Experience the Fun!—Without the Stress

In an industry exploding with options where bigger is often billed as better, BravO! National Dance & Talent Competition fills a unique void by putting the focus on what matters most - the performers.

Based in Omaha, Nebraska, BravO! combines a participant, studio, and family-friendly schedule with leading edge competition elements and a staff that is dedicated, accommodating, and friendly. They take the competition experience to new heights for dancers, teachers, and spectators alike.

Brendan Buchanan, Owner and Executive Director of BravO!, believes strongly in creating an intimate and focused competition weekend. Some larger competitions may sign up over 1,500 entries in one competition, but Buchanan believes keeping entry numbers manageable and attainable creates a personalized atmosphere, allowing every dancer their time in the spotlight, hassle free.

"When participants show a bigger interest in a particular city, we would rather add another event than accept more entries to that one competition," explains Buchanan. "Limiting entries allows us to provide a consistent and fun experience in every venue we visit."

BravO! often receives high praise for its scheduling and ability to accommodate the lives and schedules of their competitors. Making sure to not interfere with school hours eliminates any stress involved with students missing school or worrying about making up work. Meanwhile, teachers and parents are free to handle business as usual without having to make special arrangements.

With web-based entries, music upload, a computerized scoring system, three experience levels, and audio and digital performance critiques uploaded directly to studio accounts, BravO! is on the leading edge of competition technology. But where Buchanan and the staff of BravO! truly surpass expectations is in their dedication to ensuring the focus remains on the dancers and their passion to perform. The 2 to 3 minutes each dancer spends on stage are the single most important moments that Buchanan and staff strive to curate and elevate.

Professional stage sets and a live emcee, along with state-of-the-art lighting and sound, leave no doubt that the dancers are the stars of the show. Every regional event is like a mini-Nationals with all the elements in place to put the spotlight on the dancers and give every competitor their moment to shine.

After noticing a limited number of Nationals options in the heart of the Midwest, and believing a Nationals destination sometimes can overshadow an event, Buchanan chose Ames, Iowa as the site for BravO!'s "Best in the Midwest" National Competition. Buchanan believes you can have just as great an experience close to home as you might in any vacation-destination city, and ensures that the focus remains on the stage and the culmination of hard work and accomplishment each student achieves through the Regional Season. For Buchanan and staff, Nationals is their chance to build lasting relationships with studios, teachers, dancers, and their families, and offers a cost effective alternative that's all about the fun of competition.

BravO! Nationals are a joyful celebration of dance, taking place on a large professional stage in the heart of a gorgeous college campus. They feature master classes taught by some of the most talented names in the industry and a separate evening Title Competition that pulls out all the stops with chandeliers, curated introductions, and elegant staging. BravO! Nationals creates multiple chances for everyone attending to make enduring connections. Buchanan and staff all agree one of their favorite events at Nationals is the Barbeque they host - bounce houses, face painting, and a dance floor on a beautiful green lawn give the competitors, parents, and professionals time to unwind and bond over the love for their shared art. Throughout the week, dancers from every attending studio have the chance to learn a routine and perform together at the opening to the Standing O!vation Showcase. This culmination of Nationals is the pinnacle of competition and glamour with an enhanced video wall backdrop, visually stunning effects, and staff in formal attire celebrating dance with unsurpassed excellence.

"At the end of the day," says Buchanan, "it's all about the relationships built and the continued encouragement, education, and advancement of every dancer and every studio who attends our events. We are committed to fueling the artistic passion of future generations and providing them lasting and fun memories of their years in competitive dance."

For more information about how you can discover the BravO! difference, visit their website at www.bravocompetition.com or call 1-877-272-8641. Registration opens October 1st! Enter online by November 15th for 10% off entries.

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Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

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Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

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According to onstageblog.com, out of the 30 top-ranked college dance programs in the U.S., tap dance is offered at 19 of them, but only one school requires majors to take more than a beginner course—Oklahoma City University. Many prestigious dance programs, like the ones at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase, don't offer a single course in tap dance.

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