Competitive Dance vs. High School Dance Team

A comparison between two of the biggest parts of my life.


It all started when I auditioned for the dance company at Starstruck Performing Arts Center in 2004. I was just a little second grader who really liked to dance,  play soccer, softball, and swim. At the time I had no idea that 10 years later I would be in the same dance company. Down the road I gave up my dreams of being Mia Hamm, a professional softball player and girl version of Michael Phelps. Looking back, it was all worth it.

Freshman year I was so excited to try out for dance team at West. Throughout the past three years I have been on the team at West, I have learned how to dance with girls of all different abilities and styles. I have picked up on a lot of differences between dancing in a dance company at a studio and being on a high school dance team.

Competitive dance is very different than high school dance team. First, I’ll start with competitive dance.

Auditions for company at Starstruck PAC are in the beginning of August. The list of company members (80 dancers this year) is posted the next day and rehearsals start within the next week. Our rehearsals are for group dances that year. I usually have eight or nine group dances and one solo. The Tuesday after Labor Day starts our first week of dance classes. Every week company members are required to take two ballet, one jazz, one modern, and one leaps & turns class a week.

Throughout the week there are rehearsals before and after dance classes. An example of a normal day at dance would be: arrive at 4:30pm for rehearsal, ballet class from 5:00-6:30, jazz class from 6:30-8:00, and then rehearsal until 8:30. Sundays are solely dedicated to rehearsals, except for a ballet class at 9:30am and a pointe class at 11:00am. I am at the studio for about 17 hours every week.

Starstruck PAC usually competes at three regional dance competitions and one national competition. Our first competition is this weekend, Feb 28-Mar 2. Competitions are usually 10-12 hours a day for three to four days in a row. I love getting to bond with my best friends.

Dancing at a studio allows me to meet people from all over Kansas City. Most of my friends go to different schools, so I always know what’s going on in Olathe and Blue Valley.

Competitive dance is a much larger time commitment (rehearsals, classes, rhinestoning/making costumes, etc.) than high school dance team.

At West, we audition for Dance Team in April right after Spring Show, and then we aren’t together as a team until band camp in June. After band camp, we reunite at the beginning of August for dance camp.

Dance team practices are 6:30am Monday, Wednesday,  and Friday, then at 7:40am Tuesday. All varsity members have first block dance team class all year long; junior varsity, first semester. In the Fall, varsity practices with the band during first block class and Tuesday nights from 6-8 PM. We perform pre-game, sidelines (during first, second, and fourth quarters), and halftime at all home football games. Also, dance team performs on the sidelines for in-district away games. Varsity dance team also goes to band festivals/competitions with the marching band throughout the fall. One of my favorite things is marching in various parades.

Once we are all done with the halftime show with band, everything gets hectic. Dance team works extremely hard to clean up the dances from dance camp in August. We attended two dance team competitions this year, one Saturday a piece. These competitions are great bonding experiences. I also love getting to see my Starstruck friends that are on other school’s dance teams.

Spring Show is our final performance of the year. Right now we are learning three new dances for it. Let’s just say my memory is fried with 11 Starstruck dances and 10 dance team dances. S

pring show is on April 4th this year.

We are working so hard on cleaning our dances and learning new ones that there isn’t much room for joking around. That doesn’t bother me much though. We have grown so much as a team this year, and I can’t wait for everyone to see what we’ve been working on!

So, obviously there are some major differences between competitive dance and high school dance team. The major differences are difficulty, discipline, and drive to succeed. I pick these three Ds because I feel these are what I can see and experience at Starstruck, but not so much at dance team. Most of us at the studio plan on dancing in our future, whether college dance team or studying dance in college, but on dance team it is just a great way to be involved at West and have fun with friends.