America’s First Dance Competition Is Celebrating Its 40th Anniversary!
Showstopper has been making its impact on the dance world since 1978. Before then, dancers didn't have a stage to perform on, the opportunity to learn from peers, or a competitive outlet like most sports. Debbie Roberts recognized this missing piece in the dance community and that is how America's first and longest running dance competition, Showstopper, was born. Debbie taught dance for over 26 years and owned and operated her own dance studio for 20 years. She is now the owner and National Director of Showstopper, along side her husband, Dave Roberts. Dancer, teacher, business owner, author, and mother, Debbie has made dance her life's career.
Debbie got the idea to host the nation's first dance competition from watching her son, Adam, play competitive sports for years. Seeing the excitement he got for a big game inspired her to create the same for dancers. With the name suggestion from her dancing, 8-year-old daughter Angel, Debbie took her savings and booked four competitions for Showstopper's first year. She wrote letters and knocked on the doors of local dance studios. Despite many doors slammed in her face, Debbie did not give up. Instead, she drove around the state with her big sales pitch. Eventually, she recruited about 400 people to attend her first show. By the fourth show of that year, people were asking her how they could participate in Showstopper's competitions.In no time, local televisions and newspapers were filled with pictures of children leaping across the Showstopper stage. The excitement and curiosity grew from dancers across the country, and with the help of her husband, they continued expanding their competitions from state to state. Showstopper attracted incredible young talent. Many of today's top superstars like Beyoncé and Britney Spears marked the beginning of their careers on Showstopper's stage
Left: Cover of Dance Teacher Magazine 1984. Right: Showstopper Awards 1985, pictured Debbie Roberts
What has made Showstopper so successful from the start and still to this day was Debbie's knack for detail. She has gone to extraordinary lengths to provide a high quality event with the industry's most experienced judges, host cities with plenty of things to do, theatrical auditoriums with comfortable seats, large stages, and professional lighting
Beyond the stage, Debbie's impact in the dance community continued. In 1984, Debbie graced the cover of Dance Teacher Magazine. In 1986, she topped Glamour Magazine's list of Outstanding Young Working Women. That same year Showstopper made it to the big screen. Before So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with The Stars, was the American Dance Championships, Showstopper's National Finals Competition. Showstopper's hit TV Show filled televisions across the nation for 20 years and received 5 Emmy Nominations. In 1992, Debbie published her first of three dance-related books. Her first book, The Super Studio: The Guide to a Successful Dance Studio, earned major credit at many colleges throughout the United States. In the late 1990s, Debbie added a list of Dance Conventions to Showstopper's National Tour, providing dancers the opportunity to learn from the world's top dancers.
Debbie and Dave continue to grow Showstopper each year, now with competitions and conventions in over 40 locations across the nation. They are just as invested in their company today as they have always been, traveling every weekend to one of their competitions to make sure each is the best it can be. Showstopper's competitions continue to provide an experience for the whole family. Each show is held at carefully picked cities and venues. Seamlessly evolving throughout the years, Showstopper now has custom built stages with professional dance floors, LED background screens that are customized to each performance, and professionally recorded videos of each dance which are displayed on HD screens throughout the show. Showstopper is known throughout the dance industry for its perfectly crafted, rhinestoned trophies and colorful confetti that falls from the ceiling.
Showstopper National Finals, Photo Credit: Yoko's Dance
Showstopper has become more than just a competition, it is a lifestyle. Last year Showstopper released its first teen dance magazine, with editions published twice a year. Showstopper Magazine features today's hottest dancers, trends and fashion. Showstopper also launched its first teen blog, Showstopper VIP, a site for teens to get connected, inspired, and creative. It publishes daily articles about the latest dance trends, from fashion and music, to health and motivation. It doesn't stop there. Showstopper's new app gives you access to exclusive videos and interviews, and provides dancers with everything they need to know for their competition weekend. It is no wonder why they have recently broken ground on an extension of their headquarters, located in Myrtle Beach, SC. Showstopper continues to impact the dance world, as they have done for the past 40 years.
"Showstopper began as a dream - a dream I had in 1978 to provide a performing outlet for the tens of thousands of young talented dancers across the country. Our first year consisted of four regional events and a finals held in New York City. Since that time we've held over fifteen hundred shows and seen over 2 million dancers - some who grew up on the stage right before our eyes, year after year. We are very proud to have brought recognition, both locally and nationally, to very deserving, hard working dancers and teachers, and will continue all of our efforts to bring DANCE to the minds, hearts, and homes of America."
- Debbie Roberts, 2018
He got our heads in the game in High School Musical. He pushed it to the limit in Jump In! He welcomed us to Holiday Inn. And now, curly-haired dancing heartthrob Corbin Bleu will be back on Broadway in the spring of 2019 with one of the season's most anticipated productions.
It's contest time! You could win your choice of Apolla Shocks (up to 100 pairs) for your whole studio! Apolla Performance believes dancers are Artists AND Athletes—wearing Apolla Shocks helps you be both! Apolla Shocks are footwear for dancers infused with sports science technology while maintaining a dancer's traditions and lines. They provide support, protection, and traction that doesn't exist anywhere else for dancers, helping them dance longer and stronger. Apolla wants to get your ENTIRE studio protected and supported in Apolla Shocks! How? Follow these steps:
Just in case you missed it: To highlight last Thursday's International Day of the Girl, The New York Times has launched a unique photographic and editorial project called #ThisIs18, all with the aim of spotlighting what life is really like for 18-year-old women around the world.
Quinn Starner is no stranger to competitions. The 16-year-old "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation" alum has been slaying the contemporary circuit for years, winning Best Teen Dancer at The Dance Awards in 2017. But lately she's been more focused on ballet, relocating from Florida to train at the Indiana Ballet Conservatory two years ago. And while she's won awards at ballet competitions like ADC|IBC and Youth America Grand Prix, in June she upped the stakes by going to the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS—an audition-only event that's one of the world's most prestigious comps. We followed Quinn on her Jackson journey.
Amanda LaCount was born to move. The second the music comes on at her Dance Spirit cover shoot, the bubbly 17-year-old is shimmying her shoulders and tossing her hair. When she launches into a full-out freestyle to Whitney Houston's "It's Not Right But It's Okay," you can't take your eyes off her.
And yet with every gig she lands, Amanda is challenging some of the dance world's longest-held biases. "I'm curvy," she says, "and I like being curvy. My body is not a bad thing. It's who I am." Here's how Amanda went from talented tot to hardworking pro—and from insecure preteen to body-positive role model.
Is there anything better than a dance convention? Frankly, we don't think so. Although we love getting a guest teacher to come to our studio for a masterclass every so often, there's just something so exciting about packing up our leotards and dance shoes and heading to a convention for the weekend. Here are 7 reasons why dance conventions are, without a doubt, the greatest things ever.
Get Dance Spirit in your inbox
This story originally appeared on dancemagazine.com.
"So why did you quit?"
It's a question I've been asked hundreds of times since I stopped dancing over a decade ago. My answer has changed over the years as my own understanding of what lead me to walk away from greatest love of my life has become clearer.
"I had some injures," I would mutter nervously for the first few years. This seemed like the answer people understood most. Then it became, "I was just not very happy." Finally, as I passed into my 30s, I began telling the uncomfortable truth: "I quit dancing because of untreated depression."
It's the age-old debate: Is dance a sport? The answer is, without a doubt, YES. Of course, dance is much more than just a sport. But when we get down to the logistics of it all, it's impossible not to recognize it as the athletic endeavor it is. Here are 10 reasons why dance absolutely qualifies as a sport.
Colder weather is (finally) here, which means it's time for a good dance movie binge. But which iconic films should you put on? To narrow your search, we went ahead and ranked 30 of the greatest dance movies of all time.
Of course, we know a list like this is bound to be controversial—so if you disagree with our lineup, have at it in the comments!
Boston Ballet principal Ashley Ellis' dancing is the perfect pairing of ethereal grace and punchy musicality. The Torrance, CA, native began training at South Bay Ballet at age 6, and attended the School of American Ballet summer program in 1998. In 2001, she was accepted into American Ballet Theatre's Studio Company, and the following year, she joined ABT's corps de ballet. In 2007, she became a founding member of Corella Ballet Castilla y León in Spain, under the direction of Angel Corella. Three years later, she headed back to the States and danced with Sarasota Ballet before joining Boston Ballet as a second soloist in 2011. In 2013, she was promoted to principal dancer. Catch her performing this season in the company's Nutcracker. —Courtney Bowers
Let's take a walk down memory lane to this past September, when the #LevelUpChallenge was in full-blown viral mode. Literally thousands of videos of people dancing to Ciara's song "Level Up" flooded the Internet, but only one truly broke it: an amazing clip of the Wilson Central High School Dance Team—and their Assistant Principal, Ranesa Shipman. Never one to miss out on a viral dance challenge, Ellen DeGeneres decided to have Shipman and the team perform on "The Ellen Show"—and the fun didn't stop there.
You and your phone have more in common than you might guess, says Dr. Rafael Pelayo, pediatrician and clinical professor at the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine. "If you charge your phone halfway, it works for a few hours," he explains. "But it's not performing at its full potential, and you have to be careful about how you use that energy."
It'd be nice to just plug into the wall for nine hours until you hit 100 percent battery, but for (human) dancers, it's not that simple. So DS asked Dr. Pelayo and Dr. Argelinda Baroni, co-director of the Child and Adolescent Sleep Program in the department of child and adolescent psychiatry at NYU Langone Health, how to maximize your own battery life—ensuring you'll dance better and more safely in the process.
Two dancers from different studios on opposite ends of the country meeting at a dance competition may sound like the formula for a cheesy teen-rivalry movie. But it's actually real life for lots of dancers on the comp circuit. Meet four sets of adorable BFFs who found winning friendships at a competition.
We still can't get over the talent on "Dancing with the Stars: Juniors"—like how many YouTube tutorials do we have to watch to become half as good as these mini dancing machines? And just in case you forgot how skilled these prodigies are, this week's theme was sure to remind you: Last night, the ten couples performed to songs that came out the year they were born. (But let's be real, most of these songs aren't really that much of a throwback.)
It's safe to say that the bond between dancing siblings is one of the strongest out there. But for sisters Emma, 16, and Ava Blaser, 10, that bond runs deeper than most can even fathom: The pair continued to dance together throughout Ava's treatment for kidney cancer remission, and they say it helped them heal.