• Mickey Fridley

I paid a Celebrity to Pump up my Dancers for Nationals! What would you have done?

As we are about to head into our Nationals Competition of the year I would say our girls were not looking forward to it at all. Until now. Here's our story...

I'm a frustrated Dance Coach of a small town studio in a very rural community in Kansas. Most of our dancers come from very low income and pretty broken up homes. Most of our kids that dance at our studio have never left the state accept for when we have traveled for dance competitions. These teenagers normally would have become a statistic norm in their local communities if we hadn't introduced the world of competitive dance in their lives.

So we are about to head into our third National Dance Competition of the year and let me tell you when I say our kids are not looking forward to it; that by no means is a lie. They have had one of the worst controversial years to date. Mid season one of our longest standing students up and quit on the team. They spent what would normally would have been their routine cleaning time restructuring everything in very limited amount of time as our first big showcase performance of the season was less than a week away.

Following what should have been another great competition weekend; we ended up loosing another dancer over personal conflict and drama. The dancers were about to finally come together and take on their last two competitions of the year before heading into their most important regional event when another bang hit them all upside the head. One of our key members had fallen ill; rupturing her spleen one week and then the following week needing emergency appendicitis surgery. This was it. I was ready to hang up my dance shoes and coaches hat into the ring to give up. I had at that point figured our studio and this team was cursed.

Then what must have been the "Dance God's" great mercy or pity on our little dancers; they recovered, got back to the studio and worked the hardest I have ever seen them. They came back to their hardest Regional Competition of the year with a vengeance and they were unstoppable! This team rocked the floor winning the most awards we have ever done to date and gaining a new sense of pride that I had yet to see these girls develop as a team. They were a true sisterhood and you would figure that would have fired them up for Nationals like no body's business but again I was wrong. While we were winning tons of awards and accolades at competition the number one goal the dancers had wanted to accomplish was achieving the highest level adjudication award they hand out. At some dance competitions it might be called a Platinum or a Platinum Plus but at this particular event it's called the dreaded DOUBLE DIAMOND. This is an adjudication leveled trophy that our dancers in the 8 years we have competed together have yet to receive. For non-dance related persons reading this blog it would be like never winning a state championship only always being the runner-up or never getting a A+ in school always just getting an A. So for the most part our kids were pretty bummed. They had already won that rating at another competition during the season so for them not getting that Double Diamond level rating at their last and most hopeful competition of the year was pretty much a huge let down. (especially after everything else that had happened this year.)

So we are done with the season accept for the final hoorah which is for every dance studio that competes the brass ring, the Vidcon to their playlist live, (we're also a YouTube Vlogging channel so I threw in a little Creator Humor) that somewhere over the rainbow moment is called: NATIONALS. Every year thousands of dance studios compete at some type of National Competition event where capturing a 1st place overall National Championship is literally your Oscar winning moment! So for us it has been the same. We have geared up and punched through until this year. We are literally 2 weeks away from attending our big National event and the dancers are just shrugging their shoulders with what normally would be giddy high pitched screaming teenagers all throughout the studio. They lost the wind in their sails. Don't get me wrong the girls are not quitters by any means. They have truly kicked it in technically and powered through some of the best cleaning practices we have ever had. So why the blue faces, why the bummed out emoji's on their Instagram posts and why the so-so attitudes about going to their third national event of our studio's history? In one sentence I would simply say; THEY ARE SO OVER THIS YEAR. They are tired of working hard again and again, getting pumped and excited only to be hit with some whammy of emotions from either dancers quitting on them or dancers getting injured (oh we had another injury right before our spring recital one dancer almost tore her ACL). They are sick of getting really excited at competition and performing the best they have ever done to once again not get that Double Diamond they so well deserved. So I think they just have a no chance in hatties thinking that they will finally get that break! So what can a coach do at this point? Pull from Nationals? Yell at them? So that's when I thought it's time to get them to remember why their dancing, the reasons we picked the routines we did for them and get them to fall in love with their team's dream all over again. What better way to do that then with a good looking celebrity starring you back in the face right?!

So I found this website called CAMEO.com where you can hire a celebrity to send a video shout out message of whatever you want them to say to send to a friend for a birthday or celebration event. I thought to myself. Who could I get to pump the girls up? It can't just be some random TV Star or YouTuber it has to have meaning to them or they won't get the connection and it will just be another oh well moment that was cool and I didn't want that to happen. I spent a good two hours researching through their celebrity database until I saw a tab that said Netflix. I thought hmmmm.... Well one of our dancers is doing a solo routine called 13 reasons why based on the Netflix series and it's become on of the girls favorite solos of the year what if they happen to have someone on that show speak to them. Well little did I know the reaction it would eventually gain us. Fortunately there was an actor on their list who had just recently been on their new season 2 series his name was Brandon Butler and he played a small character but a pivotal one called Scott Reed. Then I saw the price tag and was totally hooked! For very little money I sent him to say a little good luck message that he did very naturally and real on a personal video it made a world of a difference for my dancers. Their reaction that I vlogged about on our YouTube channel was priceless! They cried, they laughed, they were in shock and they couldn't believe someone from a real TV Series they have invested so much creativity to throughout the year would even know who they were! Remember; these are small rural town kids who only go to big cities for dance competitions or school events. Hardly any of them have ever seen the Hollywood Sign or stepped foot on a film set so an actor to them is like Santa Claus. I loved the initial reaction but the after effect has been insane! They have found that fire again! They are excited again to show off on stage what they have been working and fighting for all season long! They have purpose they have meaning to their routines again and now they have a personal story attached to this one particular moment that makes this year's Nationals one they will never forget.

So will hiring a celebrity help boost your dance team to victory? No. Of course not. But it will brighten up someone's day especially if they have personal attachment to that person sending them a message of encouragement. Would I do this again? Probably not because as a dance coach we don't normally look to finding celebrities to boost up moral we can usually take care of it on our own. However; for this season I just needed to shake them up a bit. Get them out of their funk and this totally worked. So in the end this blog by no means is a promotional venue to encourage more consumers to this celebrity buying website; it's just about thinking outside the box. Finding ways to uplift someone who is down in the dumps and reminding them how much you believe in them. Will our girls finally get their Double Diamond? Yes. One day it will happen and then it will be over. For now our girls learned that the value of that trophy and rating means very little to what they mean to me and my daughters who run the studio with me. We love them so much that we would go to the ends of the earth to brighten up their day. They learned they don't need that Double Diamond trophy to prove value to their hearts and souls as dancers. They learned they didn't really need it all along because they had us. Our pride in their craft they tell on stage and their love of dance and their love of each other and their love of our studio. One Team, One Dream has been the motto this season and that is so true. They are one team and they now know that dream has been fulfilled because we are so proud of what they have overcome this season. Anything after this point is icing on the cake.

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