It was almost three years ago when I asked the following question at our annual Member Rally for More Than Just Great Dancing®:
What types of opportunities or services do you want most for you studios?
That answer was loud and clear. Our affiliated studio owners wanted a high-quality, non-competitive, positive dance event for students. That day as studio owners stood with their hands raised, saying, “YES, this is what we need!” I was blown away (and a little overwhelmed!) I could feel the emotion in that room, and understood that this wasn’t just a request for another workshop or master class—this was a request for a type of event that didn’t exist yet. Hence my feeling of overwhelm!
But it didn’t take long for us to catch our breath and the idea was catapulted into motion by the team at More Than Just Great Dancing® and our online lifestyle brand More Than Dancers. One year after our first student event, the concept evolved into the 360° Dance Festival and we will be producing in two different cities —360° West in Palm Springs, CA and 360° North in Minneapolis, MN. The two-day event is designed to offer an engaging learning environment for dancers of all abilities ages 8 to 18, with a performance showcase opportunity.
So why the name “360° Dance Festival”?
Because we are working hard to expand the definition of what dance training looks like. The “360°” part of the name comes from our goal to serve the whole dancer. As studio owners and teachers we are well aware that there is so much that goes into being a dancer and we want the 360° Dance Festival to address as many of those elements as possible.
To that end, the 360° Dance Festival will include classes in:
- Dance careers
- College planning
- Audition prep
- Health and wellness
- Self-esteem building
- And of course, technique
Performance opportunities for solos, duets, small groups, and large groups will round out the dancer experience. Teachers and parents are invited to attend seminars on how to best support their dancers and help them achieve success. As the first YPAD (Youth Protection Advocates in Dance) Certified dance event in the world, the 360° Dance Festival will be adhering to the highest standards of teaching, safety, and inclusivity. All of our faculty members are background-checked and trained in YPAD principles.
Growing this festival from the ground up hasn’t been easy, but I can say that it has been a labor of love. Many, many people contributed to laying the foundation for our first festival last year and I pay honor to their contributions.
Positively influencing hundreds, if not thousands, of young dancers with this type of platform is a huge responsibility. But, it’s one we are eager to take on. The 360° Dance Festival will be a dancer’s dream destination with our renowned faculty, innovative classes, performance adjudication, and YPAD seal of approval.
Looking at how far we’ve come since that first seed was planted, I’m humbled by where we are now. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to serve the dance community at large with our More Than Just Great Dancing® message.
I hope you’ll join us this summer at 360° West in Palm Springs (July 12-14) or 360° North in Minneapolis (July 26-28) and experience this unique approach to your students’ dance training! You’re welcome to reach out to me personally @mistylown with your questions about the event. I can’t wait to see you there!