We got to Pennsylvania on Tuesday afternoon. The rooms were nice - the girls had their own room and my parents had one as well. They all had balconies that overlooked the pool and playground (that's the picture on the left). Again, the best part about Nationals is getting to spend a week with your best friends in the world. The kids swam, had a sleepover, went to Hershey Park, went to a dance workshop convention, ate at restaurants, and performed amazingly together. They danced every day starting Wednesday evening with prequalifications. These are the numbers they're doing at nationals that weren't done at this comp's regional. So those need to be judged separately, then performed again on its slotted day. In this competition, the awards you can get are: Bronze, High Bronze, Silver, High Silver, Gold, and High Gold - based on the judges composite scores. Thursday was junior solo day. J scored Gold on all 3 of her solo's. After her vocal solo the director of the entire competition was all teary and sniffly. He told J that he remembered her when she was 7 and he couldn't believe how grown up she was now. Friday was Junior group day. J's 3 junior groups were Contemporary, Lyrical, and Tap. They received 2 High Golds and a Gold. Saturday was the Junior convention/workshop. The kids got there at around 7am and had 4 hours of master classes in Contemporary, Jazz, and Musical Theater. The master teachers are professional dancers - one was in the top 4 of season 2 of So You Think You Can Dance. In Musical Theater they broke the kids up into 5 groups. There were over 100 kids in each group. After they learned the big routine, J was chosen to represent her group and dance alone. That was exciting.
Sunday was Senior group numbers. Even though J is a Junior competitor, she dances with Seniors (over 13 y/o) from her studio, so the number is considered "Senior". They did "open" (mix of various dance styles), Hip-Hop production ("production" means it includes most or all of your comp team with various age levels. J has 6 on her junior team, but more than 30 from the studio in these production numbers), and Tap production. These numbers scored 2 High Golds and a Gold. The Open Senior number won best costume (out of over 1000 numbers!) and was one of 11 numbers chosen for a choreography showcase (they cam in 3rd place). The Tap production won a special entertainment award. The judges were incredibly tough scorers this whole week. I'm so proud of J, her studio, and her dance teachers. What a week!