Celebrity Dance Competitions
By Chelsea Thomas of Dance Informa.
Hosting 13 regional dance competitions across the U.S. every year, Celebrity Dance Competitions is now one of the country’s most popular dance events. Since beginning in 2001, the organization has grown in popularity and distinction as a competition “where everyone feels like a celebrity.” Every dancer, regardless of age, placement or ability, is given a positive environment, personal service, special attention, trophies and the chance to win scholarships and cash prizes.
Drew Phillip, Director of Celebrity Dance Competitions, and his staff pride themselves on giving “celebrity treatment” to every event attendee at each competition. “We just think about the three parts of a dance company; the dancers, the parents and the studio owners, and then how we can treat them all like celebrities,” Phillip says.
Yet, perhaps what Celebrity Dance Competitions is becoming most well known for is its one-of-a-kind national competitions at sea. As culminations of Celebrity’s regional events, dancers travel in style through the Caribbean or down the Coast of Baja on magnificent cruise ships filled with limitless fun, food and entertainment, all the while enjoying complimentary master classes, private parties, high level competition and more.
Celebrity Nationals at Sea offers the same perks as most other national competitions while exclusively allowing dancers to set sail on one of Carnival’s beautiful cruise ships. The national competitions continue to grow in enrollment each year, as “they simultaneously provide families a vacation and dancers an amazing competition with high-energy master classes and boundless fun”, shares Phillip.
“Many national competitions go to New York, Las Vegas or Disney, which may be good experiences, however when you’re going to those events you often don’t actually get to see those places. We wanted to offer a nationals event where you could compete, but it still be a full vacation. Now they can be at a national event but be separated from the rest of the world on a cruise ship with other people who have a common interest.”
The experience of signing-up and preparing dancers for the competition is easy for parents and studio owners, because a representative from Celebrity helps each studio handle their bookings and cruise plans. Phillip explains, “Celebrity sends a representative out to host a studio meeting and takes care of the whole experience – getting them booked and collecting payments. The families can pay over a seven-month period interest free and by the time summer comes they are ready to go!”
When dancers are not competing or taking class, they are invited to join in on all of the fun filled activities a cruise has to offer: shore excursions, shows, games, the kids club, the teen club, gorgeous pools, water parks and waterslides, the fitness center, a world-class spa, dining, wonderful ports of call and more.
Celebrity Nationals at Sea, like all Celebrity events, focuses on recognizing and rewarding the dancers’ hard work all year long.
“What dancers do in their studios back home should be praised and it is, on the Celebrity stage,” Phillip says. “Every single dancer that takes the Celebrity stage is treated like a celebrity, whether they’ve been dancing for one year or 20 years. They work so hard to be there so they deserve the recognition, the accolades and the praise. Whether it’s by rehearsing hard to impress their teachers, learning from the judges or just being on time, our dancers work hard for us and we’re going to do the same thing by working hard to give them the best experience they can have.”
In addition to competing for medals and trophies, dancers can also win prizes from sponsors such as Capezio, Steps on Broadway and Marcea through the Celebrity DanceDowns - master classes that double as auditions. Hosted at each competition, participants are taught a routine to then perform for Celebrity judges, in the process gaining valuable audition experience and individual exposure. Celebrity judges then chose the brightest stars, narrowing the dancers down to three junior and three senior winners.
“Capezio has been a great sponsor and supporter of Celebrity events since the very beginning. We get to partner together on a lot of fun events,” Phillip shares. “The most obvious part of our partnership is the prizes they provide us to give out at every event – gift cards, shopping sprees, etc. – but they also help provide the free T-shirts we hand out and so much more.”
He added, “Capezio – they are the biggest name in dance! So when you get to partner with them and create a vision, it’s always a lot of fun.”
This past fall, Celebrity Dance Competitions partnered with Capezio on a new project called Celebrity Create, which essentially was a choreography competition. Choreographers from around the country were invited to send in submissions and the response was phenomenal with more than 115 submissions.
“We chose 16 pieces to put on Facebook and from there, based on the votes and ‘likes’, eight of them were asked to perform in a live show in Arizona. They got to battle it out to win their own private show, a cash prize to start their own company and costumes from Capezio,” explains Phillip.
Likewise, Celebrity Dance Competitions is looking forward to continually expanding their organization. “Right now, we are adding a convention aspect to our events. Our first one is coming in the fall. This will allow us to engage with our dancers in the spring, the summer, but also in the fall now,” Phillip says.
Most of all, Celebrity Dance Competitions strives to build long, fruitful relationships with dancers and studios. Phillip aims for the regional and national competitions to ideally go “beyond just a one-time experience.”
“At Celebrity, we want to see dancers for years, growing in skills and passion. We want to see where their career takes them. And we want to have fun on the way! It’s all about learning and growing together while having fun.”
To find out more about Celebrity Dance Competitions, visit www.dancecelebrity.com. Regional events visit Colorado, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Washington, California, Arizona and Utah, with more always being added, between January and May every year. Celebrity Nationals at Sea departs in the summer from ports on both sides of the country, and are often 5-day trips visiting beaches in Mexico, California and the Caribbean.