Magazine article Dance Spirit

Onstage New York

Magazine article Dance Spirit

Onstage New York

Article excerpt

Onstage New York, the second event founded by New York City Dance Alliance executive director Joe Lanieri, is similar in philosophy to its older sibling: "We're hoping to create a fun environment where kids have the opportunity to perform and be exposed to critiques that will help them improve," Lanteri says. Most ONY judges come from a competition/convention background, and many have performed professionally. At least one judge at each event has extensive teaching experience, and will teach convention classes.

At ONY, the judges are integrally involved throughout the event. They perform during competition breaks, and Lanteri recalls judges chasing students down in the hallways after they perform, to continue giving feedback. "Too often competition judges are these nameless, faceless people," Lanteri explains. "Our goal is to change that."

So what differentiates ONY from NYCDA? For starters, ONY attracts all levels of competition and offers both a Primary and an Advanced Division. ONY features a vocal category, as well as combined song and dance, and its convention component is optional, whereas at NYCDA classes are required. Finally, studios can bring as many routines as they want to ONY. The two events are intended to complement one another, however, and ONY competitors can win scholarships to attend NYCDA.

Last year, Nationals were held in Orlando for the first time, a move that Lanteri views as a risk that paid off. "In moving our Nationals out of New York City, we wanted to give people the opportunity to see us in a different environment," he says. To scout out those with professional aspirations, Disney casting agents attended Nationals and held an audition. The same opportunity will be available at 2009 Nationals, also in Orlando. …

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