We are Re-Open & Going to Nationals!
YES! It is finally official. Our studio is back open and gearing up for the 2020 Talent On Parade National dance competition to be held July 7th - 12th in Kansas City. We are so excited to finally have our counties move into Phase 3 of the re-open America plan after a long 2 almost 3 months in quarantined lock down.
It's summer and it's time for one of our dancers favorite moments of their season - IT'S TIME FOR DANCE NATIONALS. Now this year we have had one crazy ride. We lost half our season and due to the Pandemic we have had to change around a bunch of restructuring how we practice, what routines we are taking and if we can even afford to do it in the first place. So what's the plan you might ask? So how did our dancers & their families agree to going? Why did we plan on going to TOP for Nationals this year?
Well the first thing we put into action was COMMUNICATION with our dance families the minute the competition world & dance studios were forced to closed their doors. We knew our parents had to be in the planning stages from day 1. To leave them hanging or to quote unquote "GHOST" them during this confused time would have been the absolute worst move to make when we were just as scared of what the outcome would be for the rest of the year.
If you spend anytime watching our YouTube channel you will have seen how difficult this whole decision making and process has been for our family. So we knew we couldn't leave any of our parents in the dark. Secondly we knew there was no way our parents should or need to PAY THEIR TUITION even though we weren't in the studio. We know this has been a huge debate in Studio Owner & Dance Teacher facebook group pages but we just couldn't justify in our hearts having our parents pay for something they could do online for FREE. Plus with limited space capacities for our kids and the fact that several of them didn't have access to the internet anyway doing a required PAY FOR online training course was just not in the cards for our kids.
We also knew there was no way we could just say "SEE YA WHEN WE SEE YA" to our kids. They are literally our extended family. We live & breath our times together so not seeing them on a regular weekly basis was just something we couldn't have survived emotionally without. So what did we do? We offered fun FREE online facebook and instagram stretching class with our kids. I think it was a great way for our dancers & even our dance moms to watch our coaching staff come together with the kids and engaging in a fun laid back way to keep our dance family engaged the best we could. EVERY DANCER TURNED OUT ALONG WITH OTHERS FROM OTHER STUDIOS & FROM OTHER STATES TO OUR WEEKLY DANCE BROADCASTS and honestly it kept us all from really loosing it during our time apart. Emotionally we have been a total wreck and financially we are doing okay as Coach Courtney & Coach Maddie took up working at an Amazon Warehouse during this time to make up for the costs lost during the lock down. They kept the studio open not by charging their parents but by working their rears off loading boxes and shipping out orders to America during this crazy time.
Why am I being so transparent about what our studio did to survive during this CoronaVirus? Well because I as the Dance Spot Studio founder and mother of Coach Courtney & Coach Maddie; I want the world to know just how epic my girls hearts are for the studio they literally give their hard earned time, money & life too.
I also want to thank publicly the ALMA COMMUNITY for donating $1,500 to our dance studio during this relief time as a business that needed support during the shut down and for that we were so truly greatful - I know that was literally why my girls said "NOPE-NOT GONNA DO IT. WE ARE NOT CHARGING OUR PARENTS DURING THIS CRITICAL TIME" In fact they have worked so much with our parents in providing them specialties, accommodations & discounts to keep their kids Dancing that the word has started to spread and we are now seeing interest from other dancers that attend outside studios as to how they can be apart of our dance family. I say this to not sound like I am trying to pitch someone to switch over to us or to spread some kind of "See were better" kind of mentality to dance families; I say this because it's the heartfelt truth.
I also say all of this to not condem or belittle studios that had to charge their parents or ask for loans or shut their doors during this time. Those studios are not to be pursecuted for their intentions to just continue to pay the bills. I am talking about this to warn parents about the "STUDIO SHARKS" that I have also seen come out of this nightmare that have literally disgraced the dance studio industry to the point where I originally wanted to make this blog about how parents should avoid these shark infested studios that literally took advantage of the time we were in lockdown and made HUGE PROFITS from what they were charging to stay "Afloat" during this crisis.
COME ON DANCE STUDIO OWNERS - FULL PRICE ON TUITION / COSTUME / ENTRY FEES OR NO REFUNDS OF ANY KIND?
Come on! I know it's rough out there but literally I have heard of some truly NIGHTMARE STORIES where studio owners were NOT sympathetic to their dance families and literally told parents we are not able to refund or credit competition entry fees back to families when we know for a fact those competitions DID REFUND AND CREDIT TO THE STUDIOS those entry fee monies. I know some studios worked their tails off to work with competition companies to make sure their kids could still compete even if it was a virtual competition or credit them by working with other companies to coordinate together so they could transfer over paid entry fees for a different venue or location. There were many many many studios who were fantastic to their families but the sharks that weren't - THIS IS MY CALL OUT ON YOU! If you charged your parents reasonable online fees to pay your rent, utilities and teachers then I thank you for being fair to them and your needs but to those who charged over priced amounts for poor quality online training or took LOANS / GRANTS / DONATIONS in addition to full priced tuition's and came out with a nice little Corona Profit - SHAME ON YOU. Also to those studios that got refunded from competitions or promised CREDITS TOWARDS next season for entry fees for their dancers and you lied and told them their was nothing they would have to either continue to pay their comp fees even though they were canceled or they would have to start back over next season and that they just lost their monies ...... DOUBLE SHAME ON YOU!
My head hangs low & my back turns to you as you obviously did to your parents. I only say this out loud because these are just a few examples I have heard and seen of from disgruntled parents. What you did is put a stain on our industry not just your business. If you GHOSTED your parents or robbed them of monies in any way then you didn't just hurt yourself you hurt us all as dance studio owners. WHO WOULD EVER TRUST A DANCE STUDIO INDUSTRY AGAIN IF THEY THOUGHT EVERYONE INCLUDING COMPETITIONS WERE OUT TO BANG A BUCK REGARDLESS OF THE CURRENT SITUATION OF CRISIS OUR COUNTRY WAS IN. I shake my finger at you. How dare you hurt dance families into not wanting anything to do with our dance world again or now have to be afraid of trying any new studio in fear of the same treatment. Now not only do we have to reassure new families of putting safety & health at the helm of our ships we have to reassure them we have good solid integrity because they were so badly burned by poor unprofessional standards set by greedy owners.
As for our decision making in choosing to get back to competition and not just ending our season - well that was an easy one.... WE ASKED THE KIDS - WE TOOK A STUDIO VOTE AND WE DID NOT HOLD ANYONE TO THINKING THEY WOULD BE PUNISHED OR SHAMED IF THEY CHOSE NOT TOO COMPETE WITH US .... So some of our dancers opted out as they are still concerned over COVID-19. That's fine. We said come back when your ready and for those who are there we are full forced back into rearranging formations and choreography to make due where other dancers couldn't come back with us to compete. We still love those dancers that chose to stay home and our motto is 'WERE GONNA WIN THIS ONE FOR YALL!"
It's totally unfair of us to think that some people or families are blowing things out of proportion if they didn't come back. We're not charging them. Their not kicked out. We still have their spot and they are gonna be cheering on their dance sisters watching the live feed every step and we are going to be sharing it all back to them. It's a family. It's what you do - You work together in making it possible for all of us to not feel afraid to hold back or give it your all effort during these uncertain times. Shoots; Another outbreak could spark up again and then we are all locked back in our homes. So instead of rooting out "Problem People" we are giving options. For families we hope will return in the future their dance competition fees are being held for credit towards routines for next season. If not then we understand and our parents are so amazing they understand that they can't get cash back when all they are giving back are credits so they said "If we don't return just give our credits towards another dancer who could use it for next season". WHAT KIND OF AWESOMENESS IS THAT? That's a truly amazing dance family is what that is. One that I am truly proud to be apart of.
So why TALENT ON PARADE? Well WHY NOT? We love TOP and they are the closest here to where our dance families don't have to drive as far. We had scheduled to originally go to a TOP regionals and then end the year at BRAVO nationals. Unfortunately BRAVO which was an amazing nationals last year is in IOWA so that's quite a distance and quite an expense for our dance families to pay. Then next we had already paid for TOP and some families had paid toward BRAVO Nationals so we just decided to credit some for next season and go ahead with the routines our dance families had already paid for for TOP regionals and just move it to a nationals. Plus TOP was so awesome they didn't up charge the difference that our original fees were towards a regional event they kept the fees the same low regional discounted rate. So bonus there another reason Talent On Parade is the TOP in our opinion. The other determining factor is that BRAVO & TOP have joined together in offering studios opportunities to slide over fees to another venue and share in your already paid for fees that you didn't get to compete with. So before the lock down literally 1 week before we were to be getting ready to attend the BRAVO KC Regional we had several routines that had yet to even compete. PAID FOR and ready to hit the stage. Now we can transfer those funds and routines over to TOP NATIONALS our dance families don't loose out on the already paid for fees and they get to finally see those never before competition routines hit the stage. So once again BRAVO & TOP are the bestest ever! SHEESH! Now I sound like a little 12 year old girl! But dang it! I am hella proud of the competition companies we love to take our dancers too.
So what can we expect at TOP NATIONALS 2020?
Who cares! WE ARE JUST SOOOO SUPER STOKED TO GO AT ALL!
To help our parents with costs and hotel expenses we decided as a group to forgo any solos this year and just focus on what routines the kids loved the most this past season. So LARGE GROUPS for sure, a couple small group routines, I think only 1 duet-trio routine and of course the most exciting our all studio PRODUCTION routine. Now the stage won't be as packed as quite a few dancers opted out of not going to competition but the kids that are dancing; including my grandgiggle this is huge for them as they not only were going to do something our studio had never attempted before; but they also loved that dance and had yet to share it on the competition floor for everyone to see.
At this point we don't care about awards - Elite, Diamond, Double Diamond - who cares give me a TOP for all I care or don't give me one at all - I just want to see our kids back on that competition stage. See for us it's not really about winning awards; Dont' get me wrong you want to put us in the Parade of Champions showcase well go right ahead that would be insane! However; I want this to be really clear. Our biggest goal is that we just wanted to FINISH OUT THE SEASON. Say goodbye to what has been the craziest year in our studios history and to finally see Aubrey (My grandgiggle) COMPETE for the first time ever with her "girls." If you watch our studio vlogs you will know exactly what I am talking about. This season has literally been the hardest one ever. Not just cause of the "RONA". We have worked really hard through many dramas, kids injuries, illness, kids quitting and then returning it's been really a wacky year and then to top it off My girls and I lost someone very special to us and nursed him through the last stages of his life. My dad (my girls grandfather) just passed away while we were in lock down. So to say this was the season from double hockey sticks crazy is just the least we could say when it comes to just 'BRING ON THE COMPETITION SEASON AGAIN". So yes we can't wait to compete and no we don't care how we place just want to be a dance family again.
So in final thoughts .... TO OUR 2020 DANCERS WHO DIDN'T GET TO FINISH OUT THE SEASON WITH US .... We dance for you. TO THOSE DANCE STUDIOS THAT HAD TO CLOSE BECAUSE OF THE PANDEMIC .... We dance for you. FOR THOSE DANCERS OR DANCE FAMILIES WHO WERE TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF DURING THE PANDEMIC AND YOU GOT ROBBED OF YOUR SEASON AND THE INTEGRITY OF WHAT DANCE STUDIOS SHOULD BE FOR YOU.... We dance for you. FOR OUR DANCERS WHO WORKED THROUGH THE WORST SEASON OF THEIR LIVES - Together we did it. Together we are Stronger. Together we are unstoppable. I am so proud of you all and thank you so much to the wonderful supportive loving community our studios we serve in. NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE WITH OUT YOU. And to our amazing competition companies we love to attend THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS to continue to do whatever you can to help our dancers fulfill their dreams and finish out this crazy season. Finally to our 2 graduating seniors who can't end the season with a bang like they were supposed to have.... WE DANCE ESPECIALLY FOR YOU!
Here is just a crazy throwback to what our season was like this time last year when our dancers first learned their production routine and our thoughts on the new impending season..... Crazy to think this was just this past summer seems like an eternity away....