I started a COMPETITION! Opinions Wanted for the "Perfect" Experience!
By cdaowner
On 12/31/2013 21:48:01
Well....it's official, I have lost my mind! I have started my own dance competition in SC called Creative Dance Affair. With this being it's inaugural year, we are starting out small, with only one city (I kind of wanted to test the waters first). I am super excited, and want it to be the "perfect" event for everyone attending. As of right now, there are only 4 studios registered, but I'm okay with that. I wanted something more intimate...less intimidating for newer or smaller studios. I need some help though. I want to know what everyone wishes for the "perfect" competition. My goal is to make it very personal and special for all studios. We are sending out welcome packets to studio owners, making goody bags for all dancers, listing every student's name on the back of the t-shirts, have hired fun yet professional judges, am not (out of complete fairness)letting my own students compete for overalls, am having a fun photo booth in the lobby, have assigned dressing rooms, great trophies, affordable fees......what else? I would love to hear opinions as to what others would think to be a "perfect" competition. Oh, and registration doesn't end til January 5th....just sayin'!!! Sorry this is so long, but I know I can count on y'all for honest opinions!
re: I started a COMPETITION! Opinions Wanted for the "Perfect" Experience!
By hummingbird
On 01/01/2014 08:51:24
Make sure that you're realistic about your schedule, I say this as a dance teacher, ex SO owner and as someone who now runs a dance festival (it's similar to a competition) Make sure you give your adjudicators proper breaks, that way they'll want to come back and they'll let other adjudicators know about you. Most of our new adjudicators are referrals. Make sure that you leave your adjudicators to do their job, don't try to get them to adjust their marking once things are underway, nothing is worse than seeing bronze medals being handed out in the first session and then all of a sudden nothing below gold is awarded when the standard is the same, worse than that what does this say to the kids that danced in that first session? My entries have already closed and I'm wrestling with my schedule at the moment, it's great fun in the end even if it does leave you totally frazzled!
re: I started a COMPETITION! Opinions Wanted for the "Perfect" Experience!
By Sumayah
On 01/01/2014 10:13:38
Real critiques from the judges. Not just "smile more!" or "point your toes!" Because sometimes those comments are unwarranted. For instance, there was a section that had choreographed flexed feet - obviously flexed, not just not pointed - sure enough one of the judges, "point your feet on X section." Ugh. If you have a tap category, please, please, please get someone with real tap experience. Because sometimes the fastest kid out there isn't the best tapper. Sure, he's doing flaps a million miles an hour, but that other guy who had some complex rhythms and less showy "tricks" was the superior dancer and should have placed first. Also, on every score sheet I've ever seen, the choreography/costume marks are gimmees. Do take off points for inappropriate costumes. If I send my 8 year old dancers out in a binged out bra with fringe and tiny hot shorts with a bustle and fishnets, please take off points. But on the flipside, if my 8 year dancers are dancing to Katrina and Waves "Walking on Sunshine" and I send them out in black unitards and brown burlap bags, take off points. Same thing for music. If someone if using an obviously inappropriate song, mark them down (or stop the song entirely if the piece is too risque). Please make the style and experience divisions clear and limit the number of solos someone can do. I don't care care how amazing a dancer is, I don't want to see them do a ballet, a jazz, a lyrical, a contemporary, a tap, and a musical theatre solo. Make your wording clear when breaking down the competition brackets. For instance, 4 hours of class and under is beginning. Does that include rehearsals and private lessons? Is that all classes they take or is it for that subject only? Be specific. Don't drag the awards ceremony out. As much as I love spending 18 hours in a theatre, by the time the awards hit, I'm done. Tallying up the marks will take longer than you think. Plan for it. Also, I know why it happens, but I hate it when the scores are being tabulated and you can see that the judges went back later and lowered the marks. If you thought the kid deserved 9/10 when they danced and you change it to a 7/10, it hurts the kid (especially when the winner wasn't better per se, but perhaps came from a studio that dropped more money at the competition). Give judges awards. I love the ones who include polite behavior backstage. Do away with cd's. We're living in a digital age. Everyone has an ipod or ipad or something. Please have hook-ups available for that. Oh, and please check the sound. I've definitely been at competitions that don't have any speakers turned towards the dancers, so they really can't hear the music clearly. If you can tell the song is quiet, turn it up. If the song is loud, turn it down a little. Volume is not one size fits all - some people normalize their audio, but not everyone does. Hmm. A director/choreographer lounge is nice - nibbles and a place to hide for a few minutes. If you get to the point where you have multiple stages running, please don't have the same studio doing something at the same time on both stages. The director shouldn't have to sacrifice seeing one group in favor of watching another. Also, that whole ipod thing - usually there's only one of those and two dances from the same studio can't perform. And when announcing a held dance, please don't be pissy about it. A simple, "judges we're picking up # from earlier" will suffice. You don't need to say, "all the dancers from # are [i]now[/i] ready, judges we're going back to [time] for #." Yes that happened to us. And why weren't all our dancers ready at [time]? Well, the competition was doing solo awards on one stage and group dances on the other stage. And one of our soloists was waiting for awards who was in that piece. And our soloist won first. Was she supposed to not go to awards? The announcer made it sound like we didn't have our act together - truth was, they didn't. Don't spend a bunch on trophies. Trophies for top 3, sure. But otherwise, my kids (throughout the years) have appreciated pins way more. Something they can put on their company jacket or dance bag. Trophies get dusty and frankly aren't worth the plastic they're made of. My 0.02 cents anyway. :)
re: I started a COMPETITION! Opinions Wanted for the "Perfect" Experience!
By cdaowner
On 01/01/2014 20:51:25
Thank you both so much! Your .02 cents is invaluable to me! I am so greatful for honest opinions! I agree with everything said, and will do my best to implement these words of advice!!! Keep them coming!

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