In a dance trade the place occasions come and go on the competitors and conference circuit, Hollywood Connection stands out as a result of dancers maintain coming again. In line with basic supervisor and school member Jacquelyn Sutkowi, the key to the corporate’s success lies within the familial environment that makes the college and employees approachable. “We acknowledge faces and other people; you actually are greater than a quantity,” explains Sutkowi. “Plenty of our school and employees have been round for a very long time, and, consequently, it looks like everybody may be very comfy, welcoming and right here for a similar cause: to be taught and develop collectively.” Because the crew prepares to kick off its Twentieth-anniversary season, Hollywood Connection is unveiling thrilling new plans to proceed constructing connections.
Ignite a Ardour
Each conference weekend, Hollywood Connection hosts Broadway Infants—a stepping-stone program for 5- and 6-year-olds that introduces them to the conference expertise. “We placed on a mini musical centered round a Broadway present,” says Sutkowi. Dancers be taught three routines, dress up in costumes, and carry out their musical in the beginning of the competitors on Saturday. “That method, they’ve a full stay viewers and video and photographs of their efficiency,” she says. “This yr, we’re bringing Broadway Infants to Nationals for the primary time, so these younger dancers can have the prospect to expertise the larger stage and lights, and see some particular company.”
No Ego, Simply Dance
In line with Sutkowi, Hollywood Connection is all in regards to the love of dance, not the celebs and fame. Consequently, it’s kicking off its Twentieth season by including Hollywood Connection Bootcamp to its checklist of occasions. “Bootcamp will likely be much like a conference weekend occasion, however with out the competitors,” says Sutkowi. “It will likely be a transformative weekend for dancers to immerse themselves and give attention to coaching.” At Bootcamp, Hollywood Connection hopes to assist dancers construct endurance, increase creativity and dive a bit deeper than a conference weekend typically permits. The primary-ever HC Bootcamp will happen in Anaheim, California, September 22–24, 2023. And, waiting for 2024, the crew will likely be including a second occasion in Las Vegas, giving studios extra flexibility in scheduling and dancers one other alternative to develop and carry out.
This yr, Hollywood Connection is including a brand new award to its arsenal: a perfect-score medal. “We had a soloist hit that mark final yr,” says Sutkowi. “That doesn’t occur usually, so we determined we wanted one thing particular to mark the event.” The brand new award will likely be known as the Black Onyx, and Hollywood Connection will reserve it for competitors numbers that obtain an ideal rating from the judges.
An Eye Towards the Future
A novel side of Hollywood Connection is that its govt director, Invoice Bohl, can be the co-owner of two expertise businesses: DDO Artists Company and The Motion Expertise Company. Each weekend, Bohl runs the conference auditions. For the oldest group of dancers, he gives age-appropriate content material and context and difficult love to assist them perceive the ins and outs of dance auditions. “College students at Regionals are chosen for a pre-qualifying award that permits them to audition for company representatives at Nationals,” Sutkowi says. “At Nationals, a choose few are chosen for illustration.”
Whereas signing with an company is a big leap for pre-professional dancers and their guardians, Sutkowi emphasizes that the school and employees at Hollywood Connection can reply questions on what it actually means to have illustration. “Everybody at our occasion is an educator,” she states, including that the whole lot they do is about giving dancers instruments to assist them on their journey.
A few of Sutkowi’s favourite moments from her 18 seasons with Hollywood Connection come from watching dancers make reminiscences and create a dance household past their particular person studios. “I’ve seen children meet on the dance flooring when they’re little and, years later, go off to school to bounce collectively and develop into roommates,” she says. “We additionally see commercials choreographed by a Hollywood Connection school member with three dancers who met that choreographer by years of attending the conference—it’s all about constructing these connections.”
Finally, Sutkowi says that everybody at Hollywood Connection is in it to construct constructive futures for the dancers in attendance. “Dance brings a lot pleasure,” she says. “We would like children to return, fill their hearts with dance and bear in mind why they adore it.” For extra info on upcoming areas and dates of Hollywood Connection occasions, click on right here.