Headliners Is the Competition Dance Teachers Can Trust
Sponsored by Headliners
August 1, 2023

While there have never been more choices of competitions to attend, not all events are created equal. Since its founding in 1990, Headliners has established itself as a premiere event for studios looking for honest feedback and impeccable event organization. Now on the cusp of its 35th season, a weekend with Headliners is not just a competition but an experience where studio owners are valued, dancers are challenged, and everyone feels like family.

Honest Evaluations

A Headliners event in Chicago. Photo courtesy Headliners.

Fairness and quality critiques are core values of Headliners, which is why such careful attention is given to hiring thoroughly vetted judges with extensive teaching credits. “As a teacher with judging experience myself, I know the results at Headliners are going to be spot on,” says Suzanne Citere, owner of RealDance studio in Lighthouse Point, Florida. “They don’t care how many dancers you bring—the strongest work wins, period.”

Headliners was the first competition to introduce levels based on specific technical skills, taking the guesswork out of registration and ensuring dancers will be competing against their true equals in terms of ability. “Knowing what specific skills were expected from each level helped me register my daughter’s solo, as well as gauge if she’s on the right track with her progress,” says Kirstin Smith, director of Spotlight Studio in Benson, Arizona. Headliners also allows every advanced solo entry the opportunity to win a regional Title award, without any additional fee.

Seamless Scheduling

A Headliners event in Woodbridge, Virginia. Photo courtesy Headliners.

As a business founded by a mother–daughter team—both are dance parents and former studio owners themselves—Headliners knows about all the inconveniences that studios often encounter at other events, and they proactively avoid these issues altogether. For example, the competition limits entries at each event so that everyone performs on the same stage, eliminating the need for parents and teachers to rush between rooms to catch their dancers’ numbers. Affordability is also key: As other competitions’ fees have increased, Headliners makes it a priority to keep its events reasonably priced for studios and families.  

Headliners events always start and end at reasonable times to accommodate dancers’ school schedules. “They have scheduling down to a science,” says Citere. “My dancers love the backstage monitors in the wings and the way they know exactly what number is onstage and who is on deck.”

The Headliners staff, carefully selected by owner and director Shari Tomasiello, are pros at upholding the competition’s top-quality standards. “Ninety-five percent of our employees are dancers, so they understand exactly what it takes to compete onstage,” she says.

Throughout the weekend, the Headliners team stays flexible and poised to assist wherever they’re needed—something Smith has experienced firsthand: When her dancers arrived at the competition, their assigned dressing room was full. “Someone on staff personally found us a different space to use,” she recalls, mentioning that the staff was “also very accommodating backstage.”

Top-Quality Photos and Videos

A Headliners event in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo courtesy Headliners.

Headliners was the first competition (and remains one of the only) to offer free professional photos and videos of every single entry, captured by photographers who are often dancers themselves. Teachers are able to utilize Headliners media for their studio websites, social media, and other promotional materials throughout the year. “This season, we’ve upgraded all of our photo and video equipment so it’s HDTV studio quality,” says Tomasiello.

Whenever a venue’s technology can support it, Headliners also offers a free livestream at its regional events, so out-of-town friends and family can cheer on their dancers from anywhere.

A Growing Dance Family

A Headliners event in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Photo courtesy Headliners.

This fall, Headliners is excited to host four affordable, one-day conventions on the East Coast. As part of its 35th season in 2024, Headliners will be expanding its regional tour to new cities on the West Coast and holding two Nationals events in Sacramento, California, and Atlantic City, New Jersey.

As Headliners continues to grow, Tomasiello remains committed to offering the quality competition experience she would want as a studio owner, teacher, and parent. “We’ve never stopped looking for ways to improve, advance, and make our events enjoyable,” she says. “What we want most is for dancers to feel good about coming to compete with us.”

For more information on Headliners click here, and register your studio for an upcoming event. 

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