Five competition industry insiders share their best advice for making the most of the summer scene.
“Focus your time and energy on cleaning your routines. A clean number will always win, no matter what type of choreography. Every move is important at this level. No amount of showmanship can get you top placement if you have deductions for falling out of a pirouette, bent knees or sloppy arms.”
—Desiree Robbins, Tremaine Dance
“Do not give any dancer a combination or trick that is ‘hit or miss.’ It is better for a dancer to execute a terrific double turn than attempt a ‘maybe’ triple. Also stress the importance of good sportsmanship. It is equally important to be a good winner as it is to be a good loser.”
“Remind your dancers that they will be surrounded by new talent from various parts of the country. Encourage them to be inspired by all they see and to make new friends. Most importantly, remember this is the end of the dance season. It may be the last time each of your dance pieces will be performed, so celebrate your entire season of hard work.”
—Joe Lanteri, New York City Dance Alliance
“Come to Nationals to learn. A true national finals is more than winning a title so you can advertise yourself as the ‘National Champion’ in the yellow pages—it is all about growth. This is your opportunity to join studios from other parts of the country to see different dance styles, costume ideas and a wide variety of new music. Plan activities for your students, have pep rallies and bond. These are the activities that build a real dance family for the following year.”
Showbiz National Talent, Inc.
“Give your dancers the most scheduling information possible, including any meetings or rehearsals you want to call during the event. Since Nationals is often a family vacation time, parents want to know when they are able to get away and take in some family time. Let them know that their dancers will be very busy, and it might be good to come in a day or two earlier or stay later to vacation. And relax! You want to take away happy memories from Nationals, not stressful ones. Tell your dancers to do the best they can and enjoy a great ending to your season.”
—Anne Smith, Hollywood Vibe
Photo: Dancers compete at Showstopper Nationals (courtesy of Showstopper)