The Dance Academy of North Jersey competition team is a group of young women and men with similar interests who come together to learn, rehearse and perform -- in a supportive, fun environment. The DANJ team has achieved national recognition for their exceptional technique, diverse, professional choreography, performance qualities, and unique costuming, in all styles of dance. While having consistently been recognized as one of the leaders in the competitive dance world, the DANJ team understands that dance is an art form and that dance competitions are a place for them to gain exposure to, and develop friendly relationships with, dancers and choreographers from other studios and dance organizations.
The DANJ team participates in four regional competitions during the school year and one national competition. The regional competitions run between late February and mid-May and the national competition is usually in early July. The regionals are generally within driving distance; however, depending on the distance and competition schedule, some families may decide to stay overnight close to the venue (for example, if the venue is 60+ minutes away and a dancer is performing late one night and early the next morning, it may be more convenient for that dancer to stay close to the competition venue). National competitions are frequently outside the immediate NY Metropolitan area, although they occasionally are in New York City. Please visit our Team Achievements page for a selection of videos from our 2015 Nationals at American Dance Awards in Hollywood, Florida and 2014 Nationals at Hall of Fame in Virginia Beach.
The competition team dancers range in age from 5 to 18: Minis (age 6 to 8), Petites (age 6 to 10), Juniors (age 9 to 12); and Teens & Seniors (age 12 and up). Dancers are invited to join the team based on an observation process, which may be accomplished in class during the school year or summer and/or group or private auditions. As a member of the team, every dancer must: (i) attend scheduled choreography sessions, rehearsals, and all ‘mandatory’ (i.e., 4 regional and one national) competitions; (ii) enroll in and attend at least two ballet classes per week; (iii) enroll in the Summer Technique Program and attend at least 18 of the classes offered as well as two weeks of the summer Ballet Bootcamps; and (iv) comply with all studio and competition team policies.
Our team trains with professional dancers, educators, performers and choreographers every week during the school year -- at "home" in the studio. These professionals teach technique in class. Our philosophy is that class time should be exclusively dedicated to dance education — technique, combinations, improv, etc. Choreography and rehearsals are held as separate sessions (generally on weekends).
Our portfolio of dances is very diverse — including work by over twenty professional choreographers. DANJ’s professional choreography staff, together with choreographers from leading dance companies, university/conservatory programs and theater companies, choreograph original works featuring jazz (with pop, funk, musical theater influences), tap (with broadway/classic, rhythm/contemporary influences), lyrical, modern (with Limón, Horton and Release technique influences), contemporary, pointe, hip hop, musical theater and ballet/pointe (classical and contemporary). DANJ choreographers received the top choreography awards at American Dance Award’s nationals in 2015 and Hall of Fame in 2014 - events attended by some of North America’s top studios.
The Mini Team is for young dancers (generally ages 6 to 8) who are demonstrating a real interest in dance and the potential to benefit from additional training and performance opportunities.
Technical Training -- After taking preschool and/or combo classes, the next logical step in dance education is to begin focusing on individual styles of dance: ballet, tap, jazz and acro. Ballet provides the foundation and a vocabulary for all styles of dance; acro enhances flexibility and strength; and jazz and tap provide two rhythmic movement styles appropriate for young children. To facilitate this focus, we offer special technique classes for the minis in ballet, acro, jazz and tap. These classes are by invitation only – to help ensure that the children progress together and at a relatively accelerated rate - and have been bundled into sets of two 45-minute classes as follows:
Classes Required for all Mini Team Members:
- Mondays in Lake Hopatcong: 4:45 - 5:30: Tap; and 5:30 - 6:15: Jazz; AND…
One of the following sets of classes:
- Thursdays in Lake Hopatcong: 4:45 - 5:30 Ballet; and 5:30 - 6:15 Acro; OR..
- Saturdays in Sparta: 10:00 – 10:45 Ballet; and 10:45 - 11:30 Musical Theater
For clarification, Mini Team dancers are required to take the Monday Tap and Jazz classes in Lake Hopatcong and one or both of the Thursday Ballet and Acro classes in Lake Hopatcong and/or the Saturday Ballet and Musical Theater classes in Sparta. In addition to the Monday tap and jazz classes, Mini Team dancers may — optionally — enroll in Thursday and Saturday classes. Families interested in joining the mini team who have unresolvable conflicts with these class times should consult with the DANJ directors for possible work-arounds.
Performance and Competition -- In addition to developing technique, the children invited to the Mini Team are ready to begin learning more complex choreography as well as performance technique. These activities will improve their spatial awareness, appreciation for working as a team and self-confidence. The “Mini Team” is a "lite" competition environment. The children will learn two dance pieces – a tap piece and a jazz piece. The choreography and rehearsals for these two pieces will be part of the Jazz and Tap classes. Some additional rehearsals may be scheduled before the competitions. The competitions will be local, possibly exclusive to the Sussex/Morris county area, but in no case greater than one hour driving time.
Tuition & Fees - the following are the estimated Mini Team-specific costs for the 2015-16 school year:
Lake Hoptacong Studio