Thank you for your interest in Dance Expo and The Dance Network Competition Teams! We understand that this is a new experience for many of you and that you probably have a lot of questions. Hopefully the information below will help clarify a few things.
OK – I’ve seen Dance Moms. Is that what I can expect from competition? Absolutely not! We want our studio’s competition experience to be fun and enjoyable! We will focus on teamwork, building character and confidence, and growing as dancers. We will stress the importance of working with each other, not against each other. It is important to support your fellow teammates, and we hope that students will form lasting friendships through our studio. We don’t want to understate the commitment that will be required from each student, but we will be keeping competition classes as low-key as we can. It is NOT all about winning. Would we be thrilled if our teams got first place trophy? Absolutely! But it is much more important to us that our teams come home from these competitions with a great experience. Not everyone will win the highest medal and a first place trophy, and we want every student to walk away with pride regardless of what award they receive.
What are the class requirements? The Competition Combo team is required to take a 1 1⁄4 hr combo class (ballet/jazz). The Mini team is required to take a ballet class and competition class. The Junior team is required to take 3 classes – 1 ballet class, 1 competition class, and jumping/turning class. Teen and Senior teams are required to take 4 classes -1 ballet class, 2 competition classes, and jumping/turnin class. All Junior, Teen, and Senior members are also required to participate in our Production number. Tap and Hip Hop competition teams are required to take a 45 min tap or hip hop class along with their competition class, and a ballet class. Ballet is required because it is the root of all dance, and we want to build a solid foundation for each dancer. Ballet classes will be based on age and ability level. The competition class will consist of technique in the style(s) of their competition dance(s) as well as choreography. If you are unsure which classes are right for your dancer when registering, your teacher can certainly help gear you in the right direction.
CanstudentstaketheircompetitionclassatDanceExpo/TheDanceNetworkandtherestoftheirclassesatanotherstudio?No–studentsmaynottake class at any other studio or with any other dance instructor outside of Dance Expo/The Dance Network without written consent from the competition teachers while they are a member of the competition team.
What is the cost for competition classes? The ballet and technique classes will have the standard cost and payment schedule in line with the rest of the classes at the studios. Because the competition class is longer and more intensive than a regular class, the cost will be a bit higher.
Will students be allowed any absences for competition classes? It is important that the students are aware that they are not only committing themselves to the dance studio, but they are committing themselves to working with each other as a team. Therefore, attendance is essential. Each student will only be allowed 3 excused absences throughout the dance season in their competition class, and 5 excused absences in their other technique classes. We understand that things like family emergencies, funerals, etc. do occur, and these instances will be dealt with as necessary. However, we will not excuse students for events like birthday parties, sporting events, etc. We want students to understand the importance of dedication, therefore if a student is to miss more than the allotted amount of classes, they risk losing their spot on the competition team.
Are we required to purchase costumes for competition dances? How much will they cost? Costumes must be purchased for each competition dance. Because costume/appearance will count towards groups’ scores at competition, we may need to purchase costumes that are a bit pricier than regular recital costumes. These costumes cost somewhere between $90-130. We will do what we can to bring the price down when possible (such as adding our own rhinestones), but please be aware that this may not be possible with certain costumes. Each costume will be worn 4-5 times (3-4 times at competition and at the recital).
What other costs will be involved besides class and costume fees? There is an entrance fee for each competition. Group numbers generally cost about $40-55 per student per competition. Duo/trio dances usually cost about $60-75 per student to enter, and solos are around $100-125. Besides competition fees, each student will be required to purchase specified dance earrings (approx $15). We also want to make sure that our studio is well-represented at these functions, and we will show our pride by wearing studio attire to each competition. Students will be also be required to purchase a warm up jacket, shorts and tee. (approx. $250). This is not something you will need to purchase every year. Shoes and tights for competition performances must be purchased through our studio so that they are all uniform. Other brand shoes in the style of your class may be worn for rehearsals.
What is the commitment that is required for competition? The competition season will run from September – May. Summer classes are required for some teams.
Are summer classes mandatory? Summer classes will be technique classes that will run through 8 weeks over the summer and are mandatory for all team members except Competition Combo. We are basically trying to give the students a jump start to the year. Since competitions occur earlier than our recital, we will need to start choreography much earlier than usual. Therefore, we are giving the students a chance to start brushing up on technique and learning technique that they may not already know before they will be expected to start choreography. Dancers are required to take either 4 technique classes along with a full day week dance intensive or 8 technique classes (minus one week family vacation time) during the summer break.
My child has other activities in the fall. Can he/she join a competition team in November? No – we will not be accepting new team members for our competition classes after the regular dance season starts in September. Unlike our regular classes that start choreography in January, our competition
choreography will start in September. Therefore, students who start in November will be two months behind by the time they join. Although competition classes will be closed in September, we accept new students in our recreational dance classes until January.
How many competitions will we be attending? Where and when are they? We will be attending 3-4 competitions per year. Competitions are generally in the early spring. Most are in March and April, but they may start as early as the end of February or as late as the beginning of May. Typically, competitions are held on Friday, Saturday and/or Sundays. We will announce the weekends of the competitions as we know them, but specific day/times for dances are generally not announced by the competition organization until a week prior to the competition. Most competition will be located within 1 hour of the dance studio.
Can I choose to only attend one or two competitions? No – every student will be required to attend all competitions with their group. We are focusing on teamwork, and there will not be time to rework choreography and spacing between competitions.
Can students leave immediately after they are done dancing at each competition? No – students are required to remain at the competition until the award ceremony for their particular category. Students are reminded that they are part of a team, and they are required to accept any awards as a team. Although they will be excused after their award ceremony, students are welcome and encouraged to stay at the competition to cheer on the rest of our studio’s teams.
How many dances will each team be performing? Each team will perform 1-3 dances for competition, depending on the ability level of the group as a whole. Should your child be placed on a team that is doing multiple dances, both dances will be covered in their weekly competition class. Production rehearsal will be held each week before/after their competition class and dancers will also be required to attend 1-2 Friday rehearsals per month.
How will the teachers determine which dance style(s) each group will take to the competition? The teachers will determine which style(s) each group will compete with based on the ability level of the group as a whole. For example, if most of the students are geared more towards jazz, the chosen style will be jazz.
Willstudentsberequiredtoattendextrarehearsalsintheweeksbeforecompetition?Possibly,however,wehopetostartearlywithchoreographyso that students will be as prepared as possible by the time competition season arrives. We shouldn’t need to schedule extra classes, but if we feel that the students require more practice, we will schedule extra rehearsal times prior to attending a competition.
Will I need to travel to one of the other Dance Expo/The Dance Network studios for classes? Classes for East Windsor students will all be held at the East Windsor studio, and classes for Lawrenceville students in Lawrenceville. Production rehearsal does require dancers to travel to other studios.
If my child auditions, is he/she guaranteed a spot on a competition team? While we make every effort to include everyone, and we have multiple teams of different levels, sometimes we just don’t have a team suited for your dancer. We don’t want to put a dancer in a situation where they are being too challenged and fall behind, or on a team that is not challenging enough. In these situations we can recommend classes that may put them on a pathway to try out again the following year.
How are students chosen for solos/duos/trios? Solos and duo/trios will be offered by teacher recommendation..My child has never taken dance classes before. Can he/she still audition? Yes! Please do!
What can we expect at auditions? Our auditions will begin with approximately 20 minutes of warm up exercises and stretches. Then, they will be learning across-the-floor combinations (kicks, leaps, jumps, turns, etc.). After that, they will learn choreography in different styles (jazz, lyrical, musical theater for example). Students do not need to prepare any choreography for auditions. They should wear comfortable, fitted dance clothes and jazz or ballet shoes if they have them.
My child can’t make it to the May audition dates! Will there be more opportunities to audition? Please reach out to us ASAP if you cannot attend our audition dates and are seriously interested in joining the team, as we may be able to see your dancer individually if needed. This must be done before summer classes begin in June to ensure your student has enough time to take their required summer classes.