Attending a dance convention is one of the most exciting opportunities for young dancers! There are so many dance conventions on the market it can be hard to decide which one will benefit your child the most.
When considering which dance convention to attend, you will need to think about everything from the distance you’re willing to travel, to the money you’re willing to spend, to the style of dance you want your child to take.
It doesn’t take long to do the work to find the right dance convention for your child. No two conventions are alike, so you will want to go through this process a few times to make the best decision.
Ask Your Child’s Dance Teacher About Conventions
Be sure to ask your child’s teacher if it is ok to attend on your own before registering for a convention.
Most dance teachers love the thought of students wanting to further their training on their own.
But, they may have some reservations about allowing dancers to attend conventions alone. They may not approve for many reasons, including:
- Schedule conflicts with studio classes or rehearsals
- A desire for in-house training
- Plans to attend conventions as a studio or a team
- Because they don’t want a dancer representing their studio without them present
More often than not, the dancers attending conventions are connected to a dance studio and are attending as a group representing that studio.
That is because some conventions don’t allow independent or unaffiliated dancers to participate.
If your studio will allow you to attend without the entire studio or team, consider bringing a friend or two to represent the studio and cut down on costs by splitting hotel or travel expenses.
Once you’ve registered, check out this helpful article What To Wear To A Dance Convention to be completely prepared!
Why Do Some Conventions Not Allow Independent Dancers?
Dance conventions, while a great way to enhance your studio training, are not avenues to replace weekly studio training.
In the recent past, conventions that allowed independent dancers found that some dancers didn’t actually attend a home studio and were simply taking classes only at dance conventions.
In an attempt to show that they believe that their weekend classes are no substitute for ongoing, consistent training in a studio, some conventions no longer allow unaffiliated dancers.
Be sure to check the rules of the convention you are looking into to make sure you can attend!
Research the Dance Convention
If you’ve been given the go-ahead to attend conventions without your studio, the first thing you will want to do is research the convention.
Some things to consider when doing your research include:
1. Distance You’re Willing to Travel
Are you close to a major metropolitan area where dance conventions are held, or will you need to travel several hours and spend money on a hotel?
2. Duration of the Convention
Is this dance convention a one, two, or three-day event? Is your child ready for the amount of dancing that is going to happen at this convention?
3. Cost of the Convention
Are the entry fees reasonable? Are there any perks included? Do you get a discount if you register early?
4. Observer Policy
Many dance conventions have stopped allowing observers in the room. Are you comfortable dropping your child off alone for the day?
5. Convention Reputation
Speak to other dance parents and find out what they know about the convention. Are they a reputable organization? Do they perform background checks on their faculty and staff?
Are they a convention that values inclusivity and kindness? Find out the culture of the convention before you register.
Consider What Kind of Dance Instructors You Want Your Child To Learn From
Dance conventions hire all types of instructors for classes, including top choreographers in commercial dance and live theatre, university professors, and working professionals.
If you are interested in having your child learn from a certain type of instructor, you should make sure to do your homework on who will be teaching at the conventions you choose.
A college dance professor will likely offer a more traditional, educational class than the hottest new young commercial dancer.
A teen dancer looking into studying dance at the university level might really benefit from learning from an academic teacher.
Most dance conventions don’t list their faculty on their websites or social media until close to the dates of the events.
However, you can get an idea of the kind of teachers that you will see by looking at previous convention footage and advertisements.
Follow the convention’s social media for videos and more!
Think About Your Child’s Level and Interest
If your child is just starting out in the convention scene, you may not want to throw them into an entire weekend event for the first time.
Try and watch one of your child’s dance classes if you are allowed, and see how their attention span is.
Are they focused the entire time, absorbing information, or are they distracted halfway through?
If your dancer can stay focused (and enjoys being focused!) for an entire class or multiple classes, they are probably ready for a more intensive experience at convention.
But, if they lack the maturity and focus to get through a class or rehearsal, you may want to try a one-day event first so no one burns out!
Some conventions offer a “newbie” package that allows first-time convention-goers a shorter schedule.
Regardless of your child’s level, be sure to read our article Dance Convention Etiquette For Dancers and Parents – The Dos and Don’ts You Need To Know! so you will be fully prepared!
Check Out the Opportunities That The Convention Offers
Many dance conventions offer all kinds of opportunities to participants, including scholarships, chances to be chosen to be an assistant, competitions, and agent auditions.
If you are attending independently, you need to ask whether these opportunities are available to dancers who attend without a studio.
Some conventions don’t allow independents to compete without their studio, for example, or they may not be eligible for scholarships.
Dance conventions are an excellent way to further your child’s dance training by giving them unforgettable experiences with professional instructors and other dancers who are just as excited about dance as they are!
Make sure to do your research on dance conventions so you choose the best one for your child – hopefully, this information is a good jumping-off point!