Adjudication is such a scary word! So much authority and power in this one word, which creates a quiet tension as dancers wait to hear how their dances performed. And, as our dancers await their adjudication sitting in front of the audience on the stage under the bright lights, we as parents sit nervously in our seats hoping for the best results possible.
Who are the judges who watch our girls dance for 2 to 3 minutes after putting in hours of work to take the stage? What is a day in the life of a judge really like?
As a busy parent with a busy dancer, it was time to sit down with Miss Jillian and find out what is going on in her life as a judge! Many of us know she has traveled a lot this winter and spring to adjudicate dancers from other studios across the country. Here is what Miss Jillian had to say:
How many competitions have you judged this year? For my first season, I have judged five events. Four of them have been for Spotlight Dance Cup and the fifth was for AMP (ART, MUSIC, PASSION) Dance Competition.
Where have these competitions been held? My first event was in Youngstown, Ohio. Then, I traveled to Denver, Colorado with my son, Charlie, and he worked as a backstage manager and social media manager for Spotlight Dance Cup. My AMP event was in Chicago and the talent was very strong. Next, I judged in Davenport, Iowa and was lucky to be in the same city with Charlie again. All of these competitions were a standard day and a half event. The final competition was my only three day judging event in Des Moines, Iowa. It was long, but very rewarding since my judging partners were amazing and the talent was very strong as well.
Why did you choose to judge? I decided to begin judging when I was personally asked to apply for judging positions by two of my friends who run events. My friend Stacy Paydo, who is a Radio City Rockette, hires the judges for Spotlight Dance Cup. She invited me to judge after observing me in our studio setting choreography and working with our talented dancers. Suzy Hall, who hires judges for AMP, is also the director of professional tap company Tap 24.7. I have been a member of the tap company for the past two years. Their faith in my ability and the value they place on my knowledge was a big factor in my decision to add judging to my professional life.
What is your favorite part about judging? I enjoyed so many things about my judging weekends. I truly enjoyed being able to share my knowledge and guidance to both teachers and dancers. I know I can not change everyone’s life in one weekend, but I hope to have an impact on both growing teachers and dancers. I also enjoy seeing trends from around the country that I can bring back to my own dancers. The networking with other professionals at each event was such a great experience for me. I met professional dancers who guest teach and are potential future guest artists for our dancers, dance instructors from around the country, and people who work in other facets of the performing world including aerial artists.
Can you describe a memorable moment? I was very nervous for my first event. After judging I have a much greater appreciation for the judges that work the events that our dancers attend. It is a great responsibility to coordinate a sound and valid critique, as well as choose special awards and judges choice awards. It is also imperative that you give equally strong feedback to the 2nd number of the event as to the 2nd to last number of the event.
What is one thing you have learned as a judge? The biggest thing I have learned is that the moral code that my husband and I live by with our dancers and families is the right choice. I have been able to see and judge many dancers, and it makes me proud that we strive to present our dancers in the most appropriate costuming and movement styles.
And finally, if you could take your team to any competition you have judged this year regardless of time/travel/expense, which one would it be and why? The Chicago events present a strong level of talent. I believe it would be beneficial for our dancers to attend events in the Chicago area.
Thank you, Miss Jillian, for all you do for the DDD family. Your passion for dance and your investment, not only in your own education but in our dancers’ education as well, does not go unnoticed. Thank you for providing a strong pre-professional program at DDD!