This is long over due. Haylee and I attended AOM in Phoenix, 2017. She had so much fun, met and made lots of new friends and learned so much. Haylee couldn't stop talking about how nice literally everyone was and how every single person felt included in everything. Expectations were set Friday night and followed through all weekend for the assistants. We were both so impressed with how organized, how punctual everything ran, how fun and how much all the dancers learned at Art of Movement. Haylee said that it wasn't just the cool part of being in theACADEMY that made it so great (although she LOVES it) it was the teachers, faculty, how things are run and the amount of quality things you learn that make AOM so amazing! We are now in Dallas and I am happy and pleased to say that Phoenix wasn't a one time thing. Everything I said above is being proven again. AOM runs on time, organized like I have never experienced before, completely inclusive of everyone, faculty is approachable, they care about your dancer and they are an all around class act. Many conventions the 'owner' is either not visible or too busy to talk, if they do talk you can tell their mind is somewhere else. At AOM, they are always in and out of classes, checking on parents to chat or get feedback, talking to dancers, advising the assistants and so much more. They are always looking for ways to improve for all involved and listening. If AOM isn't on your radar to attend, it should be. Haylee and I can seriously not say enough good things about AOM. :-)
As the parent of a dancer you always want your child to learn and grow when they go to a convention, especially when you're paying good money for them to do so. We have been to many conventions over the years and continue to return each year (this our third) to Art of Movement. All their teachers are top notch and work great with all students from newbies to the seniors. I feel they are thorough in their teaching of the combos they teach and because they are still somewhat new the class sizes are great so dancers have enough room to dance and move around. Its hard when 400 + dancers are all crammed in a small ballroom and there is nowhere to dance. The competition side of the event is also run in a professional and timely manner and you are not getting out late after dancing all day long. Their entire staff has always been great to work with and are helpful. The venues are always within walking distance of food/restaurants where once you are there you don't necessarily have to leave until the event is over. I especially like that their dance teachers are always willing to wait afterwards to answer questions and take pictures with your kids which at the larger conventions teachers are always running off to their next class and maybe at the end of the convention you might get lucky and get a picture of them with your dancer or talk to them. Each year that we attend Art of Movement we walk away having achieved what we came there for and that is a great learning experience and fun weekend. This is definitely one competition/convention we will attend every year.
My daughter LOVED Art of Movement - definitely a focus on performance with strong technique. We're going to at least one if not two next year. Top of our list!
Just got back from Detroit. Since I found the website really confusing regarding awards and scholarships, I will explain what we experienced. Solos, Duo/Trios, Groups and Lines are given an adjudication at an award ceremony after the nights competition. Just like most other competitions. Solos are given overall awards for the top three. The award for overall solos includes scholarships to future conventions of varying amounts. Unlike any other comp or convention, Duo/Trios, Groups and Lines are not given any overall awards. All of these dances are eligible for three awards, by age, Technique, Entertainment and Choreography. The three groups who win the Choreography Award get to perform in the final show. There were no "special" awards given either. Scholarships are given based on in class auditions. At the end of the audition, scholarship "finalists" are named. At the "final show", each "finalist" gets a chance to improv onstage and then dance with other "finalists" doing whatever combo they learned. Then each "finalist" is given a scholarship of varying dollar amounts to another AofM convention. The lowest "finalists" get $50 and the highest "finalist" gets a free convention. There are a few teacher awards given out. Seems like they went to the studios who brought the most dancers. The only other awards are by genre, given by the class teacher. They chose five dancers to recognize. Over 90% of all genre awards given out were given to Juniors (ages 9-12). Especially odd in the Contemporary category. Only one senior received a genre award. I can only guess that AofMs goal is to bring young dancers back. I find it hard to believe that Junior classrooms had better dancers than every dancer in the Teen/Senior classroom. And yes, Teens and Seniors are in the same classroom all weekend. But they did have plenty of room to dance and good sight lines to the instructors. My dancer liked the classes. She and her teammates really loved the Yogance Class. Please keep it! Classes mostly were an hour and fifteen minutes. Loved that. Competition and awards ended before eleven. Such a great change from most conventions that run their participants ragged!! I'm guessing because they are new, they still have a few bugs to work out. The music volume levels and accuracy were kind of a mess. Please fix that. Mostly, the dances went onstage quickly and in order. Thanks for that. And thank you for reminding the audience more than once about audience etiquette. Much appreciated. Well done for actually stopping parents who were videotaping competition dances. I love it when a comp actually enforces their rules. Pics and videos for purchase could be really good but the stage lighting made them awful. Either my kid was washed out or orange. Disappointing since most hotel ballroom events we go to have the best pics. The distance and lighting make them great. I usually wait to buy until we go to a convention. There wasn't one of my kids nine dances worth purchasing due to the weird lighting. So many other conventions do it right, please reach out to them. Love this venue, smaller but very caring and detail oriented. Finally, a big thank you for having chairs available for the final show. Most conventions make us parents sit on the floor. A tiny, but thoughtful detail. Don't lose those sorts of details, that will differentiate you from the crowd.
ETA - my kid said the critiques were really good. But we got our actual scores and found that two dances were announced as High Gold, but they were really Platinum. That is just carelessness and a shame to the dancers who deserved better
2015-2016 SEASON: I believe this was their first tour and I was fortunate
to take my dancer as an optional in Mobile. I overheard teachers (hip hop
and tap) talk to the minis on two occasions and loved their messages to
kids. Well-organized and positive environment, and my dancer had a