Steps to Polish a Routine
by Cathy Wheat and Joyce E. Pennington

During football season, there is a procedure to follow to insure that the routine is ready for the halftime show on Friday night. Many are the only elements of polishing a routine. Even an untrained dancer can still have an "eye" for critiquing movement if some general steps can be taken to correct technique. Each team's exact daily schedule may vary due to specific days to have the gym, football field and work with your band, but the step by step process is necessary to achieve "clean" and "crisp" technique for each performance. You will also find that this process will help bring consistency to your team's dancing style.

Prior to school beginning is the time that you spend teaching and memorizing each of the routines that will be used for the football season. Since the primary purpose is for learning and memorization, minimal time is spent on "fine tuning" technique (as it might be forgotten by performance week).

Prior to Monday practice of the performance week, I work with my officers for several hours breaking down the routine step by step and explaining the correct technique. I will also point out "trouble spots" and they will also let me know the steps that they feel might cause trouble.

Monday practice is set for reviewing the routine. Each officer takes her squad or group to a different part of the gym to work on the details of technique that we reviewed with them the prior week. I play the music every ten minutes and float by each group to check their progress and individual attention to those team members that require extra help. Toward the end of practice, the team comes together as a group and I note any variations from within the group that might need to be corrected.

Tuesday practice is for tryouts for the routine. Those that cannot perform to skill level for the routine are cut.

Wednesday practice we go straight to the field and take the first part of practice to re-number and set the patterns and formations of the routine. Once again, we will divide into smaller groups to continue "fine tuning" the routine. I feel that spending a great deal of practice time on the field is most important to avoid spacing and alignment problems in the performance. Toward the end of rehearsal, we come together again as a team and correct any variations.

Thursday rehearsal is the day to work with the band on the field for about 30-45 minutes to insure the the whole show, sideline to sideline, is ready to go.

Friday, once again, we go to the field and work as a group on final preparations for the game. It is important to take the group through each step of entrance, performance, exit, to insure they are confident of each integral portion of the show.


A. Preparing the routine with your officers.

B. Supervising the rehearsal and trouble shooting.

C. Ironing out variations among the group.

D. Setting the routine on the field.


A. FOOTWORK- clarity & placement

B. LEGS- extension, level & placement

D. ARMS & HANDS- extension, levels, placement, inner tension

E. HEAD- focus, level

F. PROJECTION- energy consistent, expression in smile


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