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Busy Season for RMHS Dancers

Busy Season for RMHS Dancers

RMHS students who dance for local dance studios are feeling the stress of their busy schedules in the midst of competition season taking up all their weekend free time.

Competition Season

Dancers at RMHS hail from several different studios in Reading and surrounding towns such as Enchanted Dance Academy, Dance Track Studio, Dance Studio of Wakefield, J&D Dance Academy, LaPierre School of Dance, and many more. All these studios have something in common: a competition team. Whether they require an audition or several years of experience, competitive dance has become an extremely popular activity. 

Like any other athletes, dancers are used to busy schedules with long practices several times per week and staying up late to get homework done. However, dancers are doing this from September to June, unlike seasonal sports that only last a few months. While competitions don’t start until later in the season, rehearsals only get more difficult as time progresses.

Most regional competitions begin their tours starting between late January and early March. Each competition lasts anywhere from one day to two and a half days, either beginning on Friday afternoon or early on Saturday morning. Dancers may spend as many as eleven hours a day at a competition venue between thirty minutes to an hour and forty five minutes away. Many dance studios in the area attend between two and four competitions per season excluding nationals, which usually happens in June or July and lasts up to five days.

Managing Responsibilities

This information may spark the question “When do competitive dancers do their homework?” Emma Kaberle (‘26) who attends J&D Dance Academy in Reading stated, “I try to do my homework late at night or whenever I can.” Kaberle is not the only dancer who struggles to find time between rehearsals and competitions to get work done. Morgan Lemone (‘24) who attends Enchanted Dance Academy in Winchester added that she does her homework, “On Sunday night. I’m so busy all the time and rarely have time for school work, especially during competition season.”

Some dancers also try to get their work done beforehand. Lexi Middleton (‘24) who attends Dance Track Studio in Wakefield said, “If I know I have a competition coming up I try to get my work done the week leading up to it or I ask my teachers for an extension and let them know that I will barely have any time to myself that weekend.” The lack of free time during the weekend can cause stress with or without homework. Katherine Dougherty (‘24) who is a fellow dancer of Lemone at Enchanted Dance Academy, expressed concern about returning to school immediately following a competition, “After busy weekends I get so tired so I usually sleep in on the first day of the week.” It’s very clear that dancers are exhausted and stressed out before, during, and after a dance competition.

Stress and the Dancer

Lindsey McGovern, who owns Enchanted Dance Academy in Winchester and also happens to be part of the RMHS Class of 2011, provided some helpful advice for competitive dancers. When asked how she believes stress affects how a dancer performs, McGovern responded with, “I think any type of school-related to-do list that hasn’t been completely finished during a performance day could definitely serve as underlying stress that might affect the way they perform on stage.” 

McGovern graduated from Salem State University in 2015 with a Bachelor’s in Dance and also has knowledge in anatomy. She shared that, “Stress gets carried in your muscles and your shoulders for a lot of people or in the lower back and I think that can have an effect on the way that you move when you’re holding stress in your body.” 

While McGovern believes that stress can affect a performance, she also believes that this can be combated, “I think that it takes a lot of focused effort from a dancer to be able to create a to-do list and prioritize things on the to-do list and commit to getting things done before a certain time in order to feel less stressed at the competition. If you leave work to be done when you’re finished with the whole competition weekend it’s going to be looming over you the whole time and that creates stress.” 

Although you may be feeling stressed, just create a to-do list, work on time management skills, and focus on the tasks at hand. Don’t forget to enjoy your dancing and have fun at the same time.

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