We competed at Nationals. This year was our first year competing at Applause regionally and at Nationals. We are not a big mega studio. At no point, did I feel that there was favoritism for big studios or those with a long track record at Applause. My only issue is that one of the judges definitely had a long relationship with two sisters who competed. It was pretty obvious when they were onstage. Maybe he needs to be told to tone it down. But I never felt that the judging was unfair. Did tappers and Acro dances place? Yes they did. I found that refreshing. Most comps we go to do not have any judges who know anything but jazz and lyrical. Perhaps those who do not compete in Tap or Acro may not understand the technique, detail and stamina it takes to dance well in those styles. Fwiw, our studio brought approx 60 dances. Only one was Tap, one was Acro. Yes, I felt the judging was fair. I liked the awards ceremonies. The dancers were appropriately recognized but it didn't take too long. The entire week was really organized, thank you for that. A few of our studios dances were in the big show. What an honor. I super love love loved the introduction read before each dance. It made each dance personal and more interesting. None of our dances "won". My only beef is that only the first place winner was recognized during awards. To get to the big show means you are already a winner. I don't know why they do not give each dance a placement award at that point. To shove the losers off stage in such a brusque manner is inconsiderate. My only other issue is that only a top five is truly recognized. At the awards ceremony, I have seen top 10, top 20, top 8, etc.. But on the website, etc. it's only top five. Why give out the award onstage nut not recognize it anywhere else? Those are my only two beefs, they are small and easily fixable. I can't wait to give you five stars next year.
After being very disappointed with how the competition had gone so far we were very excited to get into the best of the best. We danced the best we ever had and had a great day. Once it was time for awards they made all of us line up by category and wait while the finale preformance was going on. I was a little upset not to see the preformance and thought it took away from the appeal of having a finale number. After waiting for a while we were escorted on stage as they quickly announced our names. They had not told us how things would work and we were very surprised when they started to announce the winner. After finding out we had not won the staff put their hands on us and pushed us off the stage. After getting into the hallway they yelled at us to get against the wall and out of the way. There was no focus on the children's feelings or enjoyment of the ceremony and seemed very rushed. I believe it being so rushed and being pushed off stage takes away from the experience for both losers and title winners. Not a good way to end out the week with applause. Our studio will not be coming back.
It is clear that Applause is concentrating on building a clientele in order to generate income. There is an obvious bias to a few studios. Judging does not reward technical elements and ability. They do not work to make new participants feel welcome. Like most studios, we are part of a large network of dancers and studios and we spent a great deal of money to attend regionals and nationals. As a studio we will speak to Applause in terms they understand-- we withdraw our money and support of this company. We will not return, nor will we recommend this competition. In financial terms, Applause will lose at least $20,000 plus recommendations. Applause will not last.
Judging seems to not recognize technical difficulty. There were many times where our jazz/lyrical dances placed lower than a tap or acro that requires less technique,stamina and strength. Many children seemed to be in the wrong age or difficulty level. As a part time teacher at my studio I got very upset over how sad the 6-10 year old kids got when they knew that 13 year olds beat them. This is not fair. Walking down the hallway it was obvious that some studios knew the staff very well and other studios were ignored completely. Funny enough studios who knew the staff also did better at awards. Although they did have vip passes to get into the "best of the best" finals without the highest technical score it seemed like they defeated the purpose by choosing the same studio that already had many other numbers get into the finals. After competing in star systems Nationals for many years we feel we have wasted our money and time this year. We will not be coming back.
This is always my favorite competition! David and Angela did a fantastic job MC-ing; they were very clear. I have a hearing problem but was able to understand all the awards (that never happens). David even took the time to say a few words to my very nervous daughter before her solo. It made all the difference. Especially since one judge didn't even look up to watch my daughter dance (not the comp's fault). Can't wait for nationals.
There was a lot to like about Applause. Well organized, friendly staff, ran early and awards that don't take forever. They even recognized that a dancer was in too low of a level for their talent. It's nice when a comp follows their own rules. But, speaking of rules, I don't know why they have to be such a secret. They are not listed on the website or the program. Post them for us parents. The overalls seemed pretty accurate. But at least 90% of the adjudications were platinum. I find it hard to believe that most dances fell in that one category. Maybe if I knew the scoring system, it would make sense. I would return but please post those rules.
Rated on Apr 25 2016 Event Rated (if any): St Louis - 2016-04-22 Venue: 5 | Judging: 5 | Staff: 3 | Awards: 1 | Communication: --
While I felt like judging was fair...I wasn't impressed with a lot of things at this competition. I couldn't find the scoring rubric online or in the program, but I am super curious what the platinum window is, it must be huge because almost everyone received platinum. I only heard a FEW people get high gold on Saturday. One would think the ones who got high gold likely were horrible, but they weren't...which left me scratching my head. The awards covered way too many categories in one sitting, solos and duets/trios were in with group awards and when there is 3 competing divisions you can only imagine how long it took. There needs to be more awards, in turn making them shorter ceremonies and less confusing. The trophies are super cheap and generic as well.... Wasn't impressed with this competition at all. I feel like they could easily turn it around by paying attention to details, such as improving the trophies (make it look like you actually care about what you're giving the girls/studios...maybe cut out the paper certificates too...) & sort out the awards ceremony mess...organization could be improved as well. I did like the way they gave the point score when giving overall awards, that doesn't happen often.
Applause was okay. It was well run and on time. However, it felt "low energy" and I am not sure if that was the venue or the staff? I felt the scoring was all over the place. Simple dance numbers with multiple mistakes scored higher than complex numbers with few errors, while in other spots it felt fair. I thought way too many people got platinum. The judging wasn't very tiered. It was very congested in the hallways and it was difficult to grab kid-friendly food to refuel them. The choices were limited and the line was very long at all times.
We just attended the Minneapolis Applause competition. It was an incredibly well run regional. The event personnel were friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. I LOVE that the MC/Music table is backstage! I am standing right there if there are issues...no running around to the front of the house. Also, all of the judges critiques and score sheets were uploaded and available by my MONDAY 4:00 class!!! That was awesome. Some competitions do not get these up until Wednesday. It was really refreshing to have these in time for class.
My daughter has competed at this competition several times. They always are high on my list of favorite completions because of their professionalism in the way it is ran. They also have well rounded judges that know all dance styles.