Judges Panel

By Feller, Alison | Dance Spirit, September 2010 | Go to article overview
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Judges Panel


Feller, Alison, Dance Spirit


SEVEN INSIDERS SOUND OFF ON WHAT MATTERS- AND WHAT DOESN'T- AT COMPETITION.

When competition season rolls around, it's inevitable that you'll get a bit stressed out. Your brain is jam-packed with worries, from remembering to pack (and put on!) all of your accessories to making sure you spray down your wispys. But the things you're freaking out about may not be the things that matter to the people you're hoping to impress.

Dance Spini talked to seven judges to get the scoop on what you should worry about (your technique) and what doesn't matter (whether you polished your tap shoes). So put your concerns on hold for a minute and read on to see what the judges really value.

YOU THINK... "I forgot my hairpiece! We're going to lose points for sure."

BUT REALLY... Ashley Barnett of L.A. DanceMagic says any type of costume inconsistency in a group routine is distracting and takes away from the overall impression of the piece. But very few judges will lower your score for a minor appearance flaw. "I don't want the whole group to he knocked down on a score because one person forgot a rhinestone choker," says Lisa While, a judge with Starpower.

YOU THINK... "1 messed up in a group routine. If we don't get a good score, it's my fault."

BUT REALLY. . . Judges rarely mark down for individual performance flubs, especially if you recover well. "Everybody makes mistakes," says Bob Woodard, who judges for PrimeTime and Showbiz. "The judges only get upset if you make a mistake, then fall apart. Just keep going, keep moving. You don't have to be perfect all the time; what matters is how you react."

YOU THINK... "The judges love eye contact."

BUT REALLY... The judges we spoke with said getting stared down by dancers actually makes them kind of uncomfortable. In general, "Keep your focus up and out," advises White. "But it's nice if you connect with us for just a second or two."

YOU THINK.. . "The number that's scheduled to go on before mine is good- I'll look bad if I go right after it!"

BUT REALLY. . . It doesn't matter when you go on. "We're judging you based on you, and it doesn't matter who goes before or after you," Woodard says.

DO ENTRANCES AND EXITS MATTER?

To some extent. Though the judges may not score your entrance and exit, they do pay attention. "I'm watching you as soon as you come onstage," says Lindsey Click of MOVE Productions. Ray Leeper the executive director of NUVO adds that "everyone takes into account first and last impressions."

YOU THINK. . . "I hate the convention portion of the competition. I just want to perform. I'll stand off to the side with my friends until class is over."

BUT REALLY... Poor participation in class might affect your competition score, depending on the judge. "If 1 see a kid screwing around in class, and then see them dancing as hard as they can at the competition, I can't help being biased," saysMandy Moore of JUMP.

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