Like Lady Gaga says, “Just Dance!”
That’s what you’ll see Friday evening, Feb. 27 at a special performance of Wilton’s Conservatory of Dance Competition Teams. The showcase is a fundraiser to help the teams be able to compete during the upcoming spring season of dance competitions.
Now in the competition team program’s second year, Conservatory owner Christine Titus has added a second team, with a ‘Mini Team‘ made up of 7-9 year olds joining the established ‘Junior Team‘ for 10-13 year old dancers. There are more dancers taking part in the program this year as well–the seven girls and one boy on the Mini Team are new to competition dancing, as are five new dancers who helped the Juniors reach a total of 16. There’s also one 17-year-old who competes as a solo dancer.
Being part of a competition dance team takes extraordinary dedication, says Titus, who compares it to youth sports teams popular in Wilton.
“It’s very time consuming, it’s like being on a travel soccer team, year round. The dancers don’t play soccer, they don’t play lacrosse. None of the kids really do anything besides dance. They’re required to take a few classes each week as well. The juniors all take ballet at least twice a week, most take three; they have a jazz class and tap class; they have to take a lyrical or contemporary class. Then, a lot of them take more than the minimum–most of them take all those, plus acro (acrobatic) dance, plus hip-hop, plus musical theater,” explains Titus, adding that the mini dancers are required to take one class each of ballet, tap and jazz.
There are significant costs associated with dance competition, for both the families of the dancers as well as for Titus. The dancers have to pay for tuition of all the classes as well as team participation fees, to cover teacher and choreography costs. They also have to have all the gear–dance shoes, tights and apparel. Titus covered the cost of all the costumes, so that parents wouldn’t have to pay for those as well. In addition, there are entry fees for each competition.
“Some of the girls are in up to five dances, that’s a lot of costume costs. It’s not inexpensive,” Titus says, adding that she also likes to provide lunch for her dancers on competition days.
Overall, the teams together are competing in 15 dances–some of which are group dances and others are solos, duos or trios.
“We added a lot this year, and the kids really proved themselves able to pull it off,” Titus says, proudly.
The showcase kicks off the competitive dance season. The team’s first competition is March 7, with two more scheduled for later in the year.
The Conservatory showcase will take place Friday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m., at the Wilton High School’s Little Theatre. Tickets are General Admission and cost $20 each. To purchase tickets, contact the Conservatory at 203.544-8455.