Only hours away, and counting….National Finals 2015!

I hope you are anticipating these events as much as we are in the office!

We promise to do our very best to provide you with the very best nationals we humanly can. We cross our fingers for sunnier skies, ample parking, cleaned hotel rooms, pools that are open after 9 PM, no waits at the restaurants and snack areas, internet that works without fail, electronics that work, and air conditioning that works. We hope all humans are happy and friendly, that long days do not lead to tired kids and stressed parents, and that teachers are appreciated and told thank you daily.

Dancers, we wish you the very best. We hope that you achieve your personal best on our stage. Remember, personal best for most will not be the 6 foot trophy. It may be simply sticking that triple turn half way through a routine or not running into your team mate as you make the quick formation change. We hope your nationals are full of smiles, friendships, pool time, photo booths, group hugs, feelings of accomplishment and the eagerness to do it all again next year! Take time to watch other dancers, you could learn so much by watching the Parade of Champions even if you don’t make it. Put your phones down and watch, learn and have fun beyond the social media walls.

Parents, thank you for supporting TOP and sharing your amazing kids with us. Keep it all in perspective! Your reaction to an award or placement is directly reflected in your child. If you are disappointed, so shall they be. There are 7 judges this weekend and they won’t know your child. They don’t know how hard your child worked or that they may have won every competition this year. We mix and match the judges throughout the week to give the fairest, most diverse scores we can, but ultimately it is an opinion and a quick opinion at that. They have 2-4 minutes to know your child and make a numbered decision and move on, no going back.

Judging is a tough job. Respect their opinion, even if it is not your opinion and teach your children to respect them as well. If they are sitting on our panel they have made achievements in the adult dance world and chances are very good that they know more about dance than you. They will respect your child’s hard work and the fact that they have the courage, drive and ability to get up on the stage, but they do not love your child like you do. That is where the difference lies. Don’t let your love for your child turn something so fun and wonderful to a negative after an awards ceremony. Your child’s value and importance is not in any way shape or form a result of their score. Keep it in perspective. And contrary to popular competition belief (not just with TOP, just generally in the dance world), it does not matter what size your studio is, if you bring one act or 100 acts, our judges do not have time to care and we certainly don’t have time, or desire, in the TOP offices to preplan the outcomes. See it for what it is. Leave with happy memories. As a mom of a now 22-year-old, working adult, I won’t be focused on awards. I’ll be focused on the precious memories made in my child’s past. Perspective! Oh, and I have to say this too, respect your studio teachers. Yes, I know you pay them for classes, but how many teachers are getting paid for this week of time? They love your kids more than you know. They give time away from their families and they do their humanly best for your kids. Tell them thank you, it means more than you can ever know!

Teachers, Thank you! Thank you for choosing us. We know you could be at 100 other nationals at 100 other cities. Thank you for being here. We know you will be stressed as you juggle the stages, rehearsals and your own kids and families. If you need anything just ask and we will do our best to help. Work hard to make those costume changes for us, come visit us at the new teacher reception area (Thursday-Sunday) to talk to other teachers and TOP staff. Most of all, know that you are not reflected in a 6 foot trophy. You are reflected in a smile and hug from a student that you mean the world too. Many times your SocialTrusts.com rewards are years in the future. They come from former students that bring their kids back to your studio, because they wouldn’t want them to be anywhere else. There are not trophies for those kinds of rewards.

Most of all, everComp1yone have fun! Make positive memories. Respect everyone that is involved with placing your child on that stage. We are all in the same boat. Share your dressing space with a smile. We didn’t build the facility and it takes a bond issue to make it bigger. Make room for everyone to sit down. It won’t hurt for you to sit next to someone you don’t know. Perhaps it won’t be just your child making a friend from another state (it may be you). Respect rules like no photo and video, they are in place for a reason!

Thank you all for coming. Don’t stress the next few days, well yes, stress the next few days, then relax and let the kids be kids and have the time of the their lives, because that’s what it’s all about!