How to get on dance mom
How Do You Get Cast On 'Dance Moms'? The Audition Process Is A Lot More Hollywood Than It Seems
by Allison Piwowarski
Is anything what it seems on reality TV? Here I've been thinking that all the stars of Dance Moms are just Abby Lee Dance Company dancers (and their moms) who have trained with Abby and happen to be on the show. Turns out, I am a gullible gal, because there's a lot more Hollywood pizzazz thrown into the casting of Dance Moms than you'd think. If you ever found yourself wondering, "How do all of these moms who want their daughters to be stars just magically show up on this series?" it's because the only magic involved is Hollywood magic. So what does that casting process look like?
Well, the show doesn't just pick any mom of the Abby Lee Dance Company parent pool. Why? Because some of those moms could be noncompetitive, and supportive of every child, and basically, a total bore to watch on television. Dance Moms lives on highly emotional situations, and to ensure that the current season is as drama-packed as the next, casting needs to be a little more selective.
That's why there is a website for an open casting call for Dance Moms ! Now technically, I, a 23-year-old non-mother, could apply too, but I wouldn't be selected (or maybe I would if I put my Creative Writing degree to good use... In that case, watch out Maddie Ziegler, my imaginary daughter is coming for your solo). But after the casting directors weed through the phonies (like me), they are left with a special pile of names of potential new Dance Moms cast members, and the picking begins.
So what does this application look like? First, it has the usual questions:
- Name of parent(s)
- Name of dancer
- Current studio
- Video links to dance solos
Then, things take a turn for the specific. This is where the casting producers will separate the Brookes from the Maddies (if you will). Here are a handful of questions the casting application will ask you, and how I think a real Dance Mom would respond.
How Good Is Your Kid?
What Casting Is Looking For: Here is where a Dance Mom says how amazing her dancer is. This is not a place to hold back the dedication to making sure people know that you've got a star on your hands.
How You Should Answer: "On a scale from 1-10? My child is a Beyonce. Whether she is doing pirouettes or tumbling, those that watch her think they've been touched by an angel."
How Important Is Dance To You?
What Casting Is Looking For: You live, breathe, die, dance.
How You Should Answer: "I live, breathe, die, dance."
Who Is Your Kid's Biggest Competition In The Dance World?
What Casting Is Looking For: Here is where Dance Moms have to show their knowledge of the dance competition world. You can't just say, "Someone who can spin around four times, 'cuz my little baby can only spin thrice. "
How You Should Answer: "Maddie Ziegler"
Which Moms OnDance Moms Would You Butt Heads With?
What Casting Is Looking For: Again, you want to show some knowledge of the show, so this is a great time to name drop.
How You Should Answer: Name every single one of the current season moms.
After the applications are sent in, there is a open call where mothers and dancers attend. That's where the face-to-face happens, and you actually have to show up with a child dancer (so, I'm officially out). From the looks of sites promoting the open call, the casting call for the 2015 season was in Los Angeles. It's a long way from Pittsburgh, but the most dedicated Dance Moms hopefuls wouldn't let that get in their way.
Images: Scott Gries/Lifetime; Giphy (5)
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How to teach a child to dance at home
Dancing is a fun and positive activity that has absolutely no age restrictions. Already in the first year of their life, babies make their first dance movements to the music - they clap, squat, stomp their feet. As children grow older and develop motor skills, they are able to master more and more complex elements of dance, but for this they need the help and support of their parents.
We stimulate the desire to dance
Having noticed a preschooler's interest in dancing, mothers and fathers try to develop it and, as a rule, enroll the child in classes at dance studios. Moreover, many parents simply do not know how to teach their child to dance at home on their own, so they prefer to leave it in the hands of experienced coaches. Such a decision is logical and rational if you want to "grow" a professional dancer out of your baby. In most cases, namely for general development and just pleasure, classes with a child of 3-6 years old can be carried out at home.
Parents need to remember and understand that dance is, first of all, a way of self-expression. An impromptu free dance reflects the characteristics of a person’s character, his temperament. Each child dances in their own way: someone jumps rhythmically to the beat of the music, someone modestly shifts from foot to foot, and someone demonstrates original movements. The task of parents is not to "reshape" their baby's dance style, but to help him develop his potential and become liberated, if necessary.
Moms and dads do not need to schedule classes with their baby - the beauty of home dancing is that you can do it at any time. Heard a rhythmic song on the radio - dance, clean the house to the music - find time for dancing. With a child of 3-4 years old, it is not even necessary to learn specific dances, because. at this age, it is enough to simply develop general musicality, plasticity and a sense of rhythm.
It is very important to decide on the choice of musical material that stimulates the child's desire to dance. Watch the baby's reaction to individual songs - some compositions will make him feel sad, and some will lift him up and make him dance.
From easy to hard
Preschoolers soak up information at an incredible rate, so don't be surprised if you see your toddler diligently copying dance moves from a recent video clip. Children are open to new knowledge and skills, but it will take some time to master them. If a child fails to reproduce the dance he likes, it is necessary to support him and help him learn the movements. This should be done gradually, without pushing and, moreover, without criticizing the baby.
Some parents are in a hurry to choose the right dance style for their child right away. Moreover, the decisive factor is usually the personal preferences of mom and dad, and not the desire of the baby. It is important to understand here that dancing is creativity and a way of self-expression, so the right to choose still belongs to the child himself. Perhaps the kid does not want to limit himself to one style at all and dances, rather, for pleasure, and not to achieve a certain result.
The process of teaching a child to dance should be exciting, presented in a playful way. You can start with improvisations - just turn on the music, dance yourself and invite your baby to join you. Already at this stage, it is possible to assess the general potential of a preschooler, as well as the degree of his enthusiasm and sense of rhythm. Gradually move on to learning easy dance moves:
- rocking from side to side.
For an adult, such elements seem very simple, but children aged 3-4 years have to work hard to perform them correctly. Be sure to demonstrate all the movements yourself and encourage the baby, even if he does not perform them quite confidently.
Gradually begin to "link" the individual elements into a dance - combine them using stomps and claps as transitions. Learning even such easy dances develops the attention, memory and coordination of the child, which is very important at preschool age. The main thing is not to get hung up on the quality of movements and let the baby enjoy the process.
And a few more tips for parents helping their child learn to dance:
- Encourage your child to dance . Give compliments, praise, but do not overdo it - a few words of praise will be enough to cheer up the baby.
- Choose dances that suit your child's temperament . It is difficult for active and restless children to concentrate while performing a waltz, and moving dances are not easy for calm and relaxed children.
- Cultivate a love of music . If a child likes music, then it will be easier for him to dance - a sense of rhythm and a musical mood greatly facilitate the learning process.
- Organize home discos. Some children, even having excellent dancing skills, are simply too shy to dance. In this case, they need to be helped to overcome their modesty, to become liberated. And you can do this with the help of home discos, where the baby will feel calmer and more confident.
Over time, parents will decide for themselves when to send their child to dances, and whether it is worth it at all. Perhaps the kid will not want to go to classes at the dance studio, but will be happy to dance at home when he hears his favorite song. The main thing is that when making a decision, the desire of the child himself must be taken into account.
Does your baby like to dance? Does he usually dance at home, or did you enroll him in a dance studio? How do you think you can teach a child to dance on their own?
How to dance with a child at home. Tips from experts on how to teach children to dance on their own
Dancing is a natural human state. Starting from the age of 6-8 months, babies begin to move with pleasure to the beat of music, and having learned to walk, they stomp to their favorite songs. Between these spontaneous movements and a real expressive dance is not such a big gap. But to dance really fully and physiologically correctly you need to learn. And dance classes are very useful for children, and, importantly, give the children pleasure. Consider when to start learning to dance and how best to build homework with young children.
The benefits of dancing for the development of the baby
First, let's figure out whether it is necessary to dance in childhood and whether regular dancing classes bring benefits to the development of the child. First of all, dance is a motor activity that is necessary for every person. Classes contribute to a harmonious load on all muscle groups, make the child more resilient and dexterous, improve his coordination and orientation in space.
In addition, dancing develops:
- sense of rhythm;
- ability to understand music;
- formation of neural connections.
Dancing trains memory (the child has to memorize movements), helps to gain a beautiful posture and self-confidence. Classes contribute to the development of intelligence, the ability to concentrate on tasks, the ability to set goals and achieve them. All these skills will be useful to the child not only in further schooling, but also in adulthood.
We must not forget about social development. Even if you decide to study on your own at home, the baby has to interact with you, the child learns discipline, learns to listen and understand an adult, perform new tasks, and overcome laziness.
Even more benefits from teamwork. Here, kids learn to interact with each other, in practice they understand how important mutual assistance is, if the dances are paired, then they master the distribution of roles in the dance and gain communication skills.
At what age to start dancing with a child
You can teach your child to music at an early age. You can play music for newborns, sing lullabies or funny nursery rhymes to your child. When the baby begins to coordinate his movements, add stomping, clapping, give the child a tambourine, spoons, bells or drums. You can also take the baby in your arms and move yourself to light music. Such joint exercises help to form a sense of rhythm.
As for regular classes, it depends on the individuality of the child. Some children are able to perform simple movements as early as 2-2.5 years old, and some find it difficult to concentrate on classes even at 4. . If you think that your baby is already ready, try some joint activities at home, if it doesn’t work out, put your attempts aside for a while. There is no need to rush things and force the child to do what he is not yet ready for. This can discourage not only dancing, but also other activities.
How to properly start learning and get your child interested
As already mentioned, the main thing is not to rush things and approach learning smoothly. It is also important to interest the child, because if the baby himself wants to learn to dance, then it will be much easier for him than if he simply fulfilled the desire of his mother.
At the conscious age of a child, you can start showing performances of professional dancers, children's groups or solo dances of his peers. Choose colorful and understandable numbers, try to choose not too long programs to watch with fairly simple choreography and clear rhythmic music.
Ask the child if he wants to learn to dance too, dance with him yourself. Even if he never managed to get into the rhythm, praise him, tell him that he will make an excellent dancer.
It is worth noting that here parents may encounter some difficulties. The fact is that most children are absolutely sure that they already know how to dance. Preschoolers are incapable of being critical of themselves. To them, antics and chaotic jumps in front of the mirror seem no less beautiful than the perfected pirouettes of a professional ballerina. In no case do not convince the child that he still knows nothing. Show him some more difficult movement and offer to practice more to learn. Offer to learn a specific little dance, etc.
Another incentive that can be used is professional clothing. Even with self-study at home, buy ballet shoes for a child, a swimsuit and a tutu for a girl, and beautiful dance pants and a T-shirt for a boy. Take a trip to a specialty store with your child, let him choose the right clothes for dancing for himself, do not argue, even if you get a completely wild combination of colors. The child will definitely want to wear a beautiful, self-chosen outfit and try it out in class.
Sign up for a trial lesson
Choose movements that children can do and gradually increase their difficulty. You can try the following items:
- stomping and clapping;
- side steps;
The first dance moves should be clear and not multiple, gradually complicate the compositions.
How to choose music
Classes with a child should not be monotonous and boring. Small children cannot work for hours to the same melody, honing movements to perfection. Therefore, you need to pick up a whole collection of music suitable for classes.
Of course, you need to purposefully learn dance compositions and links, and not just move to the music (although the latter is also good), but try to diversify your classes. You can use different melodies:
- for warm-up;
- for musical breaks during classes;
- for coordination and stretching exercises, etc.
Be sure to consider your child's preferences, age and temperament when choosing music. If you have a fidget growing up, choose fast, rhythmic music. If the child is a little slow and thoughtful, calm smooth melodies will suit him.
It is also important that your baby likes music. You can try dancing to tunes from your favorite cartoons or to popular children's songs. Gradually diversify melodies, introduce classical music. This will allow not only to learn how to dance, but also to acquaint the child with a variety of genres of music. For example, five-six-year-olds are quite capable of mastering musical compositions to Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker or Shostakovich's Dancing Dolls.
Professional advice: how to properly dance with children and what not to do
- All classes for preschoolers should be conducted in a playful way, all movements should be accompanied by words. Children have a well-developed figurative imagination, and if in the process of training you “walk like a duck”, “flap your wings”, jump like a grasshopper, then the baby will quickly remember all the necessary movements and postures.
- Change your activity more often. Even a six-year-old cannot concentrate on one activity for more than fifteen minutes. Your lessons should be dynamic. You can, in addition to warming up and learning dance, include elements of finger gymnastics, outdoor games and arbitrary rhythmic movements to music, stretching exercises, etc. in your classes.
- Never force a child to do something that greatly exceeds his current abilities. If something does not work out, do not scold the baby and do not focus on failure, just switch to another activity.
- Never yell at a child, scold or make harsh remarks. If the kid does not succeed, he indulges or simply does not want to listen to the teacher, show patience and tact. This will give better results than criticism and swearing.
- Don't make the lessons too long. With three-four-year-olds, you can practice for 45 minutes maximum. In this case, you should change the type of activity every 10-15 minutes. The older the child gets, the longer your lessons can be (but no more than an hour and a half) and the longer you can practice each movement or exercise.
- Dancing for yourself is wonderful. However, you should also think about the audience. Public speaking is an important stage in a child's development. They teach not to be afraid of the public, give self-confidence, allow you to share your success with the audience. You need to not only learn dance compositions, but also think about where and how your child can demonstrate their art. Arrange concerts for grandparents, for other relatives. If the kid attends a kindergarten, arrange with the teachers so that he performs with a learned number at the next holiday. Invite your child to prepare a room for a family holiday or for the birthday of one of his friends. Such performances will allow the child to be liberated, determine the purpose of the classes, evaluate their progress, and maintain interest in training.
- It is possible that sooner or later your little one will outgrow home workouts. Then it will be possible to find a good dance school for him. From a certain age, it is more interesting for children to engage in a team, in addition to communication, the child is waiting for performances, preparing costumes and other pleasant moments associated with the life of a professional dancer.
- Children learn the world by copying adults. Therefore, you should not just give instructions, but be a part of what is happening. This is especially important if you are practicing individual homework. Show your child the movements, repeat it with him, participate in games and do a warm-up.