This is it. You have finally made up your mind that you are going to attend at least one dance convention/competition this season. Then it hits you: how in the heck am I going to decide which one to try??? I mean, there are like 200 in every dance magazine!
I'm here to help.
If you Are Attending With A Team:
If your team is at a beginner level, fairly small, new, or if the group hasn't been dancing together for more than a year, consider attending a smaller convention.
Conventions with well-known and master teachers and choreographers like LADF , The Pulse, NYCDA , and Tremaine are great. But, if your team has never attended master classes in a convention setting, they will most likely be entirely overwhelmed.
Usually, conventions like this are extremely crowded. They will most likely be held in ballrooms in hotels. The rooms are huge but the biggest the dance floor will be is 50x50'. This is especially hard during classes that require leg extensions and for tap.
Smaller conventions can be great. They usually have less students and more space. Also, there is usually a novice or performance only category in these conventions' competitions.
DO NOT attend conventions/competitions with "Talent Competition" in their title for your first competition. Usually, these do not offer workshops and are based on "photogenic" (modeling/pageant skills) scores in some categories.
These are great for teams with a lot of experience in singing, acting, modeling, pageantry, AND dance.
Choose a convention/competition that prides itself in teaching technique AND routines in its master classes. Most people benefit more from being taught and corrected in a different environment with new teachers. Sometimes, students that struggles with certain concepts of basic dance technique will have corrections and steps click in their head after hearing them explained or taught in a different way.
IF You Are Attending As An Indie:
As I said above, smaller conventions are always better for convention newbies. But, depending on how long and how intensely you have been training, you may benefit more from larger, better-known conventions.
Sometimes, dancers who would like to stand in front and get noticed by the teacher (and get a spot on the wood floor) tend to linger in the back of the room on the carpet if their less advanced or less confident team mates or friends are there.
Go to a small workshop with a close dance friend . Often, technique-based, small conventions are held at local studios in the cities that they travel to. This is ideal for even the dancers that have been attending conventions/competitions with the same team since they were 7.
The downside is: most of these studio hosted workshop accept a limited number of students (usually 30-100) because of studio size. This usually means that at least half the people attending the workshop will be students at the sponsor studio and all on the studio's competition team.
This is why I recommend bringing a friend or other dancer from your studio along. This way, you're guaranteed to know at least one person attending and you won't be the only one not on the team.
Go to a workshop that older dancers whose opinions you respect have enjoyed or benefited from. Usually, these people will remember what it felt like when they were in your position : going to their first convention.
Some workshops that I have really liked in the past are: Dancemakers, Inc., Manhattan Dance Project, and LADF. When I've attended, Dancemakers and MDP were both very small and technique based but there were still a variety of dancers there from out of the city/state.
These both accept indies in their competitions and showcase and are great for a first convention.