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Before I start I want to prefice this with the fact that our students placed well and we even came home with the 1st overall Broadway division Jr. Small group award.  The judging and critiques were on the money and much appreciated, and I loved the video critiques on the thumb drive.

BUT, we will never go back to VIP ever again.

We chose VIP because it has a workshop.  I was under the impression that the workshop was mandatory to participate in the competition.  It was not.  The work shop cancelled due to low enrollment.  So the only reason we wanted to attend no longer existed.  Ok, fine.  We can live with that. 

Upon arrival we turned in our music and picked up our director's packet....no program book.  We were told the directors had to purchase their own book $7...WHAT!?  I have been doing comps for over 30 years and NEVER have I had to buy my program book.  Major offense #1.

 

The comp ran relatively smooth eventhough they allowed almost another 20 numbers in after the cut off date.  I get it, the economy is bad, the comp was small anyway so no biggie there either, just a minor issue, nothing to really get bent out of shape about.  Also, ran out of order because we have this one studio that ALWAYS claims kids aren't ready so they can compete after their category is well over so the can try to score better, you know, judges don't really remember what else may have actually been in the same level/catagory/age/genre to compare them against.  And the stage manager allowed the transgression with no penalty in score.  That always gets my goat.  We were ready when we were suppose to compete no if, ands, or buts, as were all the other studios there.

 

Moving on to awards...

For the most part I liked the fact that they laid out a red carpet across the front of the stage and down the middle as an aisle way for the kids easily accept their awards.  The awards however were a JOKE!  A lanyard with a flimsy plastic card that had their medal standing printed on it.  Can you say EL CHEAPO!  Oh and each kid only got one lanyard and each award (the plastic card thingy) was hooked onto the lanyard.  A chincy medal was awarded to the studio for the adjudicated award.  That was the 2nd major offense. 

The offense straw that broke the camel's back was a doozy.  We brought 2 small groups and one large group routine (3 routines total) and had 12 dancers entered with 10 of those dancers participating in 2 of the 3 routines.  We paid $704 for the 3 routines to compete.  The announcer stated plainly during the awards that each studio will be recognized by the judges for the element that each studio does best: technique, showmanship, energy, etc.  Every studio was awarded something except us (11 studios attended).  My kids looked confused and hurt.  Then announcer says each studio will be recognized for the genre of dance that they do best.  Again, every studio recognized but us.  After all was over we asked the regional director why our studio was skipped in the recognitions.  She stated we had to have 5 routines entered to qualify for that recognition: Translation-we didn't pay them enough money to be recognized.  I asked where that was posted and she said online. 

 

Here is a cut & paste from their website

.

VIP Studio Swag Awards
Students, teachers, and choreographers of each studio are presented with a special award representing the most outstanding qualities of the studio. Awards include Style, Technique, Energy, Showmanship, and Overall Performance.
(Studios must enter a minimum of 5 entries OR a have a minimum of 10 competing dancers at the event to qualify for a Studio Award.)

VIP Entertainment
One routine from each studio is chosen as the “Most Entertaining” and is eligible for the “Outstanding Entertainment Award”.
(Studios must enter a minimum of 5 entries OR a have a minimum of 10 competing dancers at the event to qualify for the Entertainment Award.)

...Um we had 12 students entered!  So we actually did qualify to receive studio recognition awards.  I emailed the company owner/director in regard to these issues, she has not responded.  We will not go back to VIP.

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Uh oh - thanks for the heads up.  We're going there in 3 weeks, as they comp we were originally going to go to that weekend didn't come through.  The lanyard thing does sound cheap.  We have just 10 students, but 13 routines, so maybe our kids will get recognized for something. 

 

I appreciate the review - I can now go into it with my eyes open!

Elaine,

 

Let me know how it goes... we will be at another competition in NC, but would be interested to know for next year!

 

-Riley

UPDATE - The owner of the company emailed me back.  She apologized for issues and took full responsibility.  Her email was sincere and professional, therefore we will more than likely give them a second chance next year.  Hope all who attend their events this year have a positive experience.

I thought I'd take a moment to toss in my take on VIP.  We just got back from their regional here.

 

Competition - was a standard regional comp, with basically two large studios and several smaller studios.  I agreed for the most part with the judging.  As far at the awards, my juniors liked the lanyards; my seniors are more into it for the critiques, and it doesn't really matter to them about whether they get cards, pins, ribbons or trophies.  I'm running out of room in the studio, so medals are fine with me.  We did get the studio awards, which are nice, and even a Judge's Choice award, which was great!

 

I'm not a fan of the critiques being on a USB.  I have an old, smaller laptop at the studio, but I'm not sure it can handle the USB.  If not, I'll have to cart my laptop back and forth every day this week, and with Open House/Parent Recital packets going out this week, it's not the best time for that.  The video on the USB is not that great; I really liked Video Judge instead.

As for the classes - they had to cancel the junior room, because we were the only ones who registered any juniors - and there are just 4 of them!  They went ahead and danced with our 6 seniors, and about 25 other high school/college kids that were there.  I thought it was a real shame that out of over 200 some dancers yesterday, only 35 signed up for the classes!  But hey, more individual attention for those that did stay.

 

Anyway, the classes were GREAT!  The teachers were all very good, the material was wonderful, the way the material was broken down then brought up to speed was great, and all the teachers were high energy and had great rapport with the kids. 

 

All in all, probably a better experience that Angela had.  We may opt for another competition next year, but I think we'll probably make the 2-hour drive for the classes, especially since two of our students won scholarships for next yeat's convention.  :)

 

Elaine,

 

First off, congrats to you guys!  Sounds like you all did fabulous!  Thank you for your input on this one.  Depending on how it fits with our "must go to" competitions next year, we will probably do this one.  I am happy to know that the classes were great!  If we hadn't been out of town, my kids would have signed up to do them.

 

Glad you had a positive experience and I hope they come back here next year.  Locals are always good!

 

-Riley :)

USB is pretty universal...I would have been thrilled with that...we don't even have a cd player in the studio anymore. 

You could always burn the info from the USB to a CD or DVD at home to avoid lugging your computer around....or convert it & put it on your ipod/iphone

Did either of you go back in 2012? Also, can you tell me how they usually schedule? For example minis and juniors on Saturday and seniors and solos on Sunday? Any idea would be really helpful. I have been wanting to take my kids to this competition for a while, but now may have a conflict preventing us again from attending. 

Thanks!

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