Dancers at Groove Competition Nationals in 2019 (courtesy Groove)

Here's When Dance Competitions Are Planning to Return to the (IRL) Stage

As we step into month five of #SocialDisDancing, Nationals season is upon us—though it's looking very different this year. What hasn't changed? Your indomitable team spirit and commitment to your craft, whether that means shining onstage or rocking it in your living room.

As promised in our Summer 2020 issue, here's a roundup of competitions that have rescheduled 2020 events due to pandemic-related concerns. We'll continue to update this list throughout the summer as conditions evolve. Many competitions are returning to live events with a myriad of new health and safety guidelines in place; make sure to read each competition's policy thoroughly to determine if you'll be comfortable returning to the stage.


Artistic Dance Exchange

ADE has consolidated their 2020 National competition and convention into one event in Orlando, FL, July 23–26. They will also be kicking off their 2020–2021 tour early, starting in Jacksonville, FL, October 2–4.

Artists Simply Human

ASH will be holding all its remaining 2020 events virtually, and plans to kick off its next season in Orlando, FL, October 23–25.

Backstage Competition

Backstage has added a short extension to its 2020 Season, starting back up August 14–16 in Millstone, NJ, then making other stops in NJ and NY in October and November.

Bravo

Bravo has tentatively rescheduled some of its postponed regional dates over July and August.

Break The Floor

Break The Floor's Summer Jam, a workshop and competition experience, will tour cities across the U.S. and Canada this July and August.

Celebration Talent

Celebration Talent will hit the road in August on its "2020 Remix Tour," with several rescheduled regional competitions.

Fusion National Dance Challenge

Fusion has added new 2020 tour dates, starting July 17–19 in Miami, FL, and continuing every weekend in August.

Groove Dance Competition

Groove has extended its 2020 season through September, while also continuing to host virtual competitions. The next live competition is August 7–9 in Millstone, NJ.

Hollywood Vibe

New 2020 tour dates have been added, starting in Scottsdale, AZ October 2–4, and continuing through the end of 2020.

Kids Artistic Revue

After finishing up their virtual 2020 Nationals events, KAR has added additional 2020 regional dates, starting July 17 in Omaha, NE, and continuing throughout August and September.

Leap Competition

Leap has rescheduled a few cities from their 2020 season throughout July, including Kansas City, KC, Tampa, FL, and Indianapolis, IN.

New York City Dance Alliance

NYCDA has opted for an entirely virtual summer. The next scheduled live event is October 30 in Mobile, AL. NYCDA plans on continuing to hold live events throughout November and December into the regularly scheduled 2021 season.

Starpower

Starpower is holding several "National Remix" events throughout July, and a number of postponed dates have been rescheduled as "Take Two" events, starting with Denver, CO, July 24–26.

Showstopper

While its Northeast and West Coast Finals have been cancelled, Showstopper's Northern, Southern, and Gulf Coast Nationals are still scheduled. Showstopper also will be holding East and West Coast dance championships over Labor Day, as well as several rescheduled regional competitions starting in July and running until early October.

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Ashton Edwards Is Breaking Down Gender Barriers in Ballet

When Ashton Edwards was 3 years old, the Edwards family went to see a holiday production of The Nutcracker in their hometown, Flint, MI.

For the young child, it was love at first sight.

"I saw a beautiful, black Clara," Ashton says, "and I wanted to be just like her."

Ashton has dedicated 14 years of ballet training in pursuit of that childhood dream. But all the technical prowess in the world can't help Ashton surmount the biggest hurdle—this aspiring dancer was assigned male at birth, and for the vast majority of boys and men, performing in pointe shoes hasn't been a career option. But Ashton Edwards, who uses the pronouns "he" and "they," says it's high time to break down ballet's gender barrier, and their teachers and mentors believe this passionate dancer is just the person to lead the charge.

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All the Hollywood and Broadway Musical Moments to Look for in “Schmigadoon!”

In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of about two dozen dancers got the rare opportunity to work on an upcoming Apple TV+ series—one devoted entirely to celebrating, and spoofing, classic 1940s and '50s musicals from the Great White Way and Hollywood. "Schmigadoon!", which premiered on AppleTV+ July 16, stars Cecily Strong and Keegan-Michael Key, who get stuck inside a musical and must find true love in order to leave. The show features a star-studded Broadway cast, including Aaron Tveit, Ariana DeBose, Kristin Chenoweth, Alan Cumming, Jane Krakowski and Dove Cameron, and is chock-full of dancing courtesy of series choreographer, Christopher Gattelli.

"The adrenaline was pretty exciting, being able to create during the pandemic," says Gattelli. "I felt like we were representing all performers at that point. There were so many who wanted to be working during the pandemic, so I really tried to embrace this opportunity for all of them."

Gattelli says it was a dream come true to pay tribute to the dance geniuses that preceded him, like Michael Kidd, Agnes de Mille, Onna White and Jerome Robbins, in his choreography. Each number shows off a "little dusting" of their work.

Dance Spirit spoke with Gattelli about all the triumphs and tribulations of choreographing in a pandemic, and got an inside look at specific homages to look out for.

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Shouldering the Load: What kind of dance bag should dancers use?

Walk into any dance convention, audition or class, and you'll see a vast variety of dance bags lining the walls. But can the style of bag you use (and how you wear it) have an impact on your dancing?

Don't worry—you won't have to shoulder the load alone. Dance Spirit spoke with two physical therapists who specialize in working with dancers to find out what dance bag is best.

What should dancers look for in a dance bag?

Dr. Meghan Gearhart, physical therapist and owner of Head2Toe Physical Therapy in Charlotte, NC, recommends dancers opt for a backpack-style dance bag rather than a duffel or cross-body bag.

"A bag that pulls the weight all to one side creates a side bend and rotation in the trunk," Gearhart says. "That is going to lead to muscle imbalances that will affect dancers while they're dancing, as well as just in regular everyday life." Muscle imbalances can mean limited mobility on one side of your body, as the muscles on one side are overly contracted and the other side is overly extended to compensate.

Gearhart suggests dancers pick a backpack made from a lightweight yet durable and breathable material, such as cotton, linen, nylon or polyester. Straps should be wide enough to not dig into your shoulder muscles, so avoid drawstring styles with rope straps. Adjustable and padded straps are best, so you can wear the straps at a length where the bag rests at the middle of your back.

Dr. Bridget Kelly Sinha, physical therapist and founder of Balanced Physical Therapy and Dance Wellness in Matthews, NC, emphasizes the importance of finding an even weight distribution when choosing a dance bag.

"If a dancer has a lot to bring, like when heading to the theater for a full day of rehearsals and performances, then I recommend a rolling suitcase to offset the load," Sinha says.

How should dancers wear their bags?

Even if you've selected the perfect dance bag, it's important to be mindful of how you wear it.

Gearhart advocates wearing both straps when carrying your backpack. She also suggests placing heavier items towards the back of the bag, where they will sit closer to your body. A bag with straps that are too loose (or a bag that is too heavy) can create an increased arch in the lower back or cause a dancer to compensate for the weight by leaning forward. Ideally, Gearhart recommends a dancer's dance bag weighing no more than 10 to 15 percent of their body weight.

"I usually tell dancers to use their common sense. If you don't have tap today, you don't need to bring the tap shoes," she says. "If your water bottle makes the bag too heavy, just carry it." If your studio offers lockers, take advantage of that storage space to lessen the number of clothes, shoes, and dance accessories that live in your dance bag.

And if you think your bad dance-bag habits have given you alignment issues, seek out a dance physical therapist to prevent further injuries.

"As a dancer, your body is working so hard all day," Sinha says. "It does not need excess strain from your bag."

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