We’re pleased to announce that this weeks blog is written by our guest:

Rachael Harris.

Dance teacher and choreographer for Obsidian.

Hi everyone! My name is Rachael Harris and I am the choreographer for a dance team called Obsidian based in Dereham, Norfolk.  

I’ve always been attracted to dancing since I was a small child. I studied Theatre Studies at university and whilst there I watched a performance by Hofesh Shechter. The way he used the music, movement,  and the lighting, all of this took my breath away and I’ve been hooked on dancing ever since. 

I’ve been involved as a teacher of dance for the last 12 years. For the last 5 years I began choreographing dances for different groups before becoming the choreographer and principal for the dance team Obsidian.

Over the past few years, Obsidian have attended many dance competitions and been lucky enough to even win some! We have won highest scoring performance at Equity and Ultimate’s Dance Championship in Disneyland, Paris and won East of England’s Can You Dance? regional for the last two years running.

We have also been fortunate enough to work with the British Red Cross in their Make Your Move dance competition and have performed at their final in the 02 twice, winning both times.


Rachael with Obsidian at the East of England CYD? Regional in 2018

Although I am no way an expert, I realised I do have a few tips and tricks I can share which will help when choreographing for a competition.

1.  Always choreograph from your gut

I have always been an advocate of choreographing movement with meaning, not just movement that shows off your dancer’s amazing abilities. Don’t throw in a triple pirouette just to prove you can. Use movement to express your dancer’s passion instead.

2. Use your dancers’ expertise

My dancers have some of the best choreographic ideas, it’s my job to sort out the best ones, put them in the right order and let them take ownership over their performance.

3. Always have a theme or narrative

Try to show the judges your opinion through your dance. Make them feel something and understand your team’s attitude through your choreography.

4. Practice makes perfect

Drilling those moments of unison to make sure they are clean and on point is vital.

5. Music choice is key

Music can make a judge sit back and relax or sit forward onto the edge of their seat in anticipation. You need to find the right piece for your work. I am renowned for changing my music every week at rehearsals and sometimes not choosing the final track until the week of competition!

Our biggest thanks to Rachael for her contribution to our blog. We wish her and Obsidian all the best for their future shows and competitions.

We hope her tips have helped you with your choreography for any upcoming dance competitions you may have!

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