KAR DANCE COMPETITION: a tough start to the competition season

Dear Readers:

 

Hi, it’s been a while since we’ve caught up! Last weekend was the first competition of the competitive season at my dance studio, KAR dance competition. In the past, we have competed there and often done pretty well. Here’s last years post about this competition if you want to see how my experience was like in the previous season. This year was also a pretty crazy season, with the most pieces competed before from our studio, someone getting kicked off team (and me having to step in to their place), duets and trios, and a new image for our studio under a new artistic director. There is a lot riding on this season and since we did well in the past at KAR, we were excited for this competition. However, strong studios and talented dancers made this our hardest and most eye opening competition ever.

day 1 

Out of the four dances I competed in, saturday had three of them in it, my pointe duet, lyrical trio, and contemporary small group piece. I had to get up bright and early (6:00AM) to show up at the studio for a full ballet warm up. We did a run through of the pieces and then got ready to leave for the competition. At the venue, my teachers talked to the directors to change the order of go since I only had ten minutes in between my duet and trio, and trio was first, and my teachers thought I would be more comfortable doing pointe work before. I was nervous since it was my first time performing a duet or trio in a competitive setting, would the judges like my pieces, would I mess up?

I got into my satin pointe shoes, and white delicate ballet costume and began warming up. I was really nervous at that point(e) (haha get it<- ) (okay I’ll stop) and started to doubt all the training and effort I had already put in. Our number was called and before I knew it I was called on stage. It wasn’t the best run. I was really tense and while getting all the steps right, I didn’t feel like I enjoyed the dance. To be honest, I just wanted to get through it without falling or messing up. I don’t think i did bad, but it wasn’t the most artistic performance I could have done.

Next I got changed for trio really fast and when that happened, I found out my costume was too big! My skirt, which was supposed to fit right over my belly button, slip down to my hips! My teacher frantically tried to figure something out until she decided to just screw it and I went out to dance. This felt like a good run. After a girl got kicked off of team in december, I was set to be put in her place. It was a last minute change and our teacher put in the least amount of hours to our piece, just hoping things would work out. Our performance wasn’t perfect, far from it, but all three of us did our best and all we were given and I felt powerful afterwards, floating above the stage as I finished and walked off.

Now it was awards. The duet and trio were competing against each other which meant I was technically competing against myself. We were also competing against a contemporary duet from our studio with the two favorites and the strongest dancers in our age group. After the excitement died down and overalls began being announced. Our teacher whispered to us, “Girls let’s go, you did not place, I know your scores were not high enough.” All three sets of the duet trios looked at each other in surprise and disappointment, we thought at least one of us would place and this was a shock. It see worked so hard and got nothing. We walked off stage quietly with our teacher, probably looking like terrible sports and went backstage. I prayed something weird would happen and one of us actually would place, but it never happen. Sometimes your best isn’t good enough, I remembered my ballet teacher telling me earlier. I heard those words repeated in my head and sighed, there’s a big world out there with so many amazing people.

After that disappointing morning, I changed into my next costume, a Hamilton-esque costume. Our dance is to the song Run Boy Run, and about breaking free from society. We are wearing red-coat like costumes and I have to say, I think it looks sick and really different from the classic lyrical and sassy jazz competition judges are used to seeing. We ate lunch and got ready to to onstage. I took a breath and got ready to perform. I felt grounded and let go of expectations and the stress. It was my third performance so I didn’t have the nervousness and the fear, I just wanted to dance.

Afterwards, it felt so good. I felt refreshed and happy. Awards came along and we didn’t expect much after the awards this morning. Then, our name was called! Fourth Overall! And a judges choice award for fierceness! Proud, and satisfied I went home, after watching some amazing soloists, getting inspired by the raw talent and hard work I could see. The cool thing about dance is even though it’s only a couple minutes of a performance, you can see the detail and hard work that went into it if you look closely enough. That’s what i love about watching dance, you can see the effortlessness on stage, but also all the hours spent in the studio, conjoined into a brilliant show. I went home and got ready for the next day, I would only be in one piece which meant a more relaxing, calmer day.

day 2

I woke up early-ish, around 8:30 which doesn’t seem that early I guess to some, but it’s a sight to see me up before 9 on weekends. I did my make up and went to the studio to get my hair braided and done for the performance I had today. The teacher was being extra hard on all of us. After seeing the competition, I could tell she was nervous and stressed that we wouldn’t be able to place again like the duets and trios the previous morning. I too was a little worried and I could sense the energy around me was similar.

We got to the competition and went to the corner where we kept our stuff in the dressing room yesterday. Some moms from our studio were their since when doors opened up at eight so we got the tiny corner for ourselves. All of a sudden one of the other teams racks fell down. It thudded to the floor, sparkly costumes falling to the ground. A mom from that team glared at us, “You’re breaking our stuff.” We were taken back, we hadn’t touched the rack or expected such aggressiveness from a mom. But we knew better than to talk back, we all mumbled sorrys but it wasn’t enough. “You know you can’t save spots. Our team was here first.” This was the first time a fight, even one as small as this happened at a dance competition. we bit back our tongues even though we want dot yell back that we’ve been here all morning. That we were taking up about 1/8 of what your studio is taking up. That she shouldn’t pick on kids like us. But we were silent and luckily were moved to a roomy dressing room, just for us!

We changed into matching tee shirts and jeans. Our dance, to the song Castle on the Hill, is about coming home. As a play on words, our teacher thought of homecoming, and put us all in street clothes and varsity jackets. The jackets don’t come on until the last half when we all unite. This dance is a large group so it’s a bigger dance than the ones before. Since there are more people it’s easier to hid if you make a mistake so i wasn’t as scared as before my duet. But, I still knew I had to try my best and when i stepped onto the stage, I put away all the anxiety and tiredness and transformed into a preppy girl, returning home and having fun. It was a good run, but the other dances in our category were amazing. We were not allowed to watch, as it would make us nervous, but I could hear the cheering in the audience from backstage, and heard the team before us had a huge trampoline where they would jump and flip off of. Other dances had girls who could turn over four pirouettes consistently and in sync with each other.

Awards. We weren’t expected much again and as they announced the places, we saw that many strong teams have already been called up. All of us assumed we didn’t place and sat there sadly. 5th Place. Our hopes went up. Not us. 4th Place. Our hopes went up. Not us. 3rd Place. Our hopes went up. Not–Wait, that is us! That was probably the loudest I screamed and we all ran up hugging the trophy thinking this was too good to be true. Third place in such a hard division in category was pretty unbelievable!

 

The weekend came to an end and I think I learned a lot. I learned that there is a big world out there and you will never be the best. I learned that sometimes you just need to breathe and relax. I learned to come with low expectations and go from there. But finally, I learned to have hope and faith in yourself. That the hours you put in will eventually be recognized. I have another competition next week and I’m so excited for it and hope that my next performances will be better than before.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

xoxo,

californiangirl

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JUMP Part 2-Convention Experience and Tips

Dear Readers,

 

This part 2 of my JUMP experience. It’s mostly tips on surviving a dance convention and less about my convention experience but I still hope you enjoy. I also competed a different piece on Saturday but I was pretty much the same as Friday’s competition.

Favorite Classes: 

Contemporary with Teddy Forance-His teaching style really spoke to me. One memorable quote I had from him was “If you aren’t doing it full out, it doesn’t count, and you’re not really dancing.” He was tough on us but I loved his class and the combination he taught us.

Ballet with Katy Spreadbury-I’ll be honest. Last year this was probably my least favorite class. I love ballet but this class was just so easy and basic. However I really enjoyed it this year. It was our first class and it really warmed me up for the rest of the day. The highlight of this class was when she asked me and my friend Alley to come up and and demonstrate the combination! Then we learned a really fun variation.

Hip-Hop with Misha Gabriel-Ahhhhhh I love Misha!!! Our studio really doesn’t even offer hip-hop and all of us girls are traditional ballet/lyrical girls but hip hop was super fun! I LOVED IT. The combo was hard but not too hard because we did moves such as the dab, whip, and we hit the folks, things that everyone knew. His class was certainly a highlight of JUMP 2016.

And this is not a class but I loved seeing Ricky Ubeda around the convention center. Half of the girls on my team may have a dance crush on him but whatevs he’s really not a big deal. Actually he is!!! He’s possibly the best dancer in the world and ahhhh I love him. Almost as much as Nick Lazzarini.

 

Convention Tips:

What to pack in your dance bag- the answer is EVERYTHING. Okay not literally, but pretty much everything. this is what I bought to JUMP.

All Shoes-ballet, jazz, character, lyrical, and socks

Extra Dance Clothes-a ballet leotard and tights (usually you don’t need this), a bra and tank and booty shorts or leggings. Sweats and some gangsta clothes (wink wink) for hip-hop classes.

Stretching/Conditioning Tools- a theraband for foot stretches or extension stretches and  a tennis ball to roll out your feet.

Hair Stuff-your hair WILL get messed up after 8 classes. So bring Gel, Hairspray, Bobby pins, u-pins, Hair Ties etc.

Makeup- You don’t need makeup for competition so I just wore a basic everyday makeup look (even though I rarely actually wear makeup). Bring some makeup for touch ups. Foundation, bronzer, blush, and highlighter (for contouring), eye makeup, mascara, and some eyeliner.

Anything else you THINK you might need. Bring it.

 

Scholarships-what are they and how do you get them?

VIP Winners: At JUMP there is a VIP Audition class where you learn a combo by a teacher then they see it in many groups then choosing 10-15 girls as the VIP Audition Winners. You get a scholarship to next year’s Convention and Competition. Sadly, no one in  our studio got a VIP audition but there were so many amazing girls that it was expected.

Class Scholarships: These are given out to people who stand out in a particular class or style. 3 girls got class scholarships from my studio. It’s pretty much impossible to rhyme and/or find similar names to some of the girls so some of the made up names (I need to keep this blog anonymous) have no relationship to their actual name. Ria from the same room as me (the Junior Room) got a Jazz scholarship. Faith from the Teen room got a Contemporary scholarship. And most surprisingly, Kristen got a Hip-Hop scholarship. They got a scholarship to Dancer Palooza, a dance convention in Long Beach that is a week long.

 

Tips on getting scholarships:

-Wear something that makes you comfortable. Just because other girls are where next to nothing or their bikinis if you aren’t comfortable with that don’t wear it. You should be worried about dancing, not feeling self conscious.

-Stand in the front. Make sure you can see the teacher and they can see you.

-Don’t worry if you don’t know the combination perfectly. A teacher told me that they love watching dancers that maybe don’t know the whole combo but they are trying hard and they have some big and expressive movements. the people with the most potential gets the scholarships.

-Smile. No one likes a grumpy looking dancer. Smile even if you are trying really hard.

 

Thanks for reading and comment what you thought of this article.

 

 

californiangirl signing off,

 

xoxo,

californiangirl

 

JUMP Convention part 1- Friday

Dear Readers,

As I mentioned in my last post, last weekend I went to JUMP dance compeitition/convention. It was A LOT of FUN.Yet also one of the most tiring weekends of my life. Let’s start with Friday Night.

Friday: I got to the convention center at around 6:30 in full makup and hair-Low clean bun with HEAVY winged eyeliner, Thick Thick Thick fake eyelashes, lots of blush, and bright red lipstick. I realized I haven’t really explained what our Junior dance is about so I’ll give a quick description.

 

So first of all, you see me refrence us as the Juniors or Junior Small Group a lot. That’s because our age is 12 when averaged up so mostly we compete in the Junior age division (different in most competitions. For example: Rainbow: we competed in the 12-14 divison while JUMP we competed in the 11-12 division) And we are a team of 5 (originally 6 until complications caused a dancer on our team to take a break from dancing), meaning we are in the small group category. Onto the more exciting part. Our dance is called Stepford Territory, based on the Stepford WifesI’ll wait a minute while you go google that if you don’t what that is. 

……….

So the basic storyline is that we all want to be perfect house wives-have the perfect homes, perfect kids, perfect clothes and makeup, and, most importantly, the perfect MAN. It just happens that us 5 Stepford Wives want the same guy. So we are competing for this guy and towards the end we start looking ridiculous, our hair is messed up, we have crazy facial expressions. But yeah, good old M I mean Holly (I have to use fake names still) gets the ring at the end. I would link the performance however I want this blog to stay mostly anyonomous. The music is to Settle Down by Kimbra.

 

Anyways… We were scheduled to compete at 8:36, I believe. But we needed to get there early in case it was running early or something happened or something was left at home (the convention center was in Santa Clara)-about 20 minutes from home. We warmed up, did our dance, used our therabands stretch and strengthen our feet, and practiced our splits and turns. It was only 7. We were nervous, the energy was like a cloud of buzzing bees hovering over us. We did some jumping jacks and crazy 8’s trying to keep our focus and burst the cloud of flying buzzing bees. The nervous energy only grew as we saw other teams. “Look away. It won’t help us if we look. Will they your performance better?” Our Coach, Ms. C, asked as she noticed our gaze towards them. “Stay focused.” And we did. More sit ups, more jumping jacks, more listening to music through our earbuds.

“Look away. It won’t help us if we look. Will they your performance better?” Our Coach, Ms. C, asked as she noticed our gaze towards them. “Stay focused.” And we did.

Finally it was 8. We went back stage and changed into our costumes. They were running a little behind. I put on my fishnet tights, my sparkly hair clips, my pearl earrings, my puffy petticoat, and my cute pink dress with a black belt that made me look like I was going to have breakfast at Tiffany’s any second now.

My team pulled in a tight circle. It was our last competition; next year all new teams would be formed. Who knew if all of us would make it onto team next year, and if some of us were moving to Teen or Senior, Others staying in Juniors. We smiled at each othwr one last time, squeezed each others shoulders, and were ready to dance.

And we did. We didn’t place in the top 3 but that was expected since JUMP had no ability split (we could be going up against someone who has been competing and dancing since they were 2). I was still proud we did good and I couldn’t wait to go back to our studio to listen to Judge commentary. I mean many of the best dancers out there were judging. Like Nick Lazzarini and Ricky Ubeda.

We were happy and went home… or to our hotel rooms ready for the convention the next day.

californiangirl signing off

 

xoxo,

californiangirl

 

 

JUMP Dance Convention is Next Weekend

Dear Readers,

Next weekend is the last dance competition of the season. After that we have auditions in May then we start the cycle all over again with new teams, dances, competitors, and costumes. We’re going to JUMP which is my favorite dance competition because it’s so fun. It’s also a convention meaning we get to take master classes from famous instructors. I got to take Hip-Hop with Misha Gabriel, Contemporary with Mia Michaels, Ballet with Katy Spreadbury, and Jazz with Nick Lazzarini. All accomplished dancers and choreographers. So for my post today, I’m going to share the highlights of last year and what I’m looking forward to next weekend!

The Highlights of Last Year

-Nick’s Class. We did this really fun and sassy jazz routine to Ex’s and O’s. Nick was so funny and he was also really talented

-The Audition. I didn’t get a scholarship but it was still super fun to audition alongside some amazing dancers. It was a great experience and I’m excited for this year’s auditions.

-Lunch. I know, lunch doesn’t sound very exciting or anything but really it was fun. I bought my lunch, chicken tenders and fries, from the little store and got a drink from Starbucks to go with it. We sat by the pool (unfortunately no one remembered their swim suits) and talked about our days while spliting a huge bag of Starburst candy Liv bought.

-Hip hop. I’m a ballet dancer. I can handle lyrical and jazz, but hip hop just isn’t my thing. Luckily my friend convinced me to not skip hip hop classes and I took a class with Misha. It was SO FUN and I actually enjoy hip hop. You can be more loose and less uptight than ballet and lyrical.

-Skipping. We skipped tap because none of us even own tap shoes and it was an ADVANCED tap class. It was fun. We bought candy, sat by the pool, watched other classes going on (for other age groups) and chilled by the pool. Pretty lit.

Looking Forward To…

-Nick’s Class. I literally cannot with Nick’s class. He makes it so fun and unstressful and his choreography is just so fun and sassy.

-The Audition. Like I said, I didn’t get a scholarship last year but it was still super fun to audition alongside some amazing dancers. I’m really excited for this year’s auditions.

-Hanging out with the squad. Most of us are staying overnight at the same hotel since we compete really late, 11:30 PM, and have to get up early, we need to be registered by 7:00 AM. It’s going to be fun. When we’re not dancing, we can all just hang out and chill by watching TV and movies, swimming, and just talking.

-The Competition. Last year we didn’t compete at Jump, just attended the competition. But now we’re competing. It’s going to really fun like usual. I’m really not expecting to place becasue Jump is the most vigorous dance competition. They only have age categories, not ability so someone who has just started dance but is my age will be competing against me and someone who is homeschooled for dance and has been competing since 2 years old but is our age. So it will be hard, but it’s exciting to be seen by the judges who are all super well known and successful dancers/choreographers.

Check out JUMP:

http://jumptour.com

https://www.youtube.com/user/jumptour

https://www.facebook.com/jumpdance

https://twitter.com/jumpdance

https://www.instagram.com/jumpdance/

 

californiangirl signing off

xoxo,

californiangirl

 

http://www.justacaliforniangirl.wordpress.com

Rainbow Dance Competition… what a weekend

Hey Readers,

It’s californiangirl! This is a quick blog post about the amazing weekend I had at Rainbow Dance Competition! I competed 2 pieces, a small group Junior dance in the Contemporary category, and a line time (really big team) in the super line division. Overall, it was a fun experience and I can’t wait for my next competition (JUMP) in April.

Pros:

-team bonding

-good experience

-fun to get to meet other people from other dance studios

-awards were AWESOME

-great staff at Rainbow

 

Cons:

-rainy

-crazy (lots of teams and screaming)

-tiring and stressful

 

Results:

Junior Small Team: We got 2nd place overall in a HUGE division of 30 dances. We did a contemporary dance called Stepford Territory (and if you’ve are old enough to know what the Stepford Wives are, our dance is exactly what you think it is), and went up agains lots of Jazz and Tap pieces. From my competition experiences, I’ve found that they like to give tap pieces overall awards so that they want to keep competing tap because there aren’t very many tap pieces that compete. The piece that beat us were, of course, a TAP piece. Like expected. However, I’m still proud and feel accomplished. Also, rainbow has a point system known as an adjudicated point system. We got Double Platinum… not sure what that means? So for example: judges score you out of 400. 0-150 is Gold, 150-250 is high gold, 250-350 is platinum and 350-400 is double platinum. We got the highest ranking!!! Finally, we got a judge’s choice award for Dynamic Dancing. Overall, super happy about the results of Juniors and I love all my team members… however to keep this blog anonymous I can’t name them but I made some “fake” names up. Shoutout to Sasha, Liv, Alexandra, and Holly (all very similar names to there actual names).

Super Line: We did a lyrical piece to the song Photograph about a pair of friends falling out throughout the years. there was actually only one other group in our division… a Hip-Hop dance entittled Tetris. And most of the dancers were 15-19 while we had a huge range of dancers from ages 9 little Ava, I mean little (hmmm what’s something that ryhmes with Ava) to the Senior Blair. We got a Double Platinum and we all sat in a huge circle, sweaty hands gripped together tightly as they announced the winner of our division. “And the winner of the super line category and $100 is…” A dead silence swept through the stage. The tetris music started to play.”Tetris!!!” We all unlocked hands. We lost. As disappointed as we were, we put on smiles and walked out. Maybe it’s good to not always win, after all, next competition we will be even more determine to win and we will work harder. This loss only put some FIRE in our bellies.

Overall, it was a fun, hectic weekend. I loved meeting other dancers and dancing my heart out for such amazing and experienced judges. Ever dance in our studio took home a Double Platinum which is pretty remarkble.

Thank you Rainbow for a great weekend!!!

californiangirl signing off,

xoxo,

 

californiangirl

http://www.justacaliforniangirl.wordpress.com