Masquerade, Davenport, 2019

This year, our studio, Lake Area Dance Center, tried something new – we traveled out of state for a dance competition. We braved a snow storm, to travel 6 hours to Davenport, Iowa for Masquerade. Of course, we could have waited until the next day to go, but with dance competitions, you don’t get the final schedule until a week before. We knew Grace’s solos would be on Friday, but didn’t know what time, so our hotel reservations were already booked for that Thursday night. Luckily, it ended up being a snow day for our schools, so we were able to leave earlier in the day, and take our time to get down there. It was terrifying, and took 7 1/2 hours vs the 6 it should have, but we made it safely.

We stayed at the Blackhawk Hotel, which was connected to the RiverCenter, where the competition was to be held.

The hotel was historic, yet had some updates to it. It had a very cool feel. There was a pool and hot tub (unfortunately, after spending some time in the hot tub on Thursday night, the hot tub broke for the rest of the weekend). There was a nice little workout room, where some of our dancers spent time during the long weekend. There was also a bar with bowling. We didn’t get to use the bowling, since it was in use the night we had time. There was also a restaurant, bar, and a cafe, where we got Starbucks each day.

The Rivercenter was a nice little walk across a skyway away. I heard many mixed responses about it as a venue for the competition, but I loved having it right there. It allowed me to go back to the room to grab food for us for lunch, take a little longer to get ready when Grace had to be there 2 hours early, etc.

The Venue

The RiverCenter had a large auditorium for the competition in the lower level from the skyway. There were several smaller conference rooms on the main level that served as dressing rooms. We went up and down those steps a lot over the course of the weekend – especially the dancers! My legs were burning, I can’t imagine how much more sore theirs were!

The downside of their setup, was that the stage was on one end, with chairs set up filling the rest of the hall. In the middle, was the raised area where the cameras were set up. It was strategically placed so that it really didn’t block any views, which was good. I think we have been so spoiled by having auditorium seating at most other competitions. When all the seating is at the same level, by the time you get to the back of the room, it is harder to see what is going up on that stage. For people like me who tend to prefer sitting in the balcony so I can see everything happening on stage, the chairs were not my favorite. I sat up closer for solos, but further back for groups. It wasn’t a deal breaker for me, but I heard a lot of complaints about that aspect of this competition from other parents.

The Competition

Masquerade is like a 2nd home to us. Even being in a different city, we saw familiar faces in the competition staff, and familiar judges. We knew what to expect from the different levels – green, gold, and purple vs novice/recreational, intermediate, and advanced/elite. We also had an idea of what it would take to score a platinum score, or newly added this year “Elite Unmasked” (a score of 291-300). What we didn’t know, was what to expect from the other studios. We are used to competing against many of the same studios at each competition. Since we were in another state, we knew nothing about the other studios. The studios present were very good! We saw different styles of choreography and costuming. We saw moves we haven’t seen before, and we saw classic musical theater that we don’t always see in the Twin Cities. We saw new uses of props, and dancers bringing their own props on stage to set up. In MN, it’s usually the Prop Dads and teachers that bring out and set up props. I thought it was refreshing to have new faces, new styles, and new studios.

Being out of state kind of forced us to be somewhat of a captive audience. I got to see almost all the dances from our studio. It was fun to see and support them all. 🙂 Listening to the Mini’s parents was adorable!

Most of Grace’s routines got a platinum score. A couple scored a high gold. The energy was great! This year’s Pre-Teen – Senior Jazz Line, “Women of the Woods” got an encore, which meant they got to perform their routine twice. They ended up winning the encore award! It was so much fun!

Being that this was our last year, I can’t say that I look forward to traveling for competitions again. Maybe Grace will get to if she is teaching any Competitive groups next year. I hope the studio keeps the tradition. I think it brought many dancers and families closer together.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: In10sity Dance Comp. | My Life as a Dancem0m

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