Forum: Teams / Dance Teams

Captain Qualities-A Guide (karma: 3)
By UberGoobermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri Jun 08, 2007 11:12 PM
Made sticky by Theresa (28613) on 2007-06-14 21:54:27

I was a four year member of my school's dance team, three years on Varsity and one on JV. For my senior year, I was a captain of the team.

A lot of dance team members may be wondering what kinds of qualities a coach looks for in choosing a captain or what s/he expects of the captains. Being a captain is a job with a lot of responsibility and hard decisions.

The following are some things that my coach has really appreciated and that I think are important for a captain. Specifically, these relate to team captains, however, they can also apply to "regular" dance team members. You can't have too many cooks in the kitchen, of course, but everyone wants a team with a positive atmosphere.

Being a Leader
1. "Your attitude is contagious. Is yours worth catching?" This is something my dance team coach used to state often. I remember from my sophomore year (my first year on the Varsity team), I looked up to my captains so much. I was new to the team and so I tried to follow their example. As a captain, your attitude is extremely contagious. If you approach an issue, practice, or performance with a negative attitude, expect the rest of the team to follow suit. This doesn't mean you have to be a "happy-go-lucky-sing-kum-by-yah" person all the time, but a little optimism never hurt. Be realistic, but be hopeful.

2. Don't be a hypocrite. Once you accept the role of captain, you also accept a role as an authority figure. Sometimes, you will have to discipline or at the very least, talk to a dance team member about behaviors that violate your constitution, such as tardiness or missed practices. But will she take you seriously if you've been late to every practice yourself? This year, my co-captain never missed a single practice and I missed only one (due to illness) throughout the entire season. I recognize that that's often not possible, however, aim high. It made our job's so much easier because our efforts to be there at every practice made attendance seem espeicially important to other team members. LEAD BY EXAMPLE!

3. Although it differs from school to school, being the captain of a squad can be a very visible role. You are not only a leader on your team, but a leader in the student body and the community. As a dance team captain, I visited elementary schools numerous times and also attended various community events. Whenever I did anything like that, whenever I wore my dance team t-shirt, whenever I identified myself as being captain, I became an ambassador for the dance team. Strive to present yourself in a way that would make your coach, your principal, etc. proud of you.

1. It's sometimes difficult to be both a dance team member and a dance team captain. The roles obviously go hand in hand, but it's not easy. Often my coach would tell my co-captain and I confidential information. It was extremely hard at times to keep this information to ourselves. Team members would whine about various decisions and want to know how we came to that conclusion, however we couldn't tell as it would violate the trust that our coach put in us. Sometimes (like when dancing as a group), you need to blend your two roles, however at other times, you need to mentally separate them.

2. Have you ever heard the expression "working for the Common Good"? It is basically a principle that states that you want to do what's best for the most people. This is a vital quality on dance team. I'm sure you have friends on the team, however, you cannot play favorites. It's hard, and I can tell you that you will make decisions that may hurt a friend in order to do what's best for the team. Our team had the opportunity to go to National's this year. Of course, all the seniors on the team, myself adn my co-captain included, wanted desperately to go as it was our last chance. I cannot even tell you how hard the decision was to make. It took literally hours of discussion, phone calls, and tears. Ultimately, we came to the decision that we wouldn't go because of money issues and because several dance team members couldn't attend. It worked out for the best even though we had to make some sacrifices.

Be Irreplaceable for Your Coach
1. Support him or her. I'm sure you adn your coach will have numerous discussions regarding decisions on the team. However, it's important that when it comes down towards relating information and decisions to the team, that you both be on the same page.

2. Anticipate her needs. Don't make her ask you to do stuff all the time. Our coach was often called away from practice because of phone calls relating to her dying dad. I didn't wait for her to tell me what to do. I just kept the practice running. Once we got that portion of choreogrpahy completeled, we went back and reviewed. Ask, "Do you want me to call the rest of the team and tell them that practice time has changed?" "Would you like me to make the posters for the fundraiser?"

3. Go above and beyond. As you will come to find out, being captain is not isolated to jsut practice times. After practice I often stayed for an hour or more discussing issues and doing stuff with my coach. It might be mundane stuff, like cleaning up our mess in the gym or it might be serious stuff, like questioning the dedication of a team member. This relates to the previous point. Don't just walk out the door with the rest of the team after practice is done. Ask your coach if she needs needs anything.

I hope this helps! If you have any tips of your own, feel free to add them!

9 Replies to Captain Qualities-A Guide

re: Captain Qualities-A Guide
By foxigermember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sat Jun 09, 2007 07:16 PM
Thanks for the great list. I'm going to copy your post for all of our officers' binders. I'll bet you were a great captain:)
re: Captain Qualities-A Guide
By kati_parker
On Sat Jun 09, 2007 11:22 PM
That was a great list.
But i have one question.
Do you have any ideas on encouraging things i could give my girls during our week long dance camp like, poems, quotes anything, im up for anything. I just want to get the point across to them that i care and that im here for them.
But if you can reply to this with anything like team buidling stuff or whatever.
Thank you soooo much!!
re: Captain Qualities-A Guide
By UberGoobermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Jun 10, 2007 10:03 AM
How about writing them each just a little card? For returning members you could tlak about a favorite memory from previous years on dance team and how thye have improved, a quality you like about them, etc.

For a new member you could talk about how excited you are that they are a member of the team. Also, this year, my co-captain and I made the new members (There were four of them) "Dance Team Survival Kits". We jsut put a whole bunch of stuff along with an explanation in a shoebox that we covered with wrapping paper. It was stuff like "A rubberband to help keep you flexible!" "Mini bottle of body wash to help you CLEAN routines!" That sort of thing. I will do some looking through my old binder to find my list of items and I'll post it.

Honestly, I think the best way to build teamwork throughout the year is to do fun stuff with each other. There's so many fun thigs you can do. Here's some ideas...

Movie night! When the movie "Step Up" came out we went to see it as a team. We had been doing a car wash fundraiser during the day, then we cleaned up, and went tot he movie together. So fun to watch a dance movie with your dance friends!

Campout! This may not be as feasible for you. My co-captain's dad is the park ranger at a state park near our town adn he allowed us to camp out there (without supervision!) for a night. IT WAS THE BEST! We had to work together to help pitch a tent, keep a fire going, make food, play games, etc.

SLEEPOVER! We always have our sleepover at the school. People always think the dance team is crazy for doing this, but is so much fun to sleep at the school. School wide games of hide and go seek...? OH YEAH! You cna really turn this into team bonding as well. We played games with each other (like passing the orange using only our necks) and our coach gave us fun dance team related prizes like water bottles, cheap bags, keychains, etc. We also put the girls into different groups (ie. not with their usual friends) and we made up dances together and put on old hilarious costumes.

Is your camp out of town somewhere? Like staying in a hotel or in dorms? There are lots of different games you can play that are team bonding. Try searching online for ICEBREAKER party game ideas. Those work really well.
re: Captain Qualities-A Guide
By Balletbaby2
On Thu Jun 14, 2007 09:27 AM
From one team Captain to another, that was helpful!
But I have one question.

The last 3 years, our team has had the same Captains (loooong story) and 2 continuous officers including myself. So this year, I am trying to fill 2 very big pairs of shoes with only one other returning officer. My Co-Captain is EXTREMELY talented and gorgeous, yet she has no drive nor dedication (she hates stretching!) My first Lieutenant and one Senior Lieutenant are dedicated but they have alot of personal problems. My other Senior Lieutenant has alot of issues with me but refuses to try to work them out and again has no dedication. Alot of times during officer practice, she sits down and has a dirty look on her face. And my other Junior Lt. is a cryer and does NOT have the maturity to be an officer.

All have potential, but it's going to take alot to bring that out. Becuase we are such a broken officer line, I'm worried about the team. I'm trying my hardest to do whats best for everyone, but SOMEONE in my officer line always disagrees and gets extrememly angry. I honestly don't know what to do to keep everyone on civil terms. Alot of times my decisions are based on our Directors opinion (o and did I mention we just lost our director) and no one recognizes it. I feel that if the officer line doesn't respect me, neither will the team. What do I do??
re: Captain Qualities-A Guide
By UberGoobermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Jun 14, 2007 03:35 PM
I'm not really sure how the whole like..lieutenant, etc. part works, as on our team we only had two co-captains. I'm not sure how many girls on our your squad, but I think sometimes there's instances of "too many cooks in the kitchen" (I think that's the second time I've used this phrase ont his thread...oh jeez...). Once you start to get too many authority figures, attitudes begin to conflict.

So like I said..I'm not really sure how those roles work on your team. What about dividing some duties? Like the two most, mature, responsible officers are considered the "captains". But then some of the younger, less mature officers could be given more defined duties. Like perhaps the "Fundraising Captain" or the "Public Relations Captain"? That way you could split some of the girls up and have them avoid DIRECTLY butting heads and such.

But honestly, I think some of those girls need a good slap in the face, metaphorically. My junior year on the team, there was an incident between the two captains, which nearly prompted a lawsuit, and long story short, they HATED each other. Like...couldn't speak civilly to each other. At all. Our coach eventually jsut ahd to sit them down adn tell them to get over it or they would lose their role as captains or possibly be kicked off the team. "Grow up or get out!"

I have no patience for drama in any situation in life, particularly in dance taem whent here just isn't time to deal with girl cattiness.

When will you have a new director?
re: Captain Qualities-A Guide
By xdanixleighannex
On Sat Jun 28, 2008 09:55 PM
thankyou so mych for all of this. it is really helpul. my team last year was broken. no one likes eachother and it was a big mess. reading all of this has really given me ideas to help improve the bonding of the team this year.
re: Captain Qualities-A Guide
By bombsquaddancers
On Wed Sep 14, 2011 01:29 PM
Thanks for the list
re: Captain Qualities-A Guide
By darieladays
On Sun Aug 10, 2014 11:58 AM
Reading this made me feel much better in 2 days I will officially be my schools dance teams co-captain and I'm a little shaky because I don't know if I'm ready to lead. But after reading this I have an idea. Thank you!
re: Captain Qualities-A Guide
By darieladays
On Sun Aug 10, 2014 11:59 AM
Reading this made me feel much better in 2 days I will officially be my schools dance teams co-captain and I'm a little shaky because I don't know if I'm ready to lead. But after reading this I have an idea. Thank you!


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