Masquerade Dance 2015

The first weekend in May, Lake Area Dance Center (LADC) was at our final regional competition of the year, Masquerade Dance. Masquerade was held at the Ames Center in Burnsville. As always – our favorite competition, at our favorite location.

This competition also attracts some incredible competition. Some of the favorites to watch (besides our own), included Music General, Woodbury Dance Center, Premiere Dance Academy, and Summit Dance Shoppe.

It was so nice outside, Teen Company practiced their lyrical dance outside.

It was so nice outside, Teen Company practiced their lyrical dance outside.

Got the App!

This year, I finally got the Masquerade app to work on my phone. I’m not sure why it didn’t work in years past, but this year, it worked on the first try. Their app tells you what number is on stage, and which one is next. It also has the entire program to help you keep track of the order. I did still buy the program, because I like to hand-write awards. The app has a function to let you keep track of awards, but I felt the awards ceremonies moved too fast to make it useable.

One of my favorite functions of the app, was Audience Choice voting. After each category of dance, several were chosen for audience members to be able to vote for their favorite. I did, of course, always vote for LADC’s dances if they were selected. 😉

Other features include a link to the venue’s official website, directions, and a list of nearby places to eat.

Some of the Teen Company Dancers at Cherry Berry... a few of our Senior Company dancers showed up, so I roped them into a picture too! ;-)

Some of the Teen Company Dancers at Cherry Berry… a few of our Senior Company dancers showed up, so I roped them into a picture too! 😉

In addition to using it to vote, I also used it to make sure I didn’t miss any of the dances from our studio. It was an absolutely gorgeous weekend! In early May, Minnesotans like to take advantage of the sun and warmth that we miss all winter long…. I spent quite a bit of the time outside on our long day, laying in the grass, reading. Because I had the app, I could keep track of what numbers danced, and how close they were to the LADC dances (or a few others I knew I wouldn’t want to miss). It also allowed some dancers (and moms) to walk to Cherry Berry (a couple blocks away) and make sure we made it back in plenty of time for dancers to rehearse for their next dance! It was worth the $4.99/year!  Bonus perk: My understanding is that I can use it at Nationals too! 🙂

The Program

The program that Masquerade sells is very reasonably priced, at only $8! This program was just as large as anywhere else. In addition to including the names of all the dances, dancers, and the names of their studios, there is also a place at the end to record overall awards. If you’ve read my other competition posts, you might notice that not having that space available is a huge pet peeve for me! I appreciate that I don’t have to search for places to write all the awards! 🙂 Thank you, Masquerade!!

Sarah is known by many parents as "the judge with the insanely high heels." How does she walk in those?

Sarah is known by many parents as “the judge with the insanely high heels.” How does she walk in those?

The Judges

One of the reasons I love Masquerade, is the judges. Sarah Jo Fazio is the face of Masquerade! She is the judge that most dancers instantly recognize, respect, and love! She has a very positive influence on dancers.

When she gives out the Judges’ Awards, she always starts with some sort of spiel about how the awards and placements do not make or break each person as a dancer. It does not define who they are, or their value. It is merely a reflection of how that day happened to go… her words changed based on the age of the group she was talking to, but the idea was the same. One quote I had written in my program from her was this (I think she said it was something her father used to say): “Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn. If you don’t learn, you don’t win.”

Besides Sarah’s wonderful message for dancers, I love that the judges at this competition personally pass out all the adjudication awards. It makes the awards seem more personal. While Grace was picking up her High Gold award for her solo, Sarah told her how much she loved her prop. Thank you judges for taking the extra time to interact with the dancers!

Side note: One of my favorite moments from the whole competition was when Grace was dancing her solo. When she stepped on her box, and it lit up, all 3 judges threw up their arms and cheered! It was AWESOME!!! I wish there was a picture of that! 🙂

The Judging

Once again, wording was different than other competitions to define the categories. This can confuse dancers and parents alike. This is one area I think Masquerade could improve a bit – communicating the different “rules” to the general public. If you go to their website, you have to be a dance instructor/studio owner to be able to access those.  You can go into the Parent’s FAQ to get the rankings for the adjudication… I’ll see if I can make any sense of it for you.

Age groups are divided up into Petite, Junior, Teen and Senior. That is pretty standard.

The levels of competition are divided into green, which is recreational; gold, which is intermediate; and purple which is advanced or elite. I don’t remember the color scheme representing the different levels in past years. The colors are because they try to harness some of the fun of Mardi Gras into their competition. This is also why they have the masks in their boutique, and throw beads at various times throughout the day. The fun atmosphere they try to create is part of why I like this competition so much!

The scores as pulled from their Parent FAQ page:

Bronze, Silver, and High Silver (I don’t believe I saw any of these rankings): 266 and below

Gold: 275-267 (There were a handful of these given)

High Gold: 284-276 (This was probably the most common score, especially for our dancers in the purple division)

Platinum: 300-285 (Several of our intermediate dances, and a few in the purple received this score, including my daughter’s lyrical dance).

Extras

Masquerade has several “extras” as part of their competition. One that is always exciting, is when dancers are called back to compete again for the Encore award. Judges choose their favorite/entertaining dances to come back and compete for a huge trophy. In the teen/senior section of awards, they had such a hard time deciding, that they chose one from each studio. The Teen Company Jazz Small Group, Vogue, got selected. They didn’t win, but it was fun to watch them perform again!

Masquerade also has an award they give out called the Steven Boyd Award. This award is given to dancers who show a passion for dance. One of our younger dancers, Libby Butters, was honored with this award for the Petite division. She is the youngest dancer from our studio to be given this honor, and to be selected to Parade of Stars (to perform in the opening number at the Finals for Nationals). Other dancers from our studio selected to participate in Parade of Stars from our studio were: Bella Butters, Emilia Skjegstad, Emilee Tapani, Sage Neal, and Liv Johnson. I am looking forward to watching them in the opening number at Nationals! The dance is always amazing!

Here are the Senior Spirit Line award winners - LADC!

Here are the Senior Spirit Line award winners – LADC!

A Spirit Line award is given to studios at the various age levels. Lake Area Dance Center was selected for the Spirit Award at the Senior Level. YAY LADC!

Another award they give is the Best in Show award. This is the dance in each age category with the highest score overall.

Each age category also has a Miss Masquerade crowned. Liv Johnson, one of our amazingly talented dancers was crowned Junior Miss Masquerade! 🙂

The final special award is the Top Studio award. While Lake Area Dance Center was not awarded in the Top 3 this year, I don’t think anyone was surprised to see Woodbury Dance Center win the top spot, with Summit Dance Shoppe in 2nd, and Spotlight Productions Dance Studio taking 3rd.

We had a great competition year! The younger dancers continued to be very successful at the recreational and intermediate levels. The older dancers stepped up to a new challenge of dancing at the elite level. It was challenging, but they worked hard, and now know what to expect for next year! Thank you Miss Maria Pomerleau, Mike Dietz, and Madelyn Lee, for your great choreography, and hard work with our dancers. Congratulations dancers for your hard work and a fun season!!

On to recitals and Nationals!!!

 

 

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