How to start a school dance team

Beginner Dance Team Coaching Tips for School Coaches – Rookie Mentor

Being a coach for any team can be incredibly overwhelming, and this is especially true if you are also a young teacher. Finding a balance between your day job and your coaching gig is like walking a tightrope, and if you are not careful, you may topple over. If you are a new dance team coach, then you may quickly learn that coaching a dance team involves more work than you initially realized. 

Our keys to a successful dance team and season are as follows;

  • Fostering a Family-Like Environment
  • Building Leadership
  • Rules and Expectations
  • Keeping a Schedule
  • Fundraising, Major Purchases, and More!

From the first day you accepted the position as coach of the school’s dance team, you were most likely bombarded with questions about costumes, dance camp and choreographers. Oh and the “dance moms” asking the questions, they typically don’t want to wait for you to find out those answers.

The good news is that getting control of your team and learning to balance work life with dance team life is absolutely do-able though.

Our list for a successful dance season is not exhaustive; it is actually very basic. If you are going to run a successful dance team you will learn that there is so much more that goes on behind the scenes, but this list is a great place to get started. Keep reading to learn more about the basics of running a successful dance team.

How Do I Create a Family Environment?

Creating a family environment takes time. Teamwork building is crucial in the early days of dance team practice.

Typically, dance team tryouts occur at the end of a school year and practice begins in April and May for the next school year.

Of course, your dance team will more than likely attend a dance camp over the summer, so using those early days as team-building efforts can greatly boost the environment of your dance team.

Be aware that some dance moms are no friend to the careful loving, supportive team environment that you create. In fact, there could be some dance moms who are far more successful at tearing down positivity than embracing it.

Getting the dance moms on your side early is an important step in building this family environment.

Related post: Why Coaches Should Encourage Parents to Attend Sports Practice

Our favorite tactic for getting dance moms on board is to let them feel like they are a part of the decision-making process (though this doesn’t mean you need to action everything they suggest).

Finally, having your dance team feel like a family is important for their success. Dance teams need to move together as if each individual child was one person melded together.

You are never going to achieve that kind of cohesiveness if you do not put in the effort to build a positive environment for your team.

Read: What Does A Team Parent Do? 17 Ways To Stop A Coaches Headache

Dance Team Leadership

Having the right girls in leadership positions on your team will make all of the difference.

Typically, dance captains are chosen through a combination of seniority and try-out scores.

We will make the point, though, that as the coach you will have the opportunity to write your own rules regarding how leadership positions are chosen (more on that later.)

We strongly urge you to consider allowing the girls to ‘apply’ for leadership positions within your team. Having the right child in a leadership position can really take the pressure off of you as a coach.

By moving beyond the simple seniority and technique model, you will be able to truly see the potential in your girls. The more experienced girls are not always the most motivated leaders and that can make a huge difference.

Interested in learning about choosing captains? Check out this post.

Setting Up Rules and Expectations

Setting up a handbook for your dance team can be an extraordinarily daunting task. After all, whatever it is that you put in this handbook will be the guiding force for your team for an entire school year.

This dance team handbook has been refined over several years of learning experiences, and we can share the tips and tricks with you. However, keep in mind that you should make your handbook your own.

Here is a brief description of each of the sections in our dance team handbook:

The Overview: This is where you describe yourself as a coach. Detail goals for the dance team in this section. The idea is to give the girls a fair idea of what to expect during their time on the dance team.

Eligibility Requirements: This is very important. What are the requirements for your team to remain eligible to dance? Do they need a certain GPA? How many excused/unexcused practices are they allowed? Also, review school policies regarding physicals, drug tests, insurance liability, etc.

Dancer Responsibilities: Young dancers need a very clear layout of the expectations placed on them. We believe you should give the dancers a very specific outline of what is expected from them at each of the following events:

  1. Practices
  2. Choreography/Dance Camp
  3. 3) Game Day/Performances, 4) Fundraisers.

Lay out your expectations for behavior, conduct, attire, and routines for each of these events.

Merits and Demerits: You will quickly learn that you may sometimes get a phone call from one of your athletes’ teachers regarding both positive and negative behavior in the classroom.

Why don’t you implement the classic system of merits and demerits?

Include this section in the handbook so that dancers are aware from the very beginning what the rewards and punishments are for merits and demerits.

Keeping a Schedule

Scheduling dance practice can be a bit of a headache – but trust us on this one!

Especially if you have dancers who simultaneously dance for a competitive dance studio, you may find that scheduling conflicts happen more often than not.

Scheduling weekly, recurring practices is absolutely the best formula when working with dance team scheduling.

An even better practice is to announce those weekly practices before tryouts. Dancers who dance for a competitive studio will be able to work for their studio classes around your weekly practices.

Fundraising, Major Purchases, and More!

Being a member of middle or high school dance team can quickly become expensive.

Parents will immediately look to you for advice about how much fundraising will be done by the team and how much they will realistically expect to spend on the dance team.


Learning how to effectively fundraise truly is an art. Parents expect to fundraise, but they do not want to have to pedal candles door to door in their neighborhood. Therefore, fundraising becomes a creative endeavor. You will have to find what works for you, but we are going to list a few of the great successes below.

Host a School Formal

Hosting a middle school winter formal can be a large money maker for you.

Middle school students typically do not get a prom and they crave the same fun experiences their older siblings get to enjoy.

Hosting a semi-formal for middle school students requires renting a building and gathering some decorations, but for the most part your dancers are able to get most of the leg work done.

This is a good opportunity for the team to practice some dance moves too!

Sell Candy-Cane Grams

This is a quick and easy fundraiser than can be done with virtually any holiday.

Simply sell the grams for $1, have the students fill out a form, attach a message to a piece of candy and deliver!

What Do We Need to Purchase?

Each girl needs a dance team uniform. Most dance teams have two uniforms: one for basketball season and one for football season. The team will also need jazz shoes and hip hop shoes for wear on the football field. Additionally, the team needs pom poms that coordinate with their uniforms for pom routines.

Further, most schools purchase two or three matching outfits to wear to dance camp. These same outfits can be worn in parades or casual performances at later dates if desired.

Your dance team will also want to attend a dance camp, these are hosted in each state and usually occur on a college campus. This can get expensive, so you want to start crunching numbers as soon as you can.

Do I Need to Hire Help?

We met a teacher who had hired a local dance teacher to ‘clean’ dances for her. Depending on your expertise, that could be an expense that you decide to cut.

If you have never had any experience in the world of competitive dance, then you may want to consider reaching out to local dance studios or college dance programs for part-time help.

Summary: Beginner Dance Team Coaching Tips for School Coaches

Coaching a dance team is tiring and at times it can be quite stressful, but there are a lot of things a coach can do to proactively eliminate stress.

Following this guide will help create a solid foundation for a successful dance team and an extremely enjoyable dance season.



5 Steps to Start a Dance Program at Your School – Yoobi

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We met Mr. Mendoza through our good friends at After-School All-Stars and he danced his way into our hearts! Mr. Mendoza started his school’s very own dance program – from scratch – and it’s been life-changing for his students, his school, and him. 

Check out how he did it below!

Bio: Jose J. Mendoza is Mayor Pro Tem of Bell Gardens, California where he grew up and now teaches at Bell Gardens Intermediate. Mendoza started his dance team with only 13 students, and today, his program teaches dance to more than 150 students daily.


Visual and Performing Arts are a crucial part of a child’s education and are too often left out of the daily core curriculum. Hence, it is up to us to fight for the right to be: creative innovators, risk-takers, and most importantly, share the love and passion for theater, music, art, and dance. Furthermore, it has been through my tenacious heart and my love for dance that persuaded me to bring the performing arts to the students and community that I love. I am proud to say that I am the Director of an award-winning dance program (6 elective periods during the core day and for After-School All-Stars, Los Angeles) at Bell Gardens Intermediate School. Here are some tips for all those who share this dream, in hope that it may help you on your journey to success.


Have a clear vision of the goal and program you wish to create within your community. Every “dream” begins with a dreamer, work hard and focus on what you want to accomplish.


Getting a degree from an accredited institution is crucial for teaching in a public school setting. There are various options to obtain a credential to teach dance (e. g. single subject in PE/Dance) or adding a subject matter authorization to already existing multiple subject credentials.


Creating relationships with school principals, teachers, board members, district officials, and parents is essential if you wish to engage the community and students in your vision. Your administrator should see you at every rally, open house, fundraiser, etc. You or your parents should engage the support of local business, entrepreneurs, district extension programs (e.g. Afterschool All-Stars, Los Angeles), and elected officials.


Demonstrate your creativity by creating shows and attending competitions that amplify the talent, commitment, and dedication of your students. Volunteer to perform at school and community events etc. to gain exposure and name recognition. Have a strategy in place to raise money outside any district or school funding so that you can invest back into the program (i. e. equipment, uniforms, and supplies). Collaborate with your parents and students on various fundraisers.


One of the most difficult tasks is to obtain adequate space to dance. Ideally, every dance teacher’s dream is to have a studio that includes: mirrors, dance floor, ballet bars, and sound system. These resources will help your student learn choreography and master skills necessary to pursue the arts as an everyday aspect of life. However, if resources are not accessible start in whatever space is available: multipurpose room, gym, and empty classrooms.

If you have the opportunity and the interest in starting a dance program at your school, I can proudly say, that it has the power to transform your most “at-risk” students well beyond the walls of your school.  Over the years, Bell Gardens Intermediate Dance and After-School All-Stars, Los Angeles has changed the lives of thousands of my students; many of whom were considered “at-risk” and managed to graduate high school, attend a four-year university, and even continue to dance professionally.

It was through arts education that these students transformed and found: self-esteem, motivation, determination, and a passion. One of the most rewarding moments was seeing one of my former students perform at Debbie Allen’s “Beauty and the Beast.” I will always remember his words, “Mr. Mendoza, if it was not for you and All-stars, I would not be here. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”


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How to create a musical group? Recording studio needed!

Rehearsal bases, dance halls, recording studios
in Moscow

Do you dream of being cheered by fans while you are under the spotlight? Do you feel like smashing your guitar on stage by jumping into the crowd? So ahead of you is a difficult, long path to the musical Olympus. One of the initial steps will be the formation of your own team, and then you will need a rep base for rehearsals and a recording studio.

Creation of a musical group

To begin with, it is worth deciding on the composition of the group. The best option is when you have already gathered a team of like-minded people, each of whom owns the necessary musical instruments. For a beginner team, this is an ideal start.

If you do not have such a formed group, then you need to look for musicians yourself. Place an ad on social networking pages, as well as sites with ads. Like-minded people will be found almost immediately. The main thing you should pay attention to when selecting is the experience of performing, as well as a musical instrument. Along with this, be guided by your own feelings.

Where to rehearse?

It is possible to find rehearsal studios in almost every city, ready to offer both equipment and rental. The advantage is that the sound along with the instruments are pre-configured. This is a very practical choice for a newly minted team. The only drawback is the increased cost. At the very beginning of the development of the group, 1-2 lessons per week will be enough, then with the improvement of the group, it will become necessary to do them more often.

If you don't have enough money in your budget, or you don't plan to use someone else's premises, you can find other, free options. One of the simplest is the leadership of the school or institute, which you can ask to give you a place for classes. Along with this, the administration, in turn, may ask you to play at school events, or for a commission. Therefore, it is worth learning a few popular songs in advance.

Conducting rehearsals

Initially, it will be more effective to play compositions belonging to other authors. Thus, the team will be able to get used to each other, noting their weak and strong qualities. Learn, for example, 5 such songs before moving on to writing your own. Even if you have more than one year of experience, pay attention to this advice. Replaying the compositions of other performers will enable each musician to improve their skills.

In addition to rehearsals with the whole team, practice at home. Set aside time to improve your level, and also give the task to the whole team to do the same. In a different set of circumstances, you are unlikely to be able to quickly capture the attention of the fans. Analyze basic knowledge about creating compositions. It's great if you have a musical education, otherwise get books to study notes and constantly use them to study.

The vocalist needs to practice solfeggio and often improve his vocal skills. It will be useful for guitarists to download the GuitarPro program with which to learn how to process various melodies. A good option would be to select a melody by ear, this is what will add skills and bring great pleasure. It will be somewhat more difficult for drummers, since it is much more difficult to learn this skill, in this regard, it is best to work with a professional teacher for some time and only after that switch to working out the “beats” on your own.

Organization of rehearsals

The group must constantly collect a rehearsal team, exercise control over training, find shortcomings and pay attention to them. At first, after the formation of the team, it will be very easy for you. Along with this, then, difficulties will also bend over: someone will skip the ongoing rehearsals, but someone will greatly increase their skills by deciding to move to another team. It is for this reason that it is necessary to always keep the group under control. At some moments, toughness will be necessary, and sometimes a heart-to-heart talk. No matter how hard it is, someone has to do it. If this is not you, then any other member of the team should be such a person.

Dance group "Inspiration" / Basic information about the school / Information about the school / SHMOKU secondary school Novotroitskoye village

Work program on rhythm "Russian folk dance"
Work experience
"Russian folk dance"
Speech for the presentation
"Not out of a sense of rivalry, but out of love for dance!", article from the newspaper "Shabalinsky region".
"Surprises" Minutes of Glory ", article from the newspaper" Candle ", No. 46(9076) dated April 16, 2011

Among the many forms of artistic education of the younger generation choreography takes a special place. Dance classes not only teach to understand and create beauty, they develop imaginative thinking and fantasy, give harmonious plastic development.

Choreography has great potential for a full-fledged aesthetic perfection of the child, for his harmonious and spiritual development.

Dance classes form the correct posture, instill the basics of etiquette and competent behavior in society, give an idea of ​​the acting skill.

Dance is of great importance as a means of educating the national self-awareness. Obtaining information about the dances of different peoples is necessary, because. k. each nation has its own, only inherent dances, which reflect his soul, history, character.

Dance group led by L.P. Yarovikova "Inspiration" was formed on the basis of the Novotroitsk secondary school in 1989. The team is engaged in school students from grades 1 to 11. The entire team is divided into three age groups:

junior 1-4 cells.
middle 5-7 cells.
senior 8-11 cells.

The dance numbers of the group are the decoration of any school evenings, concerts. The children actively participate in the festive concerts of the rural recreation center, permanent participants of the regional dance competition "Wider circle", amateur art reviews, participants of regional dance competitions "Wider circle".

Currently, 36 people are engaged in the dance group "Inspiration" (senior group - 9people, the middle group - 12 people, the younger group - 15 people).

April 9, 2017 Interdistrict children's festival-competition "Pearl". The middle group (9-13 years old) received the I degree Diploma.

April 2014 Interdistrict competition "Pearl". Junior group (6-8 years old) received a Diploma of III degree with the dance "Gift to Mom". Middle group (9-13 years old) received the Diploma of the 1st degree with the dance "Country". Senior group (14-18 years old) - Diploma of III degree with the dance "Rhythms of the East".

May 2013 The Ensemble participated in the Festival "Victory Fireworks" with dances "Smuglyanka" and "In the style of Jive".

March 18, 2013 Diploma of the laureate in the interdistrict competition children's and youth review-competition "Pearl". The middle group performed with dances "Pippi" and "Contrast". Senior group - "Break-dance".

January 15, 16, 2012 Diploma of the participant of the regional competition "Christmas souvenir ". The ensemble presented the dances" They fell, but rose "and" On the next street". The performance of dance combinations by A. Popov was noted by the jury competition as professional. Performing skills were highly appreciated soloists Glushkova S. and Tarasov V. Competition of a very high level. As part of The jury consisted of teachers from the Kirov College of Culture. Speakers collectives of the city of Kirov, Kirovo-Chepetsk, Slobodsky and other cities and districts of the region, having the title of "people's" and repeatedly speaking at international and all-Russian competitions.

September 10, 2011 Gratitude to the dance group "Break Dance" for active participation in the celebration of the Day of the village of Leninskoye (young men Popov A. and Tarasov V.)

May 7, 2011 creativity "Victory fireworks" (dance "Waltz - expectation").

Diploma of the winner of the inter-district competition of children's creativity "Minute of Glory" in the nomination "In the rhythm of the dance" (dance "On the next street").

April 2011 The group "Break-dance" and Popov A. conquered with their performance Svechinsky spectators at the "Minute of Glory" contest, having won the audience award. The senior group performed the dance "On the next street", the middle group performed the dance "In the Land of the Magnolia"

March 2011 Diploma of the winner of the inter-district competition "Minute of glory" in the nomination "In the rhythm of dance". The senior group performed with dances "In the rhythm of the tango", "On the next street". The middle group is "In the Land of the Magnolia". Audience Award - dance "Break-dance" (soloists Popov A., Tarasov V.).

2011 Diploma of the regional festival of folk art "Fair placers" within the framework of the regional holiday "Alekseevskaya fair". Dance "On the next street" soloists Popov A., Tarasov V., Glushkova S.

May 2, 2010 Diploma of the participant of the regional festival of folk art "Salute of Victory" for the dance "Waltz - expectation".

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