Inventive Dance Alternate’s Trade Alternatives Give Dancers Extra Than a Trophy


After years of taking their college students to conventions the place the dancers by no means appeared to depart with lasting takeaways, Alex Chan and Juan Borona co-founded Inventive Dance Alternate in 2017. “At these dance conventions and competitions, they might obtain a trophy, and that was form of it,” Chan says. So he and Borona vowed to type a program that may “take note of dancers’ experiences,” Chan says.

Collectively, the duo has since constructed a strong nationwide tour of conference and competitors programming that, at its core, places all dancers first. ADE experiences don’t cease on the finish of a weekend occasion. As an alternative, the group immediately connects scholar dancers with additional coaching and efficiency alternatives, together with expertise company illustration, school scholarships, and worldwide trade packages awarded throughout its Nationals occasion in Orlando. 

From the Comp Stage to Performing Internationally

“Cultural trade is one thing you may’t replicate,” Chan says. Via packages like these, the expertise turns into the award. ADE now hosts about 20 weekends of tour dates throughout the U.S., awarding greater than $25,000 in scholarships at every occasion. These weekends culminate with the ADE Nationals in Orlando, the place qualifying dancers are then provided the chance to attend a nationwide dance pageant overseas. ADE presently companions with festivals in Argentina, Mexico, Spain, and the UK.

Final 12 months, Chan and Borona led a gaggle of 12 college students to Mendoza, Argentina, the place they grew to become the first-ever group of American dancers to compete in a Latin World Cup. The cherry on prime of an already candy expertise? The group gained first place. “It was implausible,” Chan says.

ADE’s Prodigy Program

The success of those exchanges is emblematic of ADE’s bigger mission: to provide all college students in attendance an expertise that goes past a trophy. Domestically, ADE’s Prodigy Program acknowledges college students’ expertise by way of free alternatives to proceed coaching with and aiding ADE’s school.

Courtesy Inventive Dance Alternate

Prodigies are divided into three ranges: All-Stars dancers, chosen in every metropolis, win coaching alternatives with ADE’s school for a full 12 months. College students on the Junior to Intermediate (ages 9–12) and Teen & Seniors Superior (ages 13–19) ranges are each eligible.

Noble Prodigies obtain the identical advantages as All-Stars, plus the possibility to help school onstage. Additionally they carry out in choreography showcases at every regional weekend, and obtain discounted tuition to Nationals.

Judges then select college students for the most-revered tier, Dancer of the Yr, from these named Prodigies at any regional metropolis. DOTYs win a package deal valued at greater than $10,000 per winner for coaching and lodge stays for themselves and their household. The title additionally comes with additional alternatives to help school onstage. Every season, ADE selects six complete DOTYs, three male and three feminine, from its Junior, Teen, and Senior age ranges.

Connecting Dancers to Skilled Experiences

Tara Vecchio was a part of ADE’s first Noble Prodigy class in 2018. “I had such an unbelievable expertise,” she says. After coaching with ADE as a scholar, she has since returned as a employees member and is now an Rising New Artist with the group, instructing up to date fusion.

“Being Noble undoubtedly helped me make a reputation for myself,” Vecchio says. “I met a whole lot of nice dancers and choreographers that helped me ease my means into the business.”

After her time as a Noble Prodigy, she danced in initiatives with Jennifer Lopez, Julianne Hough, and BTS, and within the film Within the Heights. “A number of these needed to do with connections I made by ADE,” she says.

School Who Are Devoted to Dancers’ Success

These connections are usually not an accident, says Chan. Borona, who manages ADE’s school, solely selects business professionals whom he feels understands the essence of instructing on an interpersonal degree. The rigorous choice course of usually takes over a 12 months.

“You can be a tremendous dancer, a tremendous choreographer, and in case you are not in a position to impart that data to any person else, you’re not a instructor,” Chan says. Present ADE school embody Kevin Frey, Alex Wong, Ian Eastwood, Ryan Ramirez, Matt Cady, Gianna Martello, and Geo Hubela.

Courtesy Inventive Dance Alternate

“There’s not a lot room for egos,” says Jill Marie, ADE’s regional director and jazz school member. “It’s actually about [the students] and never us, and we wish them to really feel that means.”

No-Stress Alternatives

As regional director, Marie helps handle all ADE weekends, that are designed to be as inclusive as attainable. “One factor that I really like about ADE is that the youngsters get to put on their numbers all through your entire weekend,” Vecchio says, which means that dancers are evaluated for additional alternatives all through the occasion versus a single scholarship audition. “A number of conventions simply have an audition class, which is extra stress, after which the youngsters really feel like the remainder of the weekend doesn’t actually matter.”

Courtesy Inventive Dance Alternate

Continuously Bettering Studios’ Experiences

Whereas the college are partaking with college students, Marie and her workforce flip their focus to the studio house owners, lecturers, and oldsters in attendance. On the finish of every weekend, ADE’s management hosts a suggestions assembly to know how they’ll higher studios’ experiences the following 12 months.

“What could be okay or acceptable or welcoming in Miami might not be the identical factor in Minneapolis,” explains Marie. As an example, ADE has integrated suggestions to regulate its programming throughout the nation: Many Southern cities now embody clogging lessons, which Chan says have been added after listening to requests from studios the 12 months earlier than. And after Miami attendees requested ballroom lessons, ADE integrated ballroom coaching in all cities.

In consequence, ADE can cater to a wider vary of studios and college students. Dancers with skilled aspirations can discover their place among the many high-level competitors, however Chan says ADE can also be a conference for “the shy children, or the youngsters that aren’t in all of it the way in which. They’ve an opportunity to shine. Due to the ambiance, they really feel comfy to step exterior their field, to get some recognition.”

This ability vary units ADE other than a lot of its rivals, providing college students well-rounded experiences which push college students to take dangers as the college and employees cheer them on.

“Lots of people say that ADE is probably the most supportive, non-drama–feeling conference,” Chan says. “The vitality is totally different, and we actually wish to maintain it that means.”

Discover Inventive Dance Alternate’s 2023–24 tour schedule right here, and register now to expertise the ADE distinction.

Courtesy Inventive Dance Alternate


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