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DanceKidsUSA: Competition Run by Kids

By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.

Sometimes it seems that there are an infinite number of dance competitions, and it can be overwhelming to set them apart. But sometimes something new and fresh comes on the scene, and when dancers take notice they want to eat up such a unique thing.

On February 7, in Los Angeles, California, the latest dance competition, DanceKidsUSA (DKUSA), will host its premiere event, and with it certainly comes a different perspective on the competition circuit.

In a DKUSA competition event, kids will run the show. Kids will judge their peers, help out backstage, be the Master of Ceremonies and have opportunities normally left to adults. It is the first of its kind. Already, Abby Lee, of the hit reality television show Dance Moms, along with her elite dance team, will participate in DKUSA’s first event, which shows that even the most adept at competitions need something new.

“We wanted to present a new and unique type of dance competition where the feedback to the young competing dancers comes from a peer review, a critique from the point of view of other young dancers,” says Lynn Giordano, director of DKUSA, which is under the umbrella of the dance competition company World-Class Talent Experience. “The DKUSA judges are highly experienced and accomplished performers with extensive backgrounds in dance. They bring insight and advice to dancers from a ‘kids’s point of view’, something dancers cannot get from adults.”


The kids running the premiere competition event for DanceKidsUSA: Alex Calderone (Master of Ceremonies), Brianna Nelson (Judge), Carly Weinsier (Judge), Natalie Butt (Judge), Gayle Shear (Backstage crew), and Alex Garner (Backstage Manager). Photo courtesy of Lynn Giordano.

The first DKUSA competition will be held in La Cañada Flintridge, a city in Los Angeles County, California, where students from local studios will participate in routines of all genres, in solos, duets, small groups, large groups and production numbers. The judges, ages 12-15, are experienced competition dancers themselves and understand what it takes to score in a dance competition. These young judges will be supervised by an “advisory” judge, an adult who has experience judging competitions.

“This unique process gives the competing dancers an entirely different perspective on their performance,” Giordano says. “Competing dancers usually attend three or more competitions in a season and typically get the same feedback from each one. DKUSA judges will help the dancers think outside the box and improve their performance as a direct result.”

Giordano and those at DKUSA are very excited to have the impressive presence of Abby Lee and her elite dance team, who will compete on February 7 for an episode of Dance Moms.

“It is an honor to have Abby Lee attend our premiere competition event,” Giordano adds. “Since they compete every week at a standard dance competition, we envision that participating in our kid-run competition will give Abby and her team a fresh perspective.”

Giordano says that she hopes DKUSA will prove itself to be an outlet to empower kids, instill confidence and ensure fun.

“We have six very talented kids running the show,” she adds. “We hope to inspire all kids to realize their full potential.”

DKUSA plans to host an event each month, with the second competition to be held in Florida. To find out more about DKUSA or how to participate, visit www.dancekidsusa.com.

Photo (top): The kids running the premiere competition event for DanceKidsUSA: Alex Calderone (Master of Ceremonies), Brianna Nelson (Judge), Carly Weinsier (Judge), Natalie Butt (Judge), Gayle Shear (Backstage crew), and Alex Garner (Backstage Manager). Photo courtesy of Lynn Giordano.

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