Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Dance Recital Tips - The Way They Should Be Written

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#1 Your child is a preshush snowflake. We know this.  So is the person's child beside yours. Remember that. Everyone wants to to see their child perform. As a result, please refrain from the following behaviors:

  • Stressing yourself out as if recital is an audition for the Joffrey Ballet.  It's not. And even if it was, it's the child's audition. Not yours.
  • Yelling at your child and then yelling at them for crying because their eyes will be red on stage.
  • Standing in front of people during the performance, thereby obstructing the view of someone else's preshush little snowflake.
  • Talking during the performance. Just because you aren't interested, doesn't mean the person beside you isn't.
  • Criticizing another child.  You don't know if their parents are sitting next to you.
#2 Respect the dance teachers and staff.  
  • They will be busy. Do not take this time to ask if Little Suzy did a good job or if there will be dance class next Thursday.
  • Do not ask the photographer (if there is one)  to take special pictures for you. He/She is also very busy.  There is a picture day for these kinds of requests.

  • If you want to watch the dances, have a seat. Standing at the side of the stage is rude. It distracts from the dance, especially if your child is very young.  Buy a ticket and sit down. Many parents have to run back and forth between costume changes. It's part of the experience. Embrace it. 
#3 This relates to the first item. The recital is more than your child's class. There will be many, many numbers performing as there are many children involved. 
  • Your child's dances will not be the first few numbers so that you can "get out of there."
  • Allowing your child to watch the older kids will fill them with wonder and develop a deeper love for the art.  (Trust me on this.)
  • If you must leave, do so quietly, without making a scene.
  • Yes, it may take 2-2.5 hours for the recital to be finished. Enjoy it. These children have worked hard for many months to put on a good show for you.
#4 Things that I shouldn't have to say, but...
  • Please refrain from using profanity in front of the children. It may be ok for you, but it may not for the kid standing next to you.
  • Turn off your phone. No one cares that you're so important that you have to take a call in the middle of a performance.  It's rude.  And if you must take a call, go outside.
  • Applaud for everyone.
  • Thank the teachers for teaching your children.
Of course, they can't really put this stuff into a parent note.  But it would make things easier on everyone if they could. ;-)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Hey, Competitions, We Have Something to Say!

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The other day, I read an article from Dance Studio Life magazine.  It's a few years old, but I still thought it was an insightful read.   It got me thinking though, about all of the things I'd like to tell THEM, the competition directors.  I am, after all, the customer.  Sure, the studio owner chooses the competitions, the kids perform, but I am the one paying for the service.  They should know what I think too, right?  Of course, I wanted to make sure I hadn't left anything out and I wanted to include everyone - so I asked the Twitter-verse what they thought: teachers, parents, dancers. 


We were all mostly on the same page.  But here's what we generally want to be able to let the competitions we attend know:

Pricing: Please stop sheltering the studios.  Many studios add an upcharge to their fees and as long as the parents were told ahead of time, that's ok. But, as mentioned above, we are the ones paying the fees and we feel like we have the right to know what they actually are.  

Schedules: When you sell out months in advance or your cut off for submissions is 30-60 days before the competition date, why on earth can you not give us a schedule sooner than 6-7 days prior?  This is especially inconvenient for those of us that travel to competitions, have to take time off of work for Friday (or earlier) starts, etc.  Especially frustrating is when you won't put a nationals schedule out until a week prior.  We understand that there's way more that goes into creating a schedule than we realize, but a skeleton would go a long way to keep us happy.

Rules: The only rule I see being routinely enforced is no photos/videos.  While I understand the safety of the dancers, protecting choreography angle, I really feel like that one is enforced because you lose money if people don't buy YOUR videos and pictures.  The rules I want to see enforced are those related to the appropriateness of the routine - no 7 year olds dressed like and dancing to a song about prostitutes.  Other rules are more specifically addressed in other points.

Awards: The overwhelming consensus (and you all talked about this a lot in the article)  is that they are out of hand.  A gold is the best award at one competition and the worst at the next.  Then another has a triple platinum.  Another has a titanium award.  And it's been a LONG time since I've seen a silver given out.  Can't we just agree on one awards system?

Levels:  If a dancer can execute a perfect triple into a tilt drop, they're not novice. You know it. They know it. Their teacher knows it.  Stop rewarding them with the diamond ruby sparkle award and a 1st place.  Move them into the appropriate competitive category, like your rules say you'll do.  The same applies to an intermediate dancer who is in 15 numbers.  If they can rehearse 15 numbers in 6 hours or less, I have a bridge to sell you.

Overbooking: Please stop starting regional competitions on a Wednesday or Thursday.  School should come first.  Book a 2nd weekend if you have to.  Or open a second room.  But if you do that, please make sure that the 2nd stage is as of the same quality and safety as the main one.  I'm not calling anyone out, but one I attended last year with two rooms was a nightmare.

Social Media: DO IT.  Answer questions.  Respond to complaints. Retweet nice things we say about you.  And post.  Don't just throw up a Facebook page and let it gather cobwebs.

Information: We've not returned to competitions more than once because of lack of information or misinformation. Make sure that whomever is speaking for your company knows what they are talking about.  And most importantly, return the studios' phone calls and emails.  Even the small studios.  Again, not naming names...  On the reverse, one of our favorite places to go is one where the director is open and communicative with our studio owners.

Judging: Don't ignore the smaller studios.  Please make the critiques useful.  We know the costume is pretty.  Work a lunch break into the schedule if you have to.  But it would be great to get critiques that don't feature the judge chewing into the microphone. And hold your judges accountable for giving everyone a critique.  One year, I sat and watched a judge enter a score after about 15 seconds for every single novice and intermediate number.  He only watched the advanced numbers.  All. Day. Long.  


Of course, we don't know if any of them will read this post.  So, the best thing you can do is offer your feedback on Dance Competition Hub.  Competition owners and vendors are taking notice and reading our feedback, so keep posting it!

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