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Did You Literally Create Competitive Dance In The 70?

Responding To This Question From A Facebook Dance Teacher Group Post

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As I was responding to this question by writing this blog, the owner of KAR decided to bully me on a FB discussion group. This gentleman and a friend from the Boston area were two individuals who decided to harass me in 2013 and continue to do so. At one point in the description of the group it was noted who I was and to be ware of my programs and me. The description was shown to 40K dance studio owners and teachers.


Their reason, FEAR!!! They know and are afraid that the programs that I introduce will take away their livelihoods. Stop competing, stop wasting your money and your parents’ time and money. At age 75 I care not for bullies, and I do not think that competitions are worth it. Keep it simple, follow what school districts in your area are doing. Stay away from those who only care about making bank on your efforts. And yes Noah Lands, you do know who I am, and your skills are wrong as many teachers pointed out on the post.

This is an historical outline of dance competitions in the northeast in the sixties and seventies.

Back in the day, comps were part of the dance teacher organizations, I belonged to DMA #5 New England. The focus of these organizations was soloists, then as now. Groups, classes, and lines were limited. I was part of the executive board for Chapter #5, someone handed me a typed slip of paper and asked, can you fix this? The scoring back then was subjective, but a teacher just put down the score he/she wanted. After one executive board meeting where one teacher was complaining that her competitor put in the local newspaper she won FIRST with a score of 76 and the ONLY entry in the category, and her soloist had a score of 92 out of 18 entrants, I suggested a more formalized scoring method, thus the first ADJUDICATED Score System was born.


I was working as a long-term sub in a 4th grade, so I suggested a score system based on a bell curve. I did add criteria for the scores, as I have now, but it was somehow lost along the way. The year was 1976, the score was first used without my permission in 1978. I was working for EAR Corporation; their legal department licensed it for me. The attorneys felt it was going to be big, I guess they were right. To date no one has ever paid me, they were somehow under the mistaken concept that all they had to do was change something and it covered them legally, it doesn’t.


Prior to this, Bev Fletcher, teacher of Michael Bennet of “A Chorus Line” fame had a private competition as did Richard DiSarno and Sam Fiorello called Dancing Deb, again the focus was on the soloists, titles. Richard later became the director for Dance America, the competition for the Art Stone Costume Company.


After an accident in 1990, I transitioned into public education full time. My competition, which I began in 1978 was called American Dance Invitational. There was another MA area comp called Terpsichore, started by three friends. One woman became ill with breast cancer, so the son of one of the other partners opened a comp called American Dance Awards which he later sold due to some sort of financial issue in 2003 after a national held in Boston MA. I kept my comp on a limited basis until 2006 when teaching English at the high school level, traveling for the Gates Foundation, and attending the Harvard Kennedy School for a master’s degree became overwhelming.


After attending multiple basketball games as the dance team coach, I began to think of a simpler way for dance comps to be one day, teams only with a specific score system based on the content of the routines. SKILLS Sport Dance Games® was born. This year I added DanceKids Sport Dance Games For The Recreational Dancer® because instead of students’ school hopping, I felt there had to be a better way for comps, a simpler, happier outcome for those who do not want the intensity of what is currently being offered and something parents would understand in 2024 and beyond.


I feel that the current comp model is now in an oversaturated market. If you are looking for more info, read the blog posts, the programs offered, and send a message to me using the contact form.

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SKILLS Sport-Dance Games® and Dance4Kids Dance Games For The Recreational Dancer® are the ALTERNATIVE to current studio dance competition model offering teachers, studio owners, school dance team coaches, and after school enrichment programs event ownership. It is a competitive achievement for what you offer in your dance classrooms, based in proper ballet training for the four domains of dance education.

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©Jann Davis, January 31, 2024, All Rights Reserved

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