A: Toward the end of every summer, my staff and I pull out all the competition and convention mail-outs that we have received. We decide what weekends we want to set aside for competitions in the upcoming year and shortlist any events within a one-and-a-half-hour drive from the studio, keeping in mind what we liked and didn’t like about the competitions we attended last season. Once we’ve determined which ones meet our initial stipulations, we contact each competition director to ask about venues, judges, fees and which other studios have expressed interest in attending.
Usually, our team participates in four to five competitions per season, as well as two to three conventions. (We attend one convention as a team, and the other two are optional.) There are two competitions our team always takes part in, year after year, because they’re well-run: They always have good judges and strong dancers. Adding a couple of new comps helps to keep things interesting—you get to compete against studios you might not normally see. Talk to other studio owners for recommendations, and always investigate a competition before you make the commitment to attend. Attending an event you haven’t checked out is a recipe for disaster.
Competitions and conventions are great learning opportunities, but they require a lot of time and financial investment. Ask plenty of questions, read the comp’s rules and understand its scoring, placement and awards, because you can be sure that when your parents have a question, they’ll come straight to you for the answers.
Joanne Chapman is the owner of the award-winning Joanne Chapman School of Dance in Brampton, Ontario.
As the director of dance at Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Belmont, Massachusetts, Istvan Cserven organizes the biannual student showcases, prepares dancers for competition and trains new instructors. On top of all that, he teaches the upper-level technique classes. A former ballroom champion in Hungary, he is well-acquainted with both rhythm and smooth ballroom-dance styles.
In an event inspired by the words of President John F. Kennedy, The Washington Ballet will perform the world premier of WHO WHEN WHY this Saturday, June 24, at the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Kogod Courtyard.
After having spent a lifetime looking at ourselves in the mirror, constantly appraising, who of us wouldn't want to take a dance class in the dark? Two Australian dance students, Alice Glenn and Heidi Barrett, had the same thought in 2009 when they founded No Lights No Lycra, a global dance community that offers dancers and nondancers alike the chance to get their groove on in a dark space, where there's no light, no Lycra, no technique, no teacher and no steps to learn. It's just a place to lose yourself in the music and find your own dance mojo. The event became so popular that it spread past its Melbourne beginnings, first throughout Australia and now, globally.
Four incredible educators: Joanne Chapman, Claudio Muñoz, Pamela VanGilder and Kathleen Isaac foster their students' love of dance, whether instilling artistry, offering rigorous training or giving special needs students an outlet through movement.
When Jennie Somogyi retired from New York City Ballet, she found herself in high demand as a teacher. Parents called, texted and persisted. "I don't even know how some of them got my contact information," she says with a laugh. But Somogyi, who departed from NYCB in 2015 after a 22-year career, hadn't made any definitive plans for the next stage of her life. "I just like to see how things move me," she says. She discovered, though, that she enjoyed the process of giving private lessons and seeing the rapid progress students could make. Over time, she realized that teaching was something she wanted rather than needed.