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It Takes Two: Duet Tips For Dance Teachers & Students

Duets are one of my favorite categories to choreograph and discuss! They have a certain element about them that really has the ability to leave an impression on an audience. The process of both creating a duet and dancing one is always a memorable experience and one that you learn so much from, both as a teacher and a student. With that being said, in today’s blog post we’ll be discussing some tips for creating a duet and performing one. So, if you’re embarking on the creative process of choreographing your first duet, performing a duet for the first time with your dance partner or simply just looking for tips in hopes of improvement, come along with us today as we share! 

Duet Tips For Teachers

  1. Choreograph on the Middle Ground

When choreographing a duet you are faced with the task of making one piece with two dancers in mind. Since every dancer is different, sometimes you deal with dancers that are totally and completely on the same level and sometimes you may have a situation where one is more advanced than the other. In cases such as these, be sure to choreograph on the middle ground and create something that both dancers can learn comfortably but still pushes them in some areas. After all, duets are part of a dancer’s growth just like solos. So make an assessment of the skill level of both dancers and begin your creative process from there. 

  1. Bring Out Both of Their Strengths

Just like in a solo, duets are the perfect opportunity to showcase a dancer’s strengths! Just as we mentioned in the previous tip, take a moment to assess the skill level of each dancer and study their abilities. After you assess the situation, not only can you choreograph on the “middle ground”, but you can also see what each of their strengths are and incorporate them into the piece. If one of your dancers is a turning machine, you may decide to bring that to the choreography. If the other dancer is fantastic in acro, you may want to bring that into the choreo as well. If they both share the same strengths, amp it up and let it shine. This will provide that “wow” factor for the piece.

  1. Allow Them To Depend On Another

Interactive choreography is one of the best parts of choreographing a solo in my personal opinion. Everytime I choreograph a duet, it’s always the interactive bits that receive the most compliments. By adding in areas where they have to lean and depend on each other (both literally and figuratively) you really bring out the beauty, as well as the aesthetic advantages of a duet, while simultaneously teaching them how to work together as a team.

Duet Tips For Students

  1. Trust Each Other

As we mentioned in our last tip for teachers, interactive choreography can play a role in duets. Certain moves may require you to join forces to execute it correctly. This is where trust in one another comes into play. A duet without trust is almost like a friendship without trust, it just isn’t going to mesh well and it’s actually pretty noticeable to the audience. Lack of trust will bring about hesitancy and insecurity which can shine through on stage. So since the two of you have taken the plunge, in those moments where you may have to depend on each other, do so with faith in one another. You’re in this together!

  1. Help Each Other In The Difficult Moments

Like any other piece, duets are bound to be a stepping stone of growth for the both of you, especially if neither of you have done a duet before. In the choreography you may be introduced to challenges that are new to you both. So since this piece is a team effort, don’t hesitate to check in with each other and help one another in the difficult moments. If one is having an issue with the choreo in one area that  the other may have down pat, work together so that way you both can be on the same page. When one shines the other shines and when one needs help, the other lends a hand. That’s what working together is all about.

  1. Discuss What The Dance Means To You

A great way to go into a duet on a good note is to take some time to discuss what the song you’re dancing to means to the both of you individually. Performing a dance is all about building a connection with the music and then conveying its message to the audience. However, in order to accurately convey that message, the two of you must once again be on the same page. So take a moment, whether on your own or with the choreographer, and discuss what the dance and the music means to each of you to help convey the message authentically.

  1. Form a Comradery With One Another

And finally, our last tip is to form a comradery with your duet partner if you haven’t already. Experiences like duets and other group projects allow you to form bonds that can really last. As you go into this process, nothing makes the piece that much more authentic than it being performed by two dancers who genuinely get along. The two of you will be each matching puzzle pieces until the process of practice and performance is over, so forming a friendship with one another will help make the process more enjoyable and fun. We love to see that always!

And that will do it for today’s blog post! We hope these tips were able to help you as you embark on your first or next duet performance. As always, we wish you a wonderful weekend filled with love, so much light and remember…

Keep dancing!

Lexi

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