It’s that time of year when those of you who direct competition teams are preparing for the coming season. This issue includes some great tips and advice on everything from choreography to stage makeup to costume ordering, plus the handy Dance Teacher Competition Guide with contact details for all the top events.
Whether or not you are convinced of the benefits for young dancers, competition is a growing reality of dance training. There was a lot of discussion about it this year at the Dance Teacher Summit. As many have pointed out, one thing competitions do is increase performance opportunities for students. “Competition teaches kids to be professional,” Mandy Moore said during a panel about judging. “They learn to be on time, to groom themselves, to win with humility and lose with grace.”
Our cover this month is another hot topic. With the rising popularity—and notoriety—of “Dance Moms,” we felt compelled to visit Abby Lee Miller in Pittsburgh to find out what happens when a successful studio owner goes public with her business in such a big way. In “Sorting the Reality from the Reality TV,” writer Rachel Zar will tell you who Abby was before the show and how she’s faring with her new-found fame. But little did we know that our photo shoot would become part of the spectacle. While photographer Matt Murphy captured Abby in his lens, the “Dance Moms” production crew wired us with mics and turned their cameras on us. It’s easy to forget they’re in the room once you’re involved with your work!