"What I Wish I Would Have Known"—My First Convention Edition
The studio I grew up with was big when it came to competing. It was our thing.
Conventions? Not so much.
The first time I attended a convention class was at Headliners Nationals in Atlantic City, NJ. I was 12 or 13 at the time and had no idea what to expect.
I remember walking into the massive ballroom near our hotel and being confused. There was some wood paneling on the floor, but most of us would be dancing on carpet. Class didn't start for 20 minutes, but already there were rows upon rows of trendy-looking dancers occupying their space in the front section of the room.
So I stood in the back, and I couldn't keep up. We were being taught choreography at rapid speed and I was lost. This wasn't how we learned things back at my studio!
The experience was a positive one overall, but I certainly left the big ballroom that day feeling defeated.
Simply put: My first convention class totally kicked my butt.
And I don't think I'm the only one who's had that experience. While conventions are so much more popular now than they were when I was dancing not too long ago, there are still tons of studio dancers who haven't made their way into a big ballroom for a master class.
So what do they need to know? We're working on a story for an upcoming issue of DS that will address all your first-time convention concerns, questions, woes and, of course, pieces of advice.
Let us know where your head is at! Ask us your convention questions—or share your "been there, done that" words of wisdom for other dancers—and we'll address them in an upcoming article! Just leave us a comment below.
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
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James Whiteside (Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine)
Say you're perpetually impeccable designer Thom Browne. Say you're planning your Spring 2020 Paris menswear show along a "Versailles country club" theme. Say you want a world-class danseur to open the show with some kind of appropriately fabulous choreography.
Who do you call? James Whiteside, of course. On Saturday, the American Ballet Theatre principal—wearing pointe shoes and a glorious pinstriped tutu—kicked off Browne's presentation at the École des Beaux-Arts with a 15-minute, show-stealing solo. Whiteside choreographed the piece himself, with the help of detailed notes from the designer.