Our Weekend At Dance Educators of America Competition

Hey yall! I’m back after a long dance weekend in Seattle for the Dance Educators of America competition! This is Mads 3rd year competing at DEA and it is one of my favorite dance competitions to attend as a parent. It is a 2 day event – competition on Saturday and dance workshops all day Sunday.

This competition is education focused and isn’t big on frills or fancy lights etc. The judges give really good feedback and are the instructors for the classes the next day.

We arrived at our hotel on Friday night and had our usual hotel team rehearsal in one of the meeting rooms. Mads had a really good rehearsal and hit the bed at around 9 to ensure she got a good nights sleep. Her Musical Theatre solo was the first routine for our team for the day so we were at the venue by 7am. She was dressed and ready, stretched and got her head in the game.

She absolutely nailed her solo! My heart was thumping, I could tell the judges were engaged and the audience was laughing and having a good time. Its a humorous song with many acting parts so that was a good sign! As soon as she emerged from backstage she was beaming and I knew that she knew she had done well.

We had our group dance about 45 minutes later so we quickly changed costumes and got two french braids into her hair just in time to run the routine one last time with her team backstage.

They did good! Some of these girls have been dancing together for years and I felt it was the most “together” they had ever been. It is also a humorous piece, a geek themed compilation of various songs.

After Geeks we had another quick hair and costume change. The hairstyle we have used for competition for the last 2 years and is now kind of my go to for something different than a bun is the Sweethearts Hair Mohawk Braid which can be found here:

We tighten it and end it at the nape of the neck but the technique is the same.

Up next was Mads second solo, Stairway to Heaven. It is a contemporary routine and im always nervous when she does something more technique based. I love my kid, I do. I think shes the most amazing thing ever. But shes a performer. She will sell you with her charm, acting and showmanship but she still has some work to do technique wise. She also isn’t a rubber band. I swear some of these kids we see are just crazy flexible with these amazing acro tricks – that just isn’t Mads. But on this day, she held her own. She was intense and focused and gave it her all.

Next up was awards

DEA does 2 awards ceremonies during the competition. The 2 judges each presented 2 special “Mr. Bill” awards, named after the late Bill Fowler.

When the last judge stood up to present the last “Mr.Bill” award he my daughter as the recipient of the “Rock Goddess” award and said she was living her life up there.

Next was the adjudicated pin presentation. They have 5 scoring levels.

Platinum 95.0 to 100 285.0 to 300 Points
High Gold 92.0 to 94.9 276.0 to 284.9 Points
Gold 88.0 to 91.9 264.0 to 275.9 Points
High Silver 80.0 to 87.9 240.0 to 263.9 Points
Silver 79.9 & below 239.9 Points & Below

Mads received High Gold for both of her solos! Shes never had above a Gold before at DEA so that was awesome to see her challenge herself and improve on her previous accomplishments. The group routine was a Gold!

After awards she ate a quick lunch and changed for the last routine of the day, her duo with her best friend Aliyah. Its a fast paced fun jazz routine to “Burnin’ Up”. They did good! I was nervous about this routine also. Aliyah is about 4 inches taller than Mads and is very strong technique wise. She does gymnastics and has more core strength built than Mads. During rehearsals Madelyn has typically been a half beat behind in many places but she held her own this time.

At the second awards ceremony they did the overall awards. “Stairway to Heaven” did not place in the top 5 but “Call Me Back” was the 1st place overall Junior solo! She was so proud of herself!

After awards we cleaned up the dressing room and loaded the car again. She was asleep before we reached the hotel again and who could blame her! She worked really hard so we took it easy for the rest of the night. We were in Seattle but it was pouring down rain so we got dinner and hung out in the hotel.

The next morning she had to be there for workshops at 7:30am to get her wristband and start warming up. She had ballet, tap, contemporary, jazz and an audition prep class. At the conclusion of all classes the parents were invited in for an additional awards presentation and Mads was presented with Regional Title of “Miss Junior DEA”! Awesome! She received an invitation to nationals, a full national workshop scholarship, a $50 gift certificate to So Danca and a Tiara.

I’d have to say she had a really good couple days!

Until next year, DEA!

– Angela

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