Masquerade Nationals 2019

“Last time, make it good!” This is a phrase you’ll hear at the end of class from our competitive dancers. It also applies to Nationals. This is the last time dancers will perform the routines they have worked all year on. For graduating seniors, it has another meaning – it’s the last time most of them will dance competitively. Some may go on to dance in college, but for most, this is the end of that road. Some of our dancers will be assistants or teachers at the dance studio next year; they may be around competitions in that capacity, but otherwise, this is the end of that chapter.

Day 1 – Dancer of the Year Auditions

Day 1 for Grace was her Dancer of the Year Auditions. This consisted of having headshots taken, an interview, and then audition classes in several styles. The end of the day brought feedback from all four judges. This year, they got their feedback on a thumb drive. Grace let me watch it. It sounds like it could be a very helpful experience for anyone who wants to pursue a career in performing arts (much of the feedback was dance related, but not all of it). I kind of wish she had done this more than just this year and last year. She said she learned a lot, and she got to know some of the other senior dancers better as well.

Day 2 – Solos

Day 2 was solo day. Grace performed both her solos. She felt it was the best she had performed her self-choreographed solo, and felt good about her musical theater routine as well. She was disappointed with her scores, as she got High Gold on both.  After every 50 or so routines, they had a quick awards ceremony to give the adjudication awards (Gold, High Gold, Platinum, or Unmasked Elite – based on their point totals). Grace had an award ceremony between her two routines. I know she was disappointed to find out she had scored a High Gold on the first one. I can’t help but wonder if that psychs some dancers out when they have more to perform. By having multiple awards ceremonies, they make the last one of the day (with the overall placements) go faster, but I wonder if it is the best for the dancers?

Day 3 – Small Groups

The 4 graduating Seniors and their moms. 🙂

Day 3 was small group day. The day was split in half, so the younger dancers had their small groups in the morning, and the older dancers were in the afternoon/evening. Grace went early to help out if needed, while I stayed and watched the younger dancers from home on the livestream. I went to watch the teens and seniors’ small groups later in the day. First up was their tap dance. They all looked like they were having so much fun! They got a Platinum score. Next was their contemporary, which looked really good, and scored a High Gold. The last small group of the day for Grace was the graduating seniors. I think it was the best they had performed it; there was a lot of emotion in their performance. They scored a High Gold. We had planned the day before to take some group pictures after this performance. The four dancers were willing participants, making the moms happy!

Day 4 – Large Groups

Day 4 was large group day. Grace had 6 dances that day over a 13 hour or so span of time. They danced their hearts out all day long! I was very proud of all their performances. First up was tap, followed by their musical theater dance. Both scored a High Gold. Next up was their Heels Company musical theater piece. That one scored platinum. Production was the next one of the day – this one has almost all of our studio’s competitive dancers. Our Game Show Network routine got a platinum, and got 1st overall. Grace really liked this dance, and said it was a great last production dance for her. Later came their contemporary large group which scored a High Gold. Hip Hop was next on the agenda. This routine wasn’t originally going to go to Nationals, but we had paid a lot for their guest choreography, and really wanted to see it one more time. Maria made this happen for us, and thank goodness she did. We got to see it not just one more time, but twice, since they got called back to be in the Senior Encore Dance Off in the finals. This is a really fun routine, that brought out the “thug” in these girls (haha). They nailed it on Friday! Last up was their jazz Line that was made up of our Pre-teens, Teens, and Seniors. They had a JT-themed routine. Imagine our surprise when the dance right before them was also a JT themed line! The concepts were very different, even if much of the music was similar. Theirs was more Suit & Tie themed, where ours was more back-up dancer style with lots of hair whips, and heeled boots. Our girls got a Platinum score, 3rd Overall, a Judges’ Award, and were invited back to the Finals in the Production/Line Dance Off. It was a long, but very fun day!

Day 5 – Finals

Day 5 was the Finals. This is always a high energy, exciting day. We had 15 dancers in the opening number, which was Moulan Rouge themed. It was one of my top 3 favorite opening numbers in the 8 years we have been attending Masquerade Nationals. Our Minis were in the Petite Encore Dance Off. We had three dancers in the Dancer of the Year Finals (a first for our studio), one of whom, Bella, was also in the Teen Divisional Champion Dance Off with her duet with her sister. It is a hilarious Musical Theater routine that made me laugh right up to the very last performance of the year. Our Junior/Preteen tap small group was in the Junior Division National Champion Dance Off. I already mentioned that Grace’s Hip Hop group was in the Senior Encore Performance Finals, and that her jazz Line was invited to the National Champion Line/Production Dance Off. Our Teen tap large group was in the Large Group Dance Off. They were the first group from our studio to score an Unmasked Elite. While none of our routines from our studio were National winners, we had a great time watching them all perform a last time!

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