Competition Zone

Competition Zone | Getting Tough With Team Drama

by Joan F. Smith Mama drama might garner high ratings for reality television series, but nobody wants to experience it in real life. Louise Taitz, owner/artistic director of On Your Toes Academy of Dance in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, co-founder of Dance Teachers Forum, and competition judge, stops drama before it starts by setting (and upholding)…

Read More

Competition Zone | Putting a Price on Winning

by Joan F. Smith Most competition dancers spend grueling hours in the studio learning choreography and perfecting routines with the hopes of both dancing and scoring well. But at Clarion [PA] Center for the Arts, directed by BreAnna Charis Liberto, competition dancers have a loftier goal: raising money for charity. “The arts are supposed to…

Read More

Competition Zone | Good Humor Goes a Long Way

by Joan F. Smith It’s no secret that the technical caliber of competitive dance has skyrocketed over Jackie Del Prete’s three decades of work in the field. Dancers and teachers alike spend hours in the studio training and polishing routines, pushed by the level of talent they face on the competition stage. Pressured by the…

Read More

Competition Zone | Nonconforming Contemporary

by Amber Perkins I have a request for educators who create contemporary competition dances: please, please, please don’t limit yourself to what you think contemporary choreography is supposed to be. Despite what we might see onstage at competition after competition, not every piece of contemporary choreography has to be deep and dark! Many of us…

Read More

Competition Zone | Winning With Dan Barris

by Karen White Another competition day is about to begin when Dan Barris, Dancers Inc.’s charmingly effusive director, strides to center stage and holds up a coffee cup. “Let’s toast to a beautiful day!” he says, while a host of matching coffee cups rise from the auditorium to greet him. Then comes the kicker: “You…

Read More

Competition Zone | Scheduling and Beyond

by Karen White Scheduling. “It’s definitely a puzzle,” says Ginny Faubell, founder and co-director of Beyond the Stars. How else to describe the challenge of fitting 500-plus dances from as many as 30 studios into a workable lineup that stretches over a 30-hour three-day weekend? Brain twister? Gordian knot? Stump the professor? Insanity? As BTS…

Read More

Competition Zone | One Judge’s Symbiotic Spirit

by Karen White Nuala DeGeorge understands the paradox her fellow dance teachers face when they’re preparing students for competition. “You grapple with staying passionate and serious when you are teaching them, but in the next breath saying, ‘It doesn’t matter if you win,’ ” she says. “Where is the integrity in that?” As a competition…

Read More

Competition Zone | A New Awareness of Age-Appropriateness

A New Awareness of Age-Appropriateness by Karen White Is it possible that age-inappropriate competition entries are losing their appeal? Caron Moore, founder and director of Encore Performing Arts Showcase, thinks so. “I feel that during the last two seasons, the sensationalism surrounding provocative routines is down,” she says. “There isn’t the same shock value.” Moore…

Read More

Competition Zone: Artistry With Cathy Roe

  Artistry With Cathy Roe by Karen White Stereotypes feed the general public’s perception of dance competitions as overloud events with underwhelming dance. But those of us who spend the majority of our spring weekends staring at one competition stage or another know that when we least expect it, art happens. It can be a…

Read More

July 2017 | Competition Zone

In the groove with Daniel De Franco by Karen White As if Rutgers University wasn’t tough enough, marketing and economics student Daniel DeFranco complicated his senior year schedule by founding a dance competition. Six years later, as Groove Dance Competition and Convention CEO, DeFranco’s still crazy busy. “This job—it’s never boring. It’s exciting, emotional, rewarding,”…

Read More