, the average intake of added sugar was 2 teaspoons or 8-10 grams. Now it is 10 times that, on average. Snapple drink has 13 teaspoons of sugar. A can of pop has 8. Add in ice cream, candy, cookies, fruit drinks, and Gatorade as part of food intake and you can see how this can happen. Artificial sweeteners - most are not healthy.


Partially hydrogenated oils and added sugar (words that end in the letters ‘ose’) are hidden in convenience/packaged foods and are not advised for any of us.



Whole fruit, whole vegetables, seeds, nuts, pure nut butters, olives and avocados, fish, poultry, meat, beans, lentils and whole grains. Round out your intake with dried unsugared fruit, dark chocolate, and lots of pure water without colors, dyes and additives. Modern grains pose problems in a significant number of people. Battered and fried foods are made with modern white wheat flour and unhealthy inflammatory fats.

KEY CONCEPT: The immune system takes weeks to run down and weeks/months to rebuild so making choices using these guidelines will give your team an advantage during competition season.


Practice makes progress. We are changing culture. Put raw seeds, nuts, dried fruit, dark chocolate, fruit and water in their send off and practice bags! Get educated and creative. Encourage healthy choices when you eat out. Think vegetables, protein, seeds, nuts and fruit. Being a parent/Doc to teams over 20 years I KNOW what are in those bags, where we eat out, and the patterns in our culture. We collectively can help prevent illness/create health by making different choices daily.

Here is a great link regarding the secret of Fast Foods. Share with parents and dancers.

Q. When should I cut practice if several are sick?


General Rule: If the symptoms are “above the neck”—runny nose, congestion, sore throat—you are most likely safe to perform some mild intensity exercise for an hour. If others are ill and the dancer is slightly ill, with no fever and minimal cough, have them be at practice and listen to notes/corrections from the sidelines. Research shows that even two hours of slow paced exercise produced a decline in immune function. Common sense prevails.

One study showed that 30 minutes of treadmill running at approximately 80% intensity was shown to have no significant decrease of immune response.Therefore, if needed, LIMIT INTENSE TRAINING to 30 minutes. But if fevered, ‘body sick’ with/without a productive or deep cough, send them home to bed and sleep. Viral illnesses can be very contagious. Use FaceTime to ‘connect with the resting athlete’. Have them STAY HOME until the fever breaks and stays down on its own for at least 24 hours before returning to practice. If many are sick, consider cancelling practice and getting creative to work on corrections (FaceTime…).

KEY CONCEPT: After months of training, your dancers KNOW the routine. Be well prepared so that if they do get the flu or become ill you feel confident that they will perform better if rested and well nourished rather than pushing them to the edge.

Bio: Dr. Margaret Merrifield MD, CCFP, FCFP is a Board Certified Family Physician and Fellow in the College of Family Physicians of Canada. She has a successful Integrated Medical Practice in Richland WA and 20 years of dance world experience. Coach Teri Rowe and Dr. M are the proud mothers of daughters Carsen Rowe and Anna Miller of Tribe 99.

3 Judges - 5 Focus Areas

We contacted three judges (who all happened to be judging that weekend) and asked them to give us their top five focus areas. Here is what they said:

Judge 1:

  • Be a package deal.
  • Look head-to-toe polished.
  • Project up and out.
  • Focus on feet.
  • Fight to get out of the "mush pot." Work to create something that makes you stand out.

Judge 2:

  • Make transitions seamless.
  • Master skills before putting them in the choreography.
  • Choreography should showcase the strengths of the team.
  • Pay attention to musicality.
  • Use the entire stage.

Judge 3:

  • Don’t clean the passion out of the dance.
  • Clarify what showmanship dancers should have throughout the dance.
  • Work on stamina early and consistently.
  • Discuss what you want to accomplish at competition, and move beyond the trophy. What comments do you hope to receive from the judges? Success is about more than placement.
  • Prepare dancers for the atmosphere of competition to avoid dancers feeling overwhelmed or freezing. Visualization and performing in front of different audiences help.

Take an inventory of your competition piece with these focus areas in mind. Set goals for your competition experience and break a leg!

B - Twist Tutorial

Learn how to do a B - Twist in just 5 minutes, using these secret techniques!

10 Jobs to Keep “Busy” Parents Busy

Do you have an energetic parent of a dancer on your team who could use some direction on how to put that energy toward something that benefits you and the team? Check out our list to get some ideas.

1. Contact the newspaper about your team’s latest competition success and get your team much deserved recognition.

2. Bring the team a surprise dinner or snacks to a long practice.

3. Beef up the team’s first aid kit.

4. Set up a team bonding activity.

5. Create a “FAN Package” for competition that includes a shirt, rooter poms, signs, buttons, etc. Sell it to team family members and friends.

6. Organize team send-off gifts.

7. Take costume inventory and clean out the costume closet.

8. Pack and carry the “extras” bag to competition (extra earrings, tights, etc.)

9. Have a team banner made.

10. Orchestrate a parent dinner/activity during competition trip when the team is busy and parents are not.

Dear Old School Coach ...

How to Approach a Bad Performance


How do you approach your team right after they have a bad performance at competition? The coaching staff at my school just received an email from our AD stating we can't use punishment running as a method during our practices, which is fine by me, I don't typically use it anyway. However, his alternative suggestion was simply benching the athlete for a game. Which got me thinking about how benching someone would go over on my team. I don't have alternates, and all dances utilize all of my dancers. If I bench someone, then I'm reworking and fixing formations for entire routines. It ends up being more of a punishment on me and the rest of the team. Any suggestions on alternative behavior correction methods? Should I just make sure I always have alternates? Or should I suck it up and bench the dancer?


I have to start by saying that I don’t know if this is HS or College and there is a difference. Let’s say it’s HS. I’ll start by saying I’m a hard-core disciplinarian who “says it like it is”. I have high standards and I expect my teams to also. I’m goal oriented. If I have a team who doesn’t live up to their potential in a performance OR a competition, they’ll know it. Recognizing that – timing and delivery of that message can be everything.

Then there’s this; If I had an AD who said I couldn’t discipline my team with running or any other such “stick your nose in our business” type of edict, that AD and I would be parting ways. Does that AD tell the basketball or football coach that he or she can’t make the team run if they don’t perform? Seriously. Dance team is a sport not a prissy little girl’s club. I’d make sure THAT gets sorted out like.. yesterday.

That being said – now that I’ve established I don’t like being told what to do – I am accustomed to using discipline or “punishment” if you will for “willful misbehavior”. By that I mean – intentional breaking of rules. What we are talking about here sounds like a sub-par performance. For that – you have to identify the reason why that happened. And I think it unlikely that punishment of any kind would be appropriate or effective in this case.

A bad competition performance is complicated. Were they unprepared? Was that due to lack of time/practice/ preparation? Was that due to lack of work ethic? Was that due to lack of mental focus? Was it lack of effort or lack of passion? Was it team drama? Was it fear? Was it lack of sleep or nutrition? Was it the wrong choreography? Or was it just a bad day? Not on the list was “they did it on purpose”. Because if they did that, you have deeper problems. The point is I think you have to get to the root FIRST, and your answer as to how to approach it lies therein. This may involve a lecture or motivational speech, a slo-mo review of the video, a benching of the “weak link”, some team counseling, demotion of team officers (because they’ve impacted morale or had dereliction of duty) , extra practices, some re-focus, extra conditioning, some soul searching as to your responsibility for it, or some combination of these. Nowhere on the list is “punishment”. You can bring your team back to competition strength by finding out what went wrong – and going from there.

Coach, Love Thy SELF

February is traditionally known as a time for celebrating love. During this time, our minds may drift to ideas about how to celebrate others or how we might like others to celebrate us. How about the idea that we can celebrate ourselves?

Dance coaches need to practice a lot of self love. Called to their profession by a deep love and passion for the art of dance, coaches often pour so much of themselves into helping dancers become superlative dance technicians. They are tasked with the choreography and perfection of multiple dance routines, costuming, managing the business of the team and many other responsibilities that are required to produce a successful dance program. The greatest gift a coach can give a team is the modeling of self love by self care. Modeling self love is something dancers will take with them long after their bodies lose the ability to execute a three combination turning sequence ending in a triple leg hold turn.

Coaches are often the first to become aware of a problem a dancer has in some area of life. Many dancers struggle with managing the daily requirements of school, work, relationships, and team commitments. There is a significant increase of anxiety and depression among young students today. It is imperative dancers have a coach who can identify and support both the physical and emotional health of a dancer and direct them to the appropriate resource where their issues may be properly addressed. The buy-in however, is that a dancer must have the confidence that their coach not only believes in but also lives this message of self care.

In what areas can coaches model good self care?

  • Having proper nutritional habits,
  • Taking breaks to give your body a rest thereby reducing injuries and illness,
  • Watching for signs of and managing your own burnout potential (you are no good to your team if you are having signs and symptoms of burnout),
  • Seeking emotional support when needed,
  • Placing boundaries around your time and availability for others, and
  • Taking the time to engage in nurturing activities for yourself and spending time with loved ones.

When teaching dancers to care for themselves, coaches must exemplify the lesson. Dancers who are witness to self care will be more likely to heed the advice and live the lessons learned. In doing so, coaches who practice self care are happier, last longer in their jobs, have better outcomes in physical and emotional well being, and as an added bonus, everyone around you benefits from your good self care habits. So in this month of love take the time to do what is good for your mind, body and soul and celebrate you!

Bio: Donna Fleming is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist and Dance Teacher who resides in Carlsbad, California

“A violinist had a violin, a painter his palette. All I had was myself. I was the instrument that I must care for.” Josephine Baker


The NDCA strives to educate, inspire, and advocate the coaches of college, high school and all star dance teams, while providing a positive experience for all involved in the dance team community.