Choreographing the perfect competition performance is tricky. Choreographing perfect performances for your entire studio? That’s a master task. While you’re picking music and mapping out movements, you might want to add these bits of advice from competition judges to your notes!

“I know it’s tricky when you’re most likely choreographing dozens of routines each season, but try not to include the same style of movements from routine to routine. Fool us! Show us a vast range of choreography from genre to genre, routine to routine. Hire an outside choreographer from time to time to bring in some fresh ideas. Also, if one dancer showcases a particular trick or skill, try to limit that skill in just one of his or her routines.” – Melanie Buckley

“I advise teachers to ‘think outside the box’ when it comes to finding a concept. Try to create powerful images and strong emotions. Think about unique formations and props.  And try to be precise with lines, shapes, and sounds.” – Eileen Grace

“Rely on your dancers’ technique but focus on cleaning up your choreography!  I am always a happy judge when I see a clean double turn, rather than a not so clean triple turn in choreography.” – Julie Pentz

“I absolutely love to see a style that suits the performer or performers. I would much rather see a dancer’s sense of style versus the same turns, jumps, and tumbling that we have seen time and time again. I am, of course, in awe of the amazing tricks that dancers are capable of. However, it is thrilling to see a fresh style and emotionally connected performance.”  – Kristin Marie Johnson

“Be sure to challenge your students, but give them material that they are actually able to accomplish with their current strength level.” – Debbie DiBiase-Wood

“Advice to teachers when it comes to choreography: always remember students’ strengths and weaknesses. Clean combinations, smooth transitions, creative movements, staging, exits & entrances, all create a formula that should be pleasing to the eye, and makes a statement.”   – Kelly King

“Stay true to the style and choreography that motivates and inspires you.” – Kim Kepner

“Find music that has an arc and then choreograph to the nuances of that music. Less is more! Meaning, do something longer to let the audience fully drink it in. More subtle moves help draw the audience into your little world on the stage. Also, don’t be afraid to hold a pose. It will keep your viewers guessing.” – Michelle Hammar

“Choreograph to your dancers’ strengths. You want to push them so that the repetition of the routine will help them improve throughout the season. That being said, if you have a quirky bunch, use that!  Let their unique and individual personalities shine. Find what themes resonate with them and the particular time they are in in their lives. Being able to connect with the material and draw from their personal experiences will enrich their performances.” – Jessica Walker

“Not too long and make sure that the dancer dances from their heart full of honesty, passion, and have them connect to the choreography from the inside out.” – Mary Ann Lamb

“Interesting formations or fun themes will stand out in my mind at the end of a long day. Be creative and have a blast!” – Caitlin Abraham

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Veronica Good has been with Showstopper Magazine since 2016. When she isn't keeping you updated on the latest trends, she is at home with her many pets or probably playing The Sims 4. Veronica has a BA in English and an MA in writing from Coastal Carolina University. She is also a writer of fiction and poetry, and her work can be found in Archarios, Tempo, and Scapegoat.