Upbeat music reverberates past the double doors of the FTC’s dance room as the Blue Fire dancers stretch, train, and work with their performance groups.The team seem to be able to perform any move handed to them as they work in harmony, supporting and offering advice to each other.
However, as the new school year rolled around, these dancers found themselves in uncharted territory: the departure of all three instructors of the Blue Fire Dance Team last year left the team with a plethora of challenges that they need to confront. Not only has the training system changed greatly, affecting the team’s style, but the team’s focus this year has also shifted from choreography to technique.
“It’s definitely different,” says Megan H. (10), who is continuing her second year in Blue Fire. “There’s a new system of training and choreography, so [the team is] still getting used to it.”
This year, the five new instructors of the Blue Fire Dance Team are directing more focus towards technique instead of choreography. The four On Pointe Dance Studio instructors and Ms Yamatin, a high school math teacher, have decided that technique will allow dancers to be more aware of their movements and the potential risks they may face during training. The change is meant to reduce injuries like muscle, ligament, and bone damage, which can often pose a dangerous problem to dancers.
“One of the major differences is that the entire dance schedule has changed. Last year, we’d do a bit [of] technique practice and move on to working on choreography for the majority of the session. This year, we spent the entirety of Tuesday working on technique and the entirety of Thursday working on choreography,” Ji Won C. (10), says.
This will have a positive impact on the team, she explains, as “getting more focused on technique is really helpful because it will [reduce the risk of] getting hurt.” Though most injuries have only interrupted two to three sessions of training, missing these practices may affect the dancer all year-long, and preventing these them may be key to an even more successful year for Blue Fire.
One of the things that the Blue Fire crew would like to see more of? Hip hop. According to Ji Won, Blue Fire Dance instructors explicitly said that they “cannot do hip hop,” even though it was by far the most popular style that dancers chose to perform with last year. For most of the Blue Fire crew, hip hop is their strongest and favorite style; so many, including Megan and Mina K. (10), were unsettled when instructors chose to pivot towards contemporary dance. Though less favorable, this focus could be the starting point to an advancement in Blue Fire’s training. “[Contemporary] will help us balance our strengths and weaknesses,” Ji Won says, “so I think this is a positive change.”
Although alterations have been made with training, styles, and choreography, all it takes is time and perseverance for Blue Fire to be just as comfortable as the year before. “[We are] like a family and rely on each other,” Ji Won says, “[and] I trust that everybody will be able to do well like last year.”
Image credit: Aperture
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