By Rebecca Martin.
Joshua Horner is one of Australia’s most loved dancers, performers, and TV personalities, and is also one of the country’s finest exports to the rest of the world. Having danced up a storm with The Australian Ballet, and in musicals on Broadway, the West End and in Australia, Josh has also made a successful leap into television, being a resident judge on the Australian series of Dancing With The Stars. If all that wasn’t enough, Josh has created works for Disney in California and is now launching a worldwide dance competition that takes place on line called Dance Upon A Dream. Dance Informa spoke to Josh in between shows on his current tour of A Chorus Line.
Tell us a little bit about Dance Upon A Dream…
Dance Upon a Dream is an online competition for the ‘competitive’ dancer. Created by myself, Dance Upon a Dream aims to find the best of the best dancers from around the world. Each Dance Competition has its own set of rules and sometimes varies in its size of actual competitors. In some countries you win 1st, 2nd or 3rd and in others you get given a status of a high gold or a platinum. Both are equally exciting but who actually is the best? You might win the nationals in North Carolina but is someone just as good or if not better in Sydney, Australia or Toronto, Canada? What about Japan? How can we see and find out?
Dance Upon a Dream is taking the local dance competition and blasting it to worldwide proportions. Simply by using the video of your routine you can compete with people of the same age all around the world and it’s all online.
What inspired you to create Dance Upon A Dream?
I grew up doing a lot of competitions and I always found it the best way to see how all my training was going and see how I compared to other people my age. This was way before the Internet was born. Having judged dance competitions all around the world I was judging various comps in the USA and I was blown away by the talent and kept thinking I wonder how the Australians would compare to the Americans. Clearly not everyone can just fly overseas and compete so the idea for Dance Upon a Dream was born. We always get our routines recorded and then they just kind of sit in the DVD cabinet. But now with the Internet I keep seeing young dancers sharing their talents on Facebook and youTube and thought what a perfect platform to formally categorize all these videos and compete twice with the same routine to see how you rank around the world. It’s also a wonderful way for young dancers to get noticed globally since many producers and directors are casting globally now for talent for their projects. I saw this happen with many of the young boys and girls who played roles in Billy Elliot The Musical. I even got a young man cast in the show because I saw him at a competition in North Carolina. I changed his life.
Dance Upon a Dream is also really awesome for the parents as well as the young dancers. It’s a great way for a family to sit at home and watch awesome dancers from around the world. It’s a wonderful platform for parents to help their children get noticed in the entertainment business. A small example of this success is a guy called Justin Bieber…
Who can enter the competition?
Any soloist or dance studio that competes ‘competitively’ at a competition and gets their routine professionally recorded. The ages start from 7 years old and up and the divisions are for solos, duos/ trios, small groups (up to 9 people) large groups (10 or more people) and production. We even have a Boys Award just for the ‘dance men’ of the world to compete against each other. They can also compete against the girls but if they wanted to just compete against other boys there is that option. It’s basically like an Online Dance Olympics.
For groups, the studio directors or choreographers can enter their groups. Individuals in the groups can’t enter for the group.
How do dancers participate in Dance Upon A Dream?
It’s really too easy.
1: First you dance and compete at your favourite local dance competition.
2: Get your routine professionally recorded by the video company at the competition.
3: Upload your routine/s to your very own personal youTube channel. (Get your parents to help you out with this if you’re under 14) Many studio directors nowadays have their own dance studio youTube page.
4: Go to www.danceuponadream.com and select your age and style divisions and fill out your information.
5: Copy and Paste the link from your youTube video into the Dance Upon a Dream website.
6: Finish the entry form and payment and you’re in. You can start watching your competition immediately.
How long does the competition run for?
The first competition will run for about 3 months. Just to spread the word and give a little extra time for getting your routines on camera.
After the first comp Dance Upon a Dream will run twice, maybe three times a year.
What are the categories?
There are 4 age groups:
Mini 7 – 10 yrs
Junior 11 – 12 yrs
Teen 13 – 15 yrs
Senior 16 +
Style Divisions are :
Ballet (including repertoire variations from ballets)
What are the costs to enter?
Solo $22 USD per video
Duo Trio $33
Small Group $44
Large Group $55
How are the winners decided?
This is the bit I love most. The winners will be decided by an array of 36 world-class successful industry judges including Emmy Award winning Tyce Diorio and Tony Award winning choreographer Christopher Gattelli. The judges also include Broadway Stars, LA choreographers and star dancers from Australia, Canada and the UK.
The Judges will score the routines and each video will have its own personal ‘Vote button’. This is where the competition is unique. We will be taking 80% of the judges scores and 20% of the public vote. From there, 20 finalists will be selected and then it’s the public vote that will choose the winner of each category.
What are some of the prizes up for grabs?
The ‘Ultimate Winner’ will receive a 3 month International Student Visa Scholarship to Broadway Dance Center in New York worth $2,450.
The ‘Ultimate Winner’ will also receive a return airfare to New York from anywhere in the world, thanks to Dance Around The World, and be featured on the cover of Dance Informa magazine in America and Australia, with a leading interview.
All winners in the Solos, Duos and Trios will win a brand new pair of dance shoes from the hottest new dance shoe company, MDM, awesome one of a kind Dance Upon a Dream onesies and t- shirts, cash prizes and features on Dance Upon a Dream TV (the Online TV Show).
Winning Groups win a Dance Upon A Dream t-shirt for every member of the group, a cash prize for the studio and a personal invite to the Dance The Magic Showcase on Broadway.
The best part about Dance Upon a Dream is the exposure that you will get by being seen by choreographers, casting directors and industry professionals alike.
For more information and to enter visit www.danceuponadream.com