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The Details Behind the Dancer: Competitive Dancers at PRHS Balance School, Dance, and Life

A deep dive look into the lives of competitive dancers at PRHS
The Details Behind the Dancer: Competitive Dancers at PRHS Balance School, Dance, and Life

Be strong, show emotion, have artistry, tell the story. These are all the things a dancer has to think about when stepping onto the competition stage. They have to be in complete control of their bodies throughout the dance, while being able to make it look effortless. At PRHS, several students pursue this control through dancing competitively.

According to several PRHS dancers, it takes years of practice and training to achieve this level of perfection. 

Brooklynn Betz

“I started dancing when I was three years old, and competitively when I was six. [I] go right after school and I’m there till about 8:30 or 9,” Betz said.

Betz is a freshman at PRHS, and she dances competitively at Artistry in Motion dance studio. This year she is in seven dances that she will compete at three different competitions. Her dances consist of a solo, a duet, a trio, and four group dances. A solo is performed by Betz herself on the stage, a duet is performed by Betz and one other dancer, and a trio is performed by Betz and two other dancers, and group dances are performed by Betz and up to eleven other dancers. She will be going to LA Dance Magic competition/convention, Art of Movement competition/convention, and Thunderstruck competition. 

In the dance world, there is a difference between a competition/convention and just a competition. 

“If we’re going to a convention, [we] usually compete the first day, and then have classes the next day. Then after classes we compete again, and then have another day of classes,” Betz said

A dance convention is similar to a regular convention, in the sense that all day the dancers are in classes learning from professionals in the industry in all different styles. The teachers of their classes then go on to be judges for the competition later that day. This practice gives the dancers the opportunity to learn from many different people over the entire weekend, giving them the chance to use expert advice to improve

“At a regular competition [we] would just perform our dances and get scores from the judges, we don’t also take classes from the judges.” said Betz

Carina Ford

Senior Carina Ford has been dancing since she was five years old, and competing since she was eight years old. 

Ford dances at Artistry in Motion dance studio as well, and is there most days after school. 

“Usually I’ll get there at like four, and each class is an hour, and then I stay for four to five hours,” Ford said.

She is in seven dances that she will compete at multiple different competitions and conventions this year. A contemporary solo, a tap trio, and five group dances that are all different styles. Contemporary is similar to ballet, however it has more fluid movements that are slightly abstract. Tap is a dance involving special shoes with metal plates  that make noise when certain movements are made. The first group dance is jazz in heels. Jazz is very specific with a certain place for each body part in every movement of the dance. The second group dance is open. Open is similar to contemporary, yet it is more abstract and out of the box, and the dancers do very uncommon and different movements. The third group dance is another contemporary dance. The fourth group dance is a lyrical dance, similar to contemporary in the way that it is fluid movements, and more commonly reflects the lyrics of the song. 

“I like contemporary because of the movement quality and its the most fun and interesting to do.” Carina Ford, 12

For the past two years, Ford has won the title of Miss Thunderstruck at Thunderstruck dance competition. 

Competing for title is a little different from competing in the regular competition. To compete for title, dancers can be entered into the competition, and compete a solo against all of the other competitors  who entered. At the beginning, all of the dancers who entered will be brought out to answer a question in front of the judges, and will dance after. Questions can be anywhere from: “After high school do you plan on pursuing dance as a career, and if not, what career do you plan on pursuing?” to “What dance teacher in your life has influenced you the most this far?” 

Jaklyn Woodland

Sophomore Jaklyn Woodland has been dancing since she was two years old, and competitively dancing since she was six.

Woodland dances at Main Street dance studio, and spends many long hours at the studio. 

“It depends on the day, but usually I get there from 4:30 to 5, and then I leave at like 8 or 9” Woodland said. 

Woodland is going to eight competitions this year, three with her studio and five on her own. The three she is going to with her studio are Dance Makers competition/convention, Hollywood Connections competition/convention, and Heat competition/convention. She is in seven competition dances this year, two solos and five group dances. 

Woodland has also been on a competition company for the past few years. Being in company for a competition/convention means that the dancers  travel all over the country to compete. Being a part of a competitive company like HEAT Force, means extra rehearsals during weekends and the opportunity to take special company member only classes taught by professionals.

While competitive dance takes so much work and effort to perfect, that’s not why most dancers do it. All dancers interviewed expressed the drive behind the dance is a joy experienced by expressing their emotions through the intricate movements they perform. They affirmed that dancing is a therapeutic art that is often healing for many. The priceless outcomes these dancers  can get from dancing is worth all of the blood, sweat, and tears that goes into it.

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Georgia Domenghini
Georgia Domenghini, Pop Culture Editor
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