Experience America’s #1 Dance Competition

Showstopper is the nation's leading dance competition. It provides the perfect platform for dancers, teachers, and choreographers to showcase their talents and hard work. Showstopper's environment is inviting, motivating, and above all, inspiring. If you haven't experienced it, now is the time!


Take the Stage
At every Showstopper competition, brand new, high-definition, LED screens are the backdrops to your performances. Customized to match each routine, these screens are designed to make every moment on stage breathtaking. Showstopper ensures their professional, Marley floor stages are perfect by installing them by hand at every competition.

On and off stage, every moment of the competition is carefully planned and always on time. The competition schedule is broken down into 3-minute increments and available in the souvenir program book. You can also access dancers' personalized schedules and your studio's personalized schedules online and in the Showstopper App.

Are you looking for detailed feedback on your performances? Showstopper has the industry's top judges with years of experience in some of the world's greatest productions. From Broadway shows to master classes, they know what it takes to be the best of the best. Along with your scores, your studio will receive constructive audio feedback that is recorded live by the judges as they watch your performances.

That's not all! Showstopper puts up multiple stages to keep competition times low. This keeps every routine on schedule. Plus, you don't have to keep those mini's up past their bedtime! Showstopper also streams performances from other rooms to screens in each room, so you can keep track of your favorite dancers.

An Unforgettable Experience
Showstopper hosts dance competitions in some of the most coveted vacation spots including Disneyland, Disney World, Universal Studios, Kalahari Resorts, Gaylord Resorts, Foxwoods Resorts, Moody Gardens, and more! At nearly 40 locations across the United States, Showstopper creates an exceptional experience with discounted room rates, gorgeous competition spaces, and fun amenities.

Need a break? Showstopper sets up a teachers' hospitality tent at almost every competition. Relax with your peers or browse the latest issue of Showstopper Magazine while you enjoy complimentary snacks and beverages. Plus, all teachers receive a welcome gift with Showstopper goodies!

Everyone can take their memories home! Showstopper's performance videos are filmed with professional cameras from multiple perspectives, providing the best angles of each performance. With the lowest prices of any competition, you can take your performance videos home for under $8!

Have you seen Showstopper's trophies?! Lined with jewels and a solid crystal at the top, they are designed to stand out on any shelf or trophy case. Each competition's best performances will walk away with the highest honor, a Crystal trophy. It get's better. The top winners' performances are showcased on the big screen as each team is presented with their awards!

All Finals will be showcased via Showstopper's LIVE, free broadcast for all of your friends and family to see. These multi-camera perspective streams make it seem like you are right in front of the stage even if you are miles away. During the America Loves to Dance webTV show, on the final day of competition, teachers take their well deserved time in the spotlight on the pink carpet.

Showstopper knows dance is a lifestyle. You live and breathe dance, and they do too!

Join Showstopper for their 2019 competition season! Register at www.goshowstopper.com!

Music
Mary Malleney, courtesy Osato

In most classes, dancers are encouraged to count the music, and dance with it—emphasizing accents and letting the rhythm of a song guide them.

But Marissa Osato likes to give her students an unexpected challenge: to resist hitting the beats.

In her contemporary class at EDGE Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles (which is now closed, until they find a new space), she would often play heavy trap music. She'd encourage her students to find the contrast by moving in slow, fluid, circular patterns, daring them to explore the unobvious interpretation of the steady rhythms.


"I like to give dancers a phrase of music and choreography and have them reinterpret it," she says, "to be thinkers and creators and not just replicators."

Osato learned this approach—avoiding the natural temptation of the music always being the leader—while earning her MFA in choreography at California Institute of the Arts. "When I was collaborating with a composer for my thesis, he mentioned, 'You always count in eights. Why?'"

This forced Osato out of her creative comfort zone. "The choices I made, my use of music, and its correlation to the movement were put under a microscope," she says. "I learned to not always make the music the driving motive of my work," a habit she attributes to her competition studio training as a young dancer.

While an undergraduate at the University of California, Irvine, Osato first encountered modern dance. That discovery, along with her experience dancing in Boogiezone Inc.'s off-campus hip-hop company, BREED, co-founded by Elm Pizarro, inspired her own, blended style, combining modern and hip hop with jazz. While still in college, she began working with fellow UCI student Will Johnston, and co-founded the Boogiezone Contemporary Class with Pizarro, an affordable series of classes that brought top choreographers from Los Angeles to Orange County.

"We were trying to bring the hip-hop and contemporary communities together and keep creating work for our friends," says Osato, who has taught for West Coast Dance Explosion and choreographed for studios across the country.

In 2009, Osato, Johnston and Pizarro launched Entity Contemporary Dance, which she and Johnston direct. The company, now based in Los Angeles, won the 2017 Capezio A.C.E. Awards, and, in 2019, Osato was chosen for two choreographic residencies (Joffrey Ballet's Winning Works and the USC Kaufman New Movement Residency), and became a full-time associate professor of dance at Santa Monica College.

At SMC, Osato challenges her students—and herself—by incorporating a live percussionist, a luxury that's been on pause during the pandemic. She finds that live music brings a heightened sense of awareness to the room. "I didn't realize what I didn't have until I had it," Osato says. "Live music helps dancers embody weight and heaviness, being grounded into the floor." Instead of the music dictating the movement, they're a part of it.

Osato uses the musician as a collaborator who helps stir her creativity, in real time. "I'll say 'Give me something that's airy and ambient,' and the sounds inspire me," says Osato. She loves playing with tension and release dynamics, fall and recovery, and how those can enhance and digress from the sound.

"I can't wait to get back to the studio and have that again," she says.

Osato made Dance Teacher a Spotify playlist with some of her favorite songs for class—and told us about why she loves some of them.

"Get It Together," by India.Arie

"Her voice and lyrics hit my soul and ground me every time. Dream artist. My go-to recorded music in class is soul R&B. There's simplicity about it that I really connect with."

"Turn Your Lights Down Low," by Bob Marley + The Wailers, Lauryn Hill

"A classic. This song embodies that all-encompassing love and gets the whole room groovin'."

"Diamonds," by Johnnyswim

"This song's uplifting energy and drive is infectious! So much vulnerability, honesty and joy in their voices and instrumentation."

"There Will Be Time," by Mumford & Sons, Baaba Maal

"Mumford & Sons' music has always struck a deep chord within me. Their songs are simultaneously stripped-down and complex and feel transcendent."

"With The Love In My Heart," by Jacob Collier, Metropole Orkest, Jules Buckley

"Other than it being insanely energizing and cinematic, I love how challenging the irregular meter is!"

For Parents

Darrell Grand Moultrie teaches at a past Jacob's Pillow summer intensive. Photo Christopher Duggan, courtesy Jacob's Pillow

In the past 10 months, we've grown accustomed to helping our dancers navigate virtual school, classes and performances. And while brighter, more in-person days may be around the corner—or at least on the horizon—parents may be facing yet another hurdle to help our dancers through: virtual summer-intensive auditions.

In 2020, we learned that there are some unique advantages of virtual summer programs: the lack of travel (and therefore the reduced cost) and the increased access to classes led by top artists and teachers among them. And while summer 2021 may end up looking more familiar with in-person intensives, audition season will likely remain remote and over Zoom.

Of course, summer 2021 may not be back to in-person, and that uncertainty can be a hard pill to swallow. Here, Kate Linsley, a mom and academy principal of Nashville Ballet, as well as "J.R." Glover, The Dan & Carole Burack Director of The School at Jacob's Pillow, share their advice for this complicated process.

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Teachers Trending

From left: Anthony Crickmay, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem Archives; Courtesy Ballethnic

It is the urgency of going in a week or two before opening night that Lydia Abarca Mitchell loves most about coaching. But in her role as Ballethnic Dance Company's rehearsal director, she's not just getting the troupe ready for the stage. Abarca Mitchell—no relation to Arthur Mitchell—was Mitchell's first prima ballerina when he founded Dance Theatre of Harlem with Karel Shook; through her coaching, Abarca Mitchell works to pass her mentor's legacy to the next generation.

"She has the same sensibility" as Arthur Mitchell, says Ballethnic co-artistic director Nena Gilreath. "She's very direct, all about the mission and the excellence, but very caring."

Ballethnic is based in East Point, a suburban city bordering Atlanta. In a metropolitan area with a history of racism and where funding is hard-won, it is crucial for the Black-led ballet company to present polished, professional productions. "Ms. Lydia" provides the "hard last eye" before the curtain opens in front of an audience.

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