Forum: Competitions

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My experience adjudicating the Vermillion Dance Festival in Alberta, Canada
By Dream_chaserPremium member
On Mon Apr 02, 2012 07:31 PM

I just got back, this morning from Vermillion, Alberta, Canada. I was adjudicating the Vermillion Dance Festival. It's non-profit. I loved it!! Now my flight experience (canceled flights, lost baggage, red eye flight) was challenging, but it was well worth it.

It's NOT a competition. There is ONE adjudicator. They are given awards (Diamond, Gold, Silver and Bronze) like a grade. They wanted me to be honest and if I gave out all bronze, so be it. After each category, I go down to the stage. They all walk out, stand still, hands behind their backs, and wait for the award announcements. Awards are placed in their hands, behind their backs, as I announce their placement. Then I announce my favorite piece of the group (not always the highest scoring) and they win a scholarship check and certificate. It's called "Adjudicator's Choice".

Then, they all stand there, while I give corrections and advice on improving. This festival is all about learning and not winning. Wonderful.

As I walk to the stage, the dancers, on stage, and the audience applaud for me. It's so regal and classy. I loved it.

At the end of the two days (there are three sessions with 90 minute meal breaks), I announce my choice for best choreography, most promising group, most promising male, most promising female, and a few other awards.

Going back to my lost luggage, they went out and bought me new clothes (and spend more than I would, which they did not have to do). Such wonderful people respectful, polite. No one with drama.

What I liked, too, and I have done this with competition in eastern Canada, was that I sat up about 15 rows in the theater, with space around me cleared, for a better view of the stage, rather than sitting on the floor in front of the stage. I had a clock, the time schedule and a desk hotel type bell. After I finished scoring, I hit the bell so they could announce the next dance. When all done for that category, I hit the bell again, and that is their cue to all come back on stage for awards and corrections.

I was able to keep the event on schedule, it was under my control and I was not rushed to score fast. They left enough space that I am not, like so many competitions, rushing to judge and finish my scoring while the next dance comes on.

Also, the DVD person had me set up with a head set the he controlled for the critiques. I did not have to think about turning it on and off. No score sheets are handed out, either. They only know their placement and receive their DVDs at the end of the event.

It seems that there are quite a few dance festivals, like that, up there. I liked it so much better than a competition. It was about learning and giving out REAL awards and NOT just making a bunch of whining parents, kids, teachers and studio owners happy with unrealistic high scores. I would love to see more of these here, in the states. I just loved it!!

31 Replies to My experience adjudicating the Vermillion Dance Festival in Alberta, Canada

re: My experience adjudicating the Vermillion Dance Festival in Alberta, Canada
By CoachT
On Mon Apr 02, 2012 08:26 PM
Wow it sounds wonderful!
re: My experience adjudicating the Vermillion Dance Festival in Alberta, Canada
By NDow
On Mon Apr 02, 2012 09:01 PM
^ It sure does! It seems like a huge honor and responsibility to be the only adjudicator. They were so lucky to have you there! And boy, it sounds like they have their heads and hearts in the right place. Is there an equivalent in the Eastern U.S.? And do they have Dance Moms on TV in Alberta?...
re: My experience adjudicating the Vermillion Dance Festival in Alberta, Canada
By Dream_chaserPremium member
On Mon Apr 02, 2012 09:14 PM
God forbid they should have Alberta Dance Moms! LOL

I don't know if they have one in the east. I would rather do these than a competition. It flew by fast and was enjoyable for me!
re: My experience adjudicating the Vermillion Dance Festival in Alberta, Canada
By FeelTheArtsmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Apr 03, 2012 01:59 AM
These are great "competitions" and yes, we do refer to them as competitions lol!

And to answer your questions, we definately do have access to dance moms on tv.


We do have the larger competitions similar to HoF or Showstoppers, but there are also tons of smaller competitions run like what dream chaser explained. Most of these are really well organized and the kids have a great time.

Something that has become very popular with these competitions is to hold a "dance off" at the end of the weekend where the top 5-10 dances from each difficulty level compete for top prizes/money. It's a ton of fun for the kids to get to dance a second time!

for example:
The competition we are gearing up for in 2 weeks has 5 divisions
Novice (1st year dancer)
Junior (2-3 years completed)
Intermediate 1 (4-5 years completed)
Intermediate 2 (6-8 years completed)
Advanced (9 years compelted)
They then take the top 5 from each group, add lighting and then sell tickets to the "dance off"
re: My experience adjudicating the Vermillion Dance Festival in Alberta, Canada
By livetodance26
On Tue Apr 03, 2012 05:14 AM
We have travelled twice from Western Australia to attend the Dance extreme festival in Edmonton Alberta. It is run the same way and was a fantastic experience both times we went! They give out bronze, high bronze, silver, high silver, gold & high gold. They gave out all of these not just the golds, they do give bronze but they do it in a very positive way. They also give most promising, most outstanding & adjudicators choice in each division. They rotate two adjudicators throughout as there are no breaks. I hope to take another group again. The kids were made to feel so welcome and it was an awesome experience for them all!
re: My experience adjudicating the Vermillion Dance Festival in Alberta, Canada
By hummingbird
On Tue Apr 03, 2012 09:30 AM
Having only moved to Canada a few years ago I can say as an outsider that I love the way these dance festivals are run. They really are a celebration of what the dancers have achieved but at the same time if the dancer needs to go home and practice some more they're not afraid to say so, hand out bronzes and tell them that they need to go home and practice.

We do have our fair share of drama moms but I have a feeling that a Canadian Dance Moms program would be a bit tame in comparison.

Janet, I do hope that your journey back was less eventful than your journey up here and that you get your luggage back soon.
re: My experience adjudicating the Vermillion Dance Festival in Alberta, Canada
By SingDanceLaugh
On Tue Apr 03, 2012 01:19 PM
Yay Alberta!

I do love the way we do things here. My sister and I have been very lucky to grow up with these wonderful competitions and festivals. I am personally partial to the competition style events, however at most of them, everyone still gets a medal. I don't think it was until I went to an American run competition in Vancouver that I had ever seen a judge sit closer then 15 rows.

The way I always describe festivals is that you are competing against your self instead of everyone else.

I'm so glad Vermillion (and Alberta) was able to give you such a positive experience.

livetodance26 I actually work at the theatre where Dance Extreme is held. Ian runs a fantastic event.


SIngDanceLaugh
re: My experience adjudicating the Vermillion Dance Festival in Alberta, Canada
By Dream_chaserPremium member
On Tue Apr 03, 2012 01:46 PM
No luggage, yet! LOL

The trip back was tame but tiring, since I left at 7:30 pm (19:30) and arrived home at 10:00 am, with three flights.
re: My experience adjudicating the Vermillion Dance Festival in Alberta, Canada
By loverofballet
On Tue Apr 03, 2012 07:53 PM
Edited by loverofballet (205895) on 2012-04-03 19:57:04 added more
Yes, the festival/competitions in Canada are generally well done, organized and somewhat sedate compared to the comp's in the U.S.

I have attended many different ones in British Columbia and Alberta. They are much as you described, about learning and not about winning. The Kiwanis festivals in British Columbia are wonderful as well because they are run as non-profits. The organizers are all volunteers. They have low entry fees (the 2 I'm doing are $15.00 for a solo and $10. for a group). All the ballet and contemporary/modern groups and solos are held in the span of one week, complete with marley floor laid out on the stage. Adjudicators are ballet and modern specialists. Students receive a first, second or third certificate. Those doing solos can qualify to do the dance provincials where they compete against the best from each Kiwanis festival in the province, in ballet/modern/tap/jazz. The Kiwanis festivals are also wonderful at having extra awards like scholarships or money, donated by various good-will groups and patrons of the arts.

At the end of the competition they have a special dance gala that they sell tickets for (very reasonably priced around $15.). Soloists and groups are chosen by the adjudicator to be in this special show.
re: My experience adjudicating the Vermillion Dance Festival in Alberta, Canada
By Dream_chaserPremium member
On Tue Apr 03, 2012 09:36 PM
Yes, this one is non-profit, with volunteers, too. Special awards have scholarships attached. Very nice. We need that here.
re: My experience adjudicating the Vermillion Dance Festival in Alberta, Canada
By madance
On Fri Apr 06, 2012 08:36 AM
sorry to hijack.... but I have never heard of this and now i am so going to look into it more bc my maiden name is VERMILLION and that side of the family is from Canada!!!!
How cool!
re: My experience adjudicating the Vermillion Dance Festival in Alberta, Canada
By Dream_chaserPremium member
On Fri Apr 06, 2012 02:46 PM
Yes, in the old days, your last name came from where you lived. You might be Joseph from Vermillion. Part of my family has the last name, "Vanderbilt". That means that they come "from the Bilt", the Bilt being a part of The Netherlands.
re: My experience adjudicating the Vermillion Dance Festival in Alberta, Canada
By hummingbird
On Fri Apr 06, 2012 03:45 PM
A lot of the settlement names in Alberta came about in the opposite way, they were named after the settlers. Hinesburg is named after the Hines family, my own town of Marwayne was named after the Marfleet family who came from Wainfleet in England.

The town of Vermilion was apparently named after the colour of the clay found in the river valley but it has only been settled since 1902. Most of Alberta is very young, there are many towns that have yet to celebrate their 100th anniversary but it's still a fascinating history.

Not long after we'd moved here we discovered that a distant cousin of mine, who had moved from Glasgow, also lived in the area. It's a small world!
re: My experience adjudicating the Vermillion Dance Festival in Alberta, Canada
By Dream_chaserPremium member
On Fri Apr 06, 2012 04:54 PM
It is so interesting how we all acquired our last names.

By the way, they found my luggage. It's at Edmonton airport! LOL Of course, they have to send it to me but I JUST filled in my lost luggage claim, that they told me to do because they considered it gone.

I had to spend a lot of time remembering what was in the bag, what I paid for it all, etc. One day earlier and I would not have had to do that. Oh well. I hope that they don't lose it on the way!
re: My experience adjudicating the Vermillion Dance Festival in Alberta, Canada
By hummingbird
On Fri Apr 06, 2012 05:12 PM
I'm glad they found your luggage, it's so useful to you in Edmonton now :D
re: My experience adjudicating the Vermillion Dance Festival in Alberta, Canada
By Dream_chaserPremium member
On Fri Apr 06, 2012 05:24 PM
hummingbird wrote:

I'm glad they found your luggage, it's so useful to you in Edmonton now :D


The funny thing is that they were surprised that I was not still there. I gave them the information, three times, of when I was leaving. Great organization.
re: My experience adjudicating the Vermillion Dance Festival in Alberta, Canada
By hummingbird
On Fri Apr 06, 2012 06:38 PM
I wonder if they thought you were going to just hang around until it turned up?
re: My experience adjudicating the Vermillion Dance Festival in Alberta, Canada
By Dream_chaserPremium member
On Fri Apr 06, 2012 06:59 PM
hummingbird wrote:

I wonder if they thought you were going to just hang around until it turned up?


I think so! She said, "Aren't you still in Edmonton?"
re: My experience adjudicating the Vermillion Dance Festival in Alberta, Canada
By hummingbird
On Fri Apr 06, 2012 08:33 PM
But Edmonton's the hip and happenin' place to be, why would you want to go home? :P
re: My experience adjudicating the Vermillion Dance Festival in Alberta, Canada
By Dream_chaserPremium member
On Fri Apr 06, 2012 09:49 PM
hummingbird wrote:

But Edmonton's the hip and happenin' place to be, why would you want to go home? :P



Actually, I wish that I had a few more days to explore. I just like seeing so many places. I am a gypsy at heart, married to someone who would be a hermit, if I allowed it.
re: My experience adjudicating the Vermillion Dance Festival in Alberta, Canada
By SingDanceLaugh
On Fri Apr 06, 2012 11:21 PM
Edmonton is "da bomb"! Haha, just kidding! I would love to be anywhere but here on days like yesterday, when it snowed a foot and a half in 12 hours. But it is a pretty cool area. You have to come back during the summer though, thats when all the cool things happen.

SingDanceLaugh
re: My experience adjudicating the Vermillion Dance Festival in Alberta, Canada
By Dream_chaserPremium member
On Sat Apr 07, 2012 09:47 AM
That's when I love snow, when you can't go anywhere and have to stay home and enjoy it.
re: My experience adjudicating the Vermillion Dance Festival in Alberta, Canada
By hummingbird
On Sat Apr 07, 2012 04:22 PM
That's not what happens here, you either stay at the studio or you drive back not being able to see the road.

The next day if the roads are still bad then you might get a day off.
re: My experience adjudicating the Vermillion Dance Festival in Alberta, Canada
By Dream_chaserPremium member
On Sat Apr 07, 2012 05:43 PM
Yeah, rarely do we close down, and I do not live on flat lands. I live where it is hilly, with winding, steep roads, so sometimes many roads are closed, since they are not main roads.

When it's a slippery snow, my driveway is at the bottom of a hill. I have to turn and go right up a hill, and it has happened that I cannot, even with all wheel drive.
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