As a dancer, competitive dance is the next step to take your dancing to the next level. Your studio, instructors, friends, everyone will encourage you to go for at least one dance competition next season. We bring you everything that you need to know about competitive dance, dancing competition and the upcoming season.
Competitive dance is a very popular sport among dancers. It is different from dance sport, where the dancers compete based only on a few specific dance styles or for some purpose. Competitive dance industry comprises of several Competition Production companies that conduct nationwide regional competitions annually during competition season. Dance schools and studios, and even independent students can compete in these competitions.
Many for-profit dance production houses come up with their own dance competition season. Typically, the competitions start by the end of January, but most of them begin accepting registrations around October or November.
Dance Competitions Happening Around you
USA Dance Inc is the National Governing Body for DanceSport in the United States with more than 150 chapters throughout the country. For DanceSport, USA Dance Inc is the official member organization of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the U.S. member of the world governing organization, the World DanceSport Federation (called the WDSF), which is the official global member organization of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
It organizes and promotes local dance competitions, regional dancesport competitions also known as National Qualifying Events, USA Dance National DanceSport Championships, where dances from pre-teen to seniors 55+ can compete at varying proficiency levels. At the USA Dance "National," the United States' World Teams are selected and represent the USA at upcoming WDSF World DanceSport Championships and World Games.
To view USA Dance National DanceSport Championships- visit www.usadancedc.org
BTW, did you know that DanceSport is recognized as the most eligible contender for Olympics? Should it be included in the Olympics? Yay or Nay? Let us know in the comments below!
Except for a short break in summer, competitive dancing is a year-round activity for dancers in the US. Dancers must maintain and improve their skills, strength, technique, balance, and flexibility throughout the year. You too may have attended dance intensives in the summer to improve your techniques and be ready for the competition season. Now is the time to test your dancing skills. Go for it!
What to Expect when you are Competing
At competitive dancing, there may be separate competitions for dance categories like Jazz, Ballet, Lyrical, and Hip-Hop, etc. Many competitions also have an "overall ranking" where all different types of dance are included. The dancers have to usually pay an extra fee if they are running for a title like Mr or Ms. Dance. A nominal fee is charged from all participants in many dance competitions.
Since different styles of dance require various forms of music, competitive dance routines are adapted commercially available songs. Most competitions have time limits for dance routines, and therefore dancers need to edit their music to conform to them.
There is no set standard for scoring, and every competition production company has its own way of scoring. However, everyone follows the standard scoring system employed in public schools. Each competition has a different approach to recognize the winners, and almost every competition has its standards when it comes to rating the dancers!
Age Groups and Eligibility:
Most dance competitions split dancers into different age groups, and some even allow dancers aged as low as 4 years to participate. Generally, the categories are 5-8 years old, 9-11 years old, 12-14 years old and 15-18 years. Dancers are required to bring a proof of their age to every competition to verify their eligibility.
Dances are also split according to difficulty level- Beginners, intermediate and advanced. If judges feel that a dancer doesn’t belong to a specific level he/she is performing in, they might bump it up or down into its right category. Dances are also classified as per the number of performers, so there are solo (1), duo/trio (2/3), small group (4-9), large group (10-19), line (19-25) and production (25+) divisions depending on the number of performers.
Though there is no regulatory, oversight body or standards organization, most competition production company conform to standards set by The Association of Dance Conventions & Competitions or ADCC
Grown-ups, don’t hang up your dance shoes yet, there are competitions for you too!
Parents and studio instructors must ensure that they enroll their wards only in the competitions which deem authentic and conform to some universal governing body norms.
You worked hard during summer intensives, made it to your dream team during tryouts, and the time to prove to everyone that you belong to the world of dance is now.
How to ace at your dance competition- Tips for dance moms, dance dads, teachers, and dancers-
We are just a few weeks away from the first dance competition of the season. You have been working hard to perfect each step and hoped to achieve a Platinum ranking.
For many of the dancers, it may be their first competition. Whether you are doing it for the first time or you have been dancing in competitions since you were in school, going clueless into the competition season shouldn't be an option. And there are specific rules and regulations you and your parents, troop, and everyone involved with you should be aware of even before you enter the competitive arena.
It will all sound crazy – and it will only get crazier
Dance competitions can get exhausting for parents and dancers, alike. Be prepared for rushed mornings and then long waits. Most dance competitions are all-day-long affairs. It’s always a good idea to have a plan to fill in the long downtime hours. Plan for what you want to eat, offer to help others, or listen to some music. Just be ready for long days and a crazy schedule.
Pro-tip for parents and dance instructors
Don't do late night hotel check-ins a day before the dance competition. Keep full night's rest in mind for your dancers to avoid meltdowns and cranky kids. Plan and get your child to eat breakfast as they need to dance, smile and enjoy the day. Keep snacks and water available throughout the day. Make sure you have plenty of rest time scheduled. Easier said than done, but it will help ensure the best experience and exposure for everyone involved.
Welcome to the world of OTT makeup, glitter, sparkles and loud music
For first timers, the number of sparkles, glitter, rhinestones, mascara, fake eyelashes on the youngest dancers could be a little overwhelming. Trust the judgment of the competing companies and their makeup artists. Stage lighting is quite unflattering for most skin tones. Makeup helps in getting the dancers in the right frame of mind and sparkles, and costume accessories help the complete look stand out from others!
The dancers are out there to wow the judges, and going a little OTT is expected from you all!
Pro tip for Parents and Instructors
Set realistic expectations while practicing at home. Do a dress rehearsal with full gear and makeup on. Watch videos of previous competitions to get a fair idea. Try to keep a positive frame of mind all the time, and be neutral about glitz and glamour. Sit down with the young dancer and explain how he/she shouldn’t get carried away or feel over or underwhelmed due to loud music, makeup, and all the glitz and glamour. Whether it is your first competition or one of several, the world is only temporary, and once the competition is over, you need to move on.
Don't behave Starry-Eyed
Selfies, photos, videos can all wait. Remember, you are not allowed to take pictures while dancers are performing on stage. Most competitions take strict actions against this and even disqualify contestants who break this rule. Ask organizers if they have their in-house photographer and videographer. Also, ask about general rules if you can do a photo session backstage. Don’t lose the focus on what you are there for. It’s not photos and selfies for social media, but for the dance itself.
Pro tip for Parents and Instructors
Discipline is the key. Encourage your dancers to follow the rules, inform them that their points could get deducted for flouting the norms. Check the rules and regulations while registering and ask questions about videographers and photographers available. Do your photo sessions while you are waiting for your turn to perform, backstage or otherwise.
Try to have Fun
You all are going to live one of the most memorable moments of your life. Remember to have lots of fun and happy memories. Dance competitions often mean a lot of drama and an overflow of emotions. Forgetting a part of your costume or hairstyles gone awry is part of the deal. Expect whining and copious tears. Even mature, professional dancers become emotional, and as a newcomer, it could be a little too much. But the whole idea of dancing is to have fun. Don’t forget that element of it all.
Pro tip for Parents and Instructors
Don’t push your dancers too much. At the end of it all, you and the troop is there to have fun and do their best. If they are also stressed out, they will not give their best performance. Everyone wants to get high scores, and as a coach or parent, you want them to earn pins, plaques, and trophies and bring glory to their schools and studios. But if they aren’t enjoying themselves what’s the point of being there? The dancers are anyways feeling a deluge of emotions and if you too have your mood swings, how will you take care of them? Smile and your dancers will smile too.
This competition season, make sure you enjoy dancing, both as a dancer as well as support team! With a little bit of planning and right preparation, you and your dancer will have the best competition experience yet!