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  • Writer's pictureSophie

Day 458

Updated: Nov 27, 2023


Studios start rehearsing their pieces for the next competition season as early as July for the following year. Competition season essentially runs year round, with there typically only being a break for about a month over the summer. Small groups make up less than nine people, large groups are between 10 and 19 people, and productions can be as many as 100 dancers. Styles are normally jazz, ballet, hip hop, tap, contemporary, and lyrical, but you can technically compete in any style of dance that you choose. I went on to dance ballet pre-professionally as I got older, but jazz and hip hop were always my favorites growing up.

Dancers spend days of their lives learning, cleaning, and perfecting pieces just so they will be ready for 2-3 minutes of stage time. Awards at every competition vary, typically having names like “Gold”, “Ruby”, and “Triple High Gold Silver Platinum Deluxe”. My point being, the award names can sometimes get a little bit ridiculous. I’ve learned more names of gemstones at dance competitions than in any science class I have ever taken.

Dance competitions are not always just competitive. Dance competitions often include convention-style classes with dance professionals from all over the world. Anyone competing at the competition can take class from 8am to 3pm in a variety of styles. These conventions can be amazing, challenging opportunities to get instruction outside of a brick and mortar studio alongside your entire team. I’ve had the opportunity to take class from Emmy winning choreographers, Broadway dancers, and even the choreographer of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour.

The realm of competition dance is challenging and exhausting, but above all, it is really fun. People often make some of their closest friends through dancing and learn the values of hard work and team work. Competitive dance is not just about winning, it is about the pursuit of improving as a dancer. Although I don't dance competitively any more, I had some of my fondest childhood memories as part of a dance team. I will never forget my annual dance competitions at Disneyland, competing in a dance at 10am and being on Space Mountain at 4pm on the same day. I know Downtown Disney like the back of my hand because of my frequent visits since I was five.

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