Posted in Kids

Just Dance!


Well, I had planned this post to cover the past two weekends of dance competitions, but then Hadley’s competition last weekend ended up being canceled due to no power at the auditorium in Louisville where they were going to perform.

As I type this, it’s Tuesday afternoon, and I’m using my brother’s house to charge everything and do some laundry. So, I thought I’d go ahead with this post and share all about Hadley’s dance competition a couple of weeks ago in Cincinnati.

A few things first…

I’m always amazed at Hadley’s performances. When she went back to dance in the third grade, she only did studio classes for a couple of years. Then, in fifth grade, she started with competition classes as well.

When you take competition classes, you have to also take ballet, tap, and jazz studio classes. So, two nights a week, Hadley is at dance for 2.5 hours. One night is ballet, tap, jazz, and then other night is for competition. Then, some dancers add on other classes like hip hop or lyrical. Since Hadley also does volleyball and track, we can’t commit to more than the two days.

They start working on routines in August, but competition season is January – May. Her studio usually attends 3-4 competitions in a season, and try to stay somewhat local…or at least not having to drive too far. Most competitions aren’t more than two hours away, and some are even closer to home.

Some dancers also do solos, duets, and trios as well as the group performances. Again, due to Hadley’s other activities, she has just stuck with the group performances, but she may do one of those in the future if she sticks with dancing.

Different dance competitions have different scoring systems and awards, and honestly, sometimes my head is spinning during the awards. For example, the competition they were in a couple of weeks ago had double platinum, platinum, high gold, etc. with other leveled awards as well.

The judges do provide feedback that the dancers go over with their teachers at their next class. They make some adjustments and work on things in order to refine their dances for the next performances.

Dancers have a jacket for their studio, and they collect pins at the competitions for each performance.

In Monday’s post, I shared some of Hadley’s “dance essentials.” While I know why some, including my dad (haha), wonder why the girls wear makeup and eyelashes, I can understand that the judges (and audience) need to see facial expressions from a distance, and the girls need to look as “uniform” as possible. To me, her studio doesn’t go “over the top” with their expectations for the girls, and Hadley can do her hair and makeup on her own.

Through the years…

The first year Hadley did competition, it was the spring of 2021….and things still looked different because of Covid. She was in two small group performances, one tap and one jazz. Whenever they had the competitions, they “blocked” the studios, so all dances for a group of studios were within one 3-4 hour window of time with awards immediately following.

Last year was Hadley’s second year in competition, and she was in one small jazz group and then a larger musical theater number with all the competition dancers.

This year, Hadley is in four dances: two large group musical theater and two small group, jazz and lyrical.

Their first competition of the season was Stage One in Cincinnati. Now that competitions are back to their regular three day schedule, it’s typically solos, duets and trios on Friday night with group dances, large and small, on Saturday and Sunday.

For Hadley, she danced the two large group performances on Saturday evening and then the two small group numbers on Sunday morning. That meant we needed to stay overnight in Cincinnati. Some dancers went to Cinci on Friday afternoon because they had their individual performances that evening.

So, on that Saturday, we arrived in Cinci around 3:00 and checked into our hotel. Since you never know about timing, Hadley made sure her hair and makeup were ready, so all she had to do was organize her costumes. We still haven’t purchased one of those dance bags that has the built in clothing rack to hang costumes. So far, two hanging garment bags have worked fine for Hadley. She keeps her two large group costumes in one and her two small group costumes in the other. The bags have two pockets where she keep hair pieces, dance shoes, extra tights, etc.

After we checked in, she went to our friends’ room and then the girls got ready. We walked over to the convention center an hour before her first dance. Once she was there, Hadley put on her first costume, and then all the girls stretched.

The one large group musical theater is the same Sponge Bob one as last year, and it’s always fun to watch.

Then, this year, the whole competition team has another Beetlejuice themed musical theater performance.

After those two performances, Hadley and friends watched other performances before the awards. I went back to the hotel, got us unpacked/organized, and had a bit of downtime. Then, I met a friend at the hotel bar…it was her birthday, so we had a drink before going to the awards.

After the awards, we went back to the hotel. Since it was 8:00, we just ate there and chatted with Hadley’s friend and her mom. We just hung out for a bit before heading back to the room around 10:00. The view from the room, especially at night, was so pretty. We were asleep by 11:00.

We were up early on Sunday, and I went and grabbed a few “grab and go” type things for breakfast and coffee while Hadley got ready.

She had her two small group performances that morning, and they were amazing. The lyrical performance brought a few tears to my eyes. The girls all looked so grown up and danced beautifully in both routine, but especially that one.

We snapped a few pictures and checked out of our hotel room before the awards.

Overall, it was a successful first competition, and we had a great time.

Hadley’s studio has been around for years and has a smaller group of dancers with more low-key moms! I’m actually grateful for that. They goal is for these dancers to have fun, grow as performers, and support the arts. Hadley is always excited to show us what she’s learned, and she has fun with the dancers at her studio. To us, that’s all the matters.

Maybe as you are reading this, my electricity has returned? We’ve now missed three days of school thanks to this weather event…I’m definitely ready for things to get back to normal.

10 thoughts on “Just Dance!

  1. I hope your power is back!
    I love the costumes and the themes and I would enjoy watching all the performances! I think Travis should be a Dance Mom one time! Ha!
    These weekends are a lot! Friday-Sunday would mean I would need Monday off!
    Thanks for sharing! Do you think Hadley will try out for high school dance team? Dance teams are getting so good! I feel like it’s way more popular than being a cheerleader now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We got power at 10pm last night! Just in time for bed 😆
      I think she might. Honestly, that was always her plan until she started back with volleyball again. In high school, she’ll have to choose one or the other…and I can tell she already feels conflicted. Our school has an amazing dance team…just placed top 6 in the nation! That being said, our volleyball team is good too (for a public school) I hate that kids can’t do multiple sports very easily (without conflicting seasons)


  2. So sorry to hear you still don’t have power! I only ever competed in a couple dance shows– while I enjoyed taking lessons and learning to dance I actually hated performing since I got such huge stage fright. I always loved the costumes though! 🙂 It sounds like you found a wonderful studio.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My daughter does competition too. She’s in 3 groups and 1 solo this year and we just had our first competition. The groups did well! It’s so hard to follow awards and who gets what, but if I have the list of our performers I just follow the list and try to keep track!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. She is SO beautiful and I would love to see her dance- I am sure she is amazing! Loved this post 🙂 I hope your power comes back on for the weekend- we can relate up here- it happens every once in awhile and is out for days- I can feel your pain- hang in there!

    Liked by 1 person

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