Sponsored by Turn It Up Dance Challenge

Help Your Students Make the Most of Their Competition/Convention Experience With These Expert Tips

Courtesy Turn It Up

With back-to-back classes, early-morning stage calls and remembering to pack countless costume accessories, competition and convention weekends can feel like a whirlwind for even the most seasoned of studios. Take the advice of Turn It Up Dance Challenge master teachers Alex Wong and Maud Arnold and president Melissa Burns on how to make the experience feel meaningful and successful for your dancers:

Get organized—ahead of time. 

Know where you and your students need to be, and when, well before you walk through the doors of a competition or convention. Being organized will help remove some of the (unnecessary) stress from the day or weekend.

Choose a competition or convention that puts its best organizational foot forward, too, suggests Burns. "You'll walk into Turn It Up knowing that you are on at 3:52 pm—we've scheduled you there, and that's where you'll be," says Burns. "We don't run behind, and we don't run ahead."

Customer service should be tops, too. "We really do call our studios our guests—you'll meet our show director right away, and that person has taken the time to learn about your studio," she says. "We know about you before you even walk in!"

Don't skip the convention.

"Convention is active training that you don't get from your studio," says Alex Wong, a master teacher at Turn It Up. "You get to actively learn new styles and new things that are unfamiliar to your body. It's one of the best learning experiences you can get."

With Turn It Up, one-day conventions are held in the earlier part of the season, and competition happens later on. "It works alongside the studio schedule," explains Burns, "so that conventions happen when everybody's still preparing their material for the competition season. We thought it would be great for teachers to have one-day conventions that prep dancers for competition and as better overall dancers."

Courtesy Turn It Up

Don't focus on winning.

Instead, focus on improving. "Sometimes," says Turn It Up master teacher Maud Arnold, "the idea of winning becomes so overpowering that dancers aren't even thinking about improving." But in the real world of dance, she says, there are no "wins." "There's work, and the reality is, the work doesn't stop," says Arnold. "Winning feels nice, but it's also important to learn how to lose. If you don't know how to lose, you're going to be a failure at life." To help students focus on growth instead of solely on winning, Turn It Up emphasizes thoughtful, constructive feedback from judges rather than a numerical score.

Turn It Up also gives students the opportunity to receive feedback before they even arrive at the competition through their new program, Turn It Up a Notch. "When you go to big conventions, you don't get one-on-one time with teachers," says Burns. "Now you can sign up for 15-minute slots with our master teachers and bring your routines that are in the works for the spring competition season." She emphasizes that they're not looking to give feedback on polished routines. "We're looking for raw routines," she says, so you can take the judges' feedback home with you.

Learn more about Turn It Up—or sign up for a competition or convention!—here.

Teaching Tips
Courtesy Jill Randall

Fall may be fast-approaching, but it's never too late to slip in a little summer reading—especially if it'll make you all the more prepared for the perhaps crazier-than-usual season ahead.

Here are six new releases to enrich your coming school year:

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by A Wish Come True
Courtesy A Wish Come True

Studio owners who've been in the recital game for a while have likely seen thousands of dance costumes pass through their hands.

But with the hustle and bustle of recital time, we don't always stop to think about where exactly those costumes are coming from, or how they are made.

If we want our costumes to be of the same high quality as our dancing—and for our costume-buying process to be as seamless as possible—it helps to take the time to learn a bit more about those costumes and the companies making them.

We talked to the team at A Wish Come True—who makes all their costumes at their factory in Bristol, Pennsylvania—to get an inside look at what really goes into making a costume, from conception to stage.

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners

Jana Belot's 31-year-old New Jersey–based Gotta Dance has six studios, 1,720 students and, usually, 13 recitals. In a normal year, Belot rents a 1,000-seat venue for up to 20 consecutive days and is known for her epic productions, featuring her studio classes and Gotta Dance's pre-professional dance team, Showstoppers. Until March, she was planning this year's jungle-themed recital in this same way.

When the pandemic hit, Belot soon decided to do a virtual recital instead. Due to the scale of the production—300 to 500 dancers performing in each of the 13 shows—postponing or moving to an outdoor venue wasn't practical. (Canceling, for her, was out of the question.)

Unsurprisingly, Belot's virtual recital was just as epic as her in-person shows—with 10,000 submitted videos, animation, musicians and more. Here's how it all came together, and what it cost her.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.