Ask the Experts: Comp Team Traditions

Q: I’m trying to boost morale among my comp kids. Can you share some traditions you have with your competition team?

A: Over the years, our group of competition dancers and their parents has grown very close. When we travel out of town for an event, we make sure to have a “party room” available, where everyone can meet after the competition ends for the night. (The hotels also like this idea, because it keeps everyone out of the hallways at night.) Parents have food delivered for the kids, and my husband and the other dance dads will break out the poker chips and the cooler. We often will either come a day early or stay a day late, so that the families can go golfing or shopping or hang out around the pool. The focus is on making the atmosphere as relaxed, positive and fun as possible for everyone involved. Right before we go onstage to compete, we get in a big circle, hold hands and sing “We Are Family.”

We also organize two fundraisers as a group: a dance-a-thon and a charity barbecue. For the dance-a-thon, the dancers find sponsors to participate in all-day dancing, and our advanced dancers teach the classes. We keep it fun and hand out prizes. It’s a great way for my 16- to 18-year-olds to get some teaching experience. (And I can see where my future teachers will come from.) The money we raise goes toward future travel expenses. For the barbecue, our competition team and their parents work the event, and the proceeds are donated to the local animal shelter.

Joanne Chapman is the owner of the award-winning Joanne Chapman School of Dance in Brampton, Ontario.


Photo by Dan Boskovic, courtesy of Joanne Chapman

Teachers Trending
Courtesy Lovely Leaps

After the birth of her daughter in 2018, engineer Lisa McCabe had reservations about returning to the workforce full-time. And while she wanted to stay home with the new baby, she wasn't ready to stop contributing financially to her family (after all, she'd had a successful career designing cables for government drones). So, when she got a call that September from an area preschool to lead its dance program, she saw an opportunity.

The invitation to teach wasn't completely out of the blue. McCabe had grown up dancing in Southern California and had a great reputation from serving as her church's dance teacher and team coach the previous three years (stopping only to take a break as a new mother). She agreed to teach ballet and jazz at the preschool on Fridays and from there created an age-appropriate class based on her own training in the Cecchetti and RAD methods. It was a success: In three months, class enrollment went from six to 24 students, and just one year later, McCabe's blossoming Lovely Leaps brand had contracts with eight preschools and three additional teachers.

Keep reading... Show less
Courtesy Shake the Ground

Dance competitions were among the first events to be shut down when the COVID-19 pandemic exploded in the U.S. in mid-March, and they've been among the last able to restart.

So much of the traditional structure of the competition—large groups of dancers and parents from dozens of different studios; a new city every week—simply won't work in our new pandemic world.

How, then, have competitions been getting by, and what does the future look like?

Keep reading... Show less
Getty Images

Despite worldwide theater closures, the Universal Ballet Competition is keeping The Nutcracker tradition alive in 2020 with an online international competition. The event culminates in a streamed, full-length video of The Virtual Nutcracker consisting of winning entries on December 19. The competition is calling on studios, as well as dancers of all ages and levels, to submit videos by November 29 to be considered.

"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.