Competition Season

Different organizations have different time lines for their regional and national competitions.   We always ended our national competitions in Las Vegas.  Every summer we were in Vegas for nationals! I know that downtown better than most competition coordinators!  I’ve seen it from a kids eye!

Many things happen throughout the dance season, but some things you can always count on.

1. make over’s and fall photo shoots – the glamour shots.  Some days we were there  10 to 12 hours.  We were little kids.  Someone had the patience of a saint! We were snots, but we had our momma’s to reel us in.
2. Christmas recitals, and costume horror stories. Candy stuck to everything.
3. Game day performances.
4. Camps.
5. Endless fundraisers.
6. Dance challenge ran all year long (students work individually on technique).
7. Dress rehearsals.
8. Keeping the motel pools open “way too long”.
9. Shopping in every little poe dunk town along the way to competition, and more when we got into the city. Being the first to get that new “thing”.
10. Spending 1000’s of dollars a year to go to Las Vegas for nationals!  That was our family vacation, twelve years in a row.
11. the adrenaline rush that comes from performing.

I recently stopped in to talk to my mom, and she had up on her 32′ screen  the JUMP competitions  that were being streamed online.   She liked this dance, I liked that one – so the judging war was on!   It was really great to watch this online competition.  It was so cute.   We must of both had a bad case of competition  withdrawals after we watched it.  There was something missing…there aren’t any malls here in poe dunk.

You kind of miss the “WHOLE thing” that goes with traveling to competitions.  We did find a pool and a hot tub, that helped some.  But, I really miss the adrenaline rush – for myself.

Competition season is a nine month season for most.  For me, it was generally year round.  I did most of my personal training and choreography in the summer months.   I loved it!  It was exciting to travel and train with an American gymnastic team and get my butt kicked in a ballet academy.  Those were, in my young eyes, way back then, “boot camp”.   I was proud of those blisters on both my hands and feet.

Competition is good for kids, teens, and young adults.  It gives them a chance to learn on a different level what success and failure really means on a personal level.  Here dancers can always come back and do it again, maybe win next time. 🙂  It is a growth thing.

You learn to read those scores sheets too.  As much as you like the high marks, it’s the low and middle marks you need to be reading.  You take your lowest score and work on that.

There are times when you get a judge that is maybe not as qualified as they should be.  If that is the case you need someone that can really understand those score sheets – looking them over with you.

It makes me so angry when I see  score sheets and they say nothing.  Nothing to improve, very little is written if anything.  SAY SOMETHING! Tell me, you were seeing what I saw.  Help me confirm that what I\’m saying to my young students, is also what you would say. Pick up on those basic’s.  It takes so long to get students to a certain level, it really isn’t helpful if you don\’t judge them at all.  They need to know what category they fit in.  They can only build upward, but you have to tell them.   That is competition!


You always have the last day to build upon at competitions.  Some times it turns out pretty good.   Sometimes you are left shaking your head.  I’ve even felt at times, that I was sitting with the wrong group of people.  No disrespect at all – I love everybody.  But there were just some odd moments at competitions.

Here is another thing. Have you ever wanted to reach out to some other dancer in one of the other award circles; who was crying and felt really bad?  I did one year.  Her name was Valerie.  I beat her in competition, and then she cried. It was third grade, my first national win. I had mixed feelings, and then some, after seeing her face.

My mom had just bought me a dancing teddy bear from the merchants there at competition. All these years my mom thought I lost that teddy.  “Mom, I left it with Valarie”.

For years to come I would see Valarie again at competitions.  We became good friends.  I even talked with her mom, and sat with her in the stands. She went on to win her own competitions – it was all good.

What you learn at competitions isn’t about “YOU” always winning.  Sometimes it’s about meeting a friend, and being one. Sometimes it’s about “US”.

Some of you are winding down the competition season,  while others are just gearing up.  JUMP is all over the country, as is Show Stoppers and Hall of Fame.   I love them all.   STARS Nationals is coming up also. There are a bunch out there to pick from.  Other  favorite categories, clinics and camps  I’ve been watching  are:  Coastal Dance Rage, a Blake McGrath production, his looks really good – some big names (may be coming to the mid-west next year!)!!!  Dennis Caspary’s is a really good one too.  Love Dennis’s.  Had way too much fun this year at his.

I should mention The Pulse, NYCDA, and Star Quest too.  I know I missed a ton of comps and camps.   There are so many good ones.

Drill and Cheer camps are coming up soon.  USA Summer Camps

Here is the dance/drill link: DANCE

Here is the cheer link:  CHEER

If you get a chance to do the college/pro camp in your future DO IT! It’s a great time!

As you get older, I don’t want any of you to think it’s over.  It’s never over.  You are an alumni.  You are sitting with the right group. It’s just that now you are the teacher, and with that position comes a lot of responsibility.

Here are a few teacher rules:

1. You can’t keep the pool open until 1:00 a.m.
2. Yes, they can ask the team not to return to the hotel
3. Since her shoe is missing, have a back up pair for the ENTIRE team!
4. Don’t throw away those old solo costumes or choreography
5. Sixty’s music is music and works good for novelties. Ahhh, check your props….!
6. You can’t chew gum if they can’t
7. You can’t swear, drink,  or talk about ANYONE EVER AGAIN!
8. If you put so-and-so up front some one  is bound to pitch a fit.  Deal with it.  It won\’t go away until you do…
9. Being thrown up on at competition is a right of passage. New and old dancers will let it spew at the most inconvenient times possible.
10. You must now share the pool and hot tub.   Yeah, you are with the right group.
11. You will have to put up with people who really don’t know anything about dance.
12. Administrators make mistakes – and have to learn too.
13. Camps are over way too soon.
14. Gum isn’t a snack or team treat.
15. When the phone rings – it’s probably not for you anymore. Kids!
16. Competition is what you live for, train for, and do.
17. Mom’s and dad’s rock!
18. Friends come in different packages and sometimes on the other team.
19. Score sheets aren’t always understandable.
20. You are important to the team!

Love, hugs and kisses people.


PS:  Aspen, I’m so proud of you!

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