The schedule comes out 2 weeks before the scheduled competition on February 16th-18th and hearts drop as we realize, the venue has been changed from the close by Sandler Center in Virginia Beach to Chrysler Hall in Norfolk - no time to book hotels for a place to hang for lengthy times between scheduled routines.
On Point Dance Competition is SOLD OUT and a popular one, for a good reason! The directors run an "On Point" and tight ship, with on time performances, great rewards and feedback and few mistakes. The event is also well attended by other Hampton Roads area dance studio's - making it a reunion of sorts for dance teachers who went to school together but now own schools or who teach or choreograph around the area and cheer each other on. And for dancers, whose friends from school dance around the city as well and can get to see their friends.
The event begins at 5 pm Friday sharp, students begin to filter into the Chrysler Hall, searching out dressing rooms downstairs underneath in the cavernous space of the backstage of this iconic performance space in Norfolk, where opera's, philharmonics and professional dance companies perform. Dancers drag their duffels, packed to the brim with costumes, shoes, hairpieces, make-up, water and food while parents and siblings mill about.
Getting ready backstage is such a special ritual to see the students perform. One student arrives and then carves out a tiny space for her bag and then decides what to do first. Another younger student is so proud to have been able to apply her lipstick and eyeliner but needs help with her eyelashes. Co-director Jessica Haynes along with junior student Bri Corcoran feverishly put the team's hair in 2 dutch braids, this season's determined team hair-do, until all girls who are performing hair-style is complete, let's hope they don't take it out before Sunday!
Dancers from different studios filter in and out of the dressing room to go upstage to perform, pieces are short, just 2 and a half minutes, a fleeting moment of adrenaline and excitement on stage. As the clock ticks and the numbers of the dancers #53, #54 "Ok, we have 15 dances to go, let's go run this upstairs," our groups leave to run through dances for memory one last time before going onstage. One director will stay with the group backstage, checking them in and ushering them onstage, while the other team members not dancing as well as parent supporters and directors will go to the audience to watch.
The good news is that On Point is our second competition event of the year. Music In Motion Dance Company attended DanceMakers convention in Richmond, Virginia in January, a 3 day competition and convention and overnight team building travel trip with some amazing master teachers! So we've already performed all of our pieces on stage.
At On Point, #mimdanceco dancers performed 15 dances including group pieces, solos, duets and trios across a variety of genres. Over 3 days we performed as late as 10:15 pm and as early as 9 am and participated in 5 awards ceremonies. The students take home adjudicated scores detailing their technique and performance quality - the only true "competition" is their previous performance or next performance. The teachers take home video-taped notes with feedback, it's always beneficial to have secondary information on choreography and for students to learn from other master teachers.
Saturday rehearsals, extra weeknights, long talks about dedication and applying yourself, watching the excitement of the dancers and seeing them excel and express themselves in such a beautiful and honest way on yet another stage makes it all worth it!