Rising to a New Level – REVEL Dance Convention & Competition Continues to Inspire!
With a company goal to ensure “all dancers will feel seen and come away with more knowledge and a deeper love for their craft,” REVEL continues to super-engage dancers, dance families and studios, creating new opportunities and nurturing dreams at every turn! With the uncertainties brought forth by the unprecedented events in 2020, REVEL turned challenges into opportunities. Never missing a beat, the company launched REV-VIRTUAL, their first online convention in March with resounding support. Learn more about REVEL’s mission and motivation in this in-depth feature with REVEL Co Owner & General Manager Christian Clark, including their devotion to safety and drive to reconnect in-person with their dancers once again to create unforgettable experiences.
What type of feedback did you first receive from studios, dancers, parents, etc., when you went full force into virtual weekends and events? Was there any hesitation and speculation? Full support? Etc? The response from the dance community was overwhelmingly positive and supportive of our virtual events. The appetite only grew as studios quickly began to adopt virtual platforms and curriculum for their customers. There were a small number of voices that were unsure about the virtual convention model, but most quickly came around and gave it a try. Many other companies also began offering virtual events – it was great to see the industry rally to keep dancers doing what they love.
Is your tech knowledge on a whole new REVEL LEVEL?! Or did you find this “virtual” experience to come natural for you and your team? Love that term! We have always been a technology-driven company. Having only started REVEL five years ago, we’ve been able to grow our business using the latest in technology. Adding a virtual component came naturally to our team which I think is the main reason we were first-to-market with an online event. Beyond the technology, I truly must acknowledge and commend our Faculty. Their ability to adapt and teach in this new format is what truly made the experience work. Having all the technology in the world is no replacement for the ability to still connect and inspire on a screen.
Would you agree that, as an industry, our eyes have been opened to a new world of possibilities in the convention and competition world? How has it affected you and your staff looking ahead to future seasons? We believe there is no replacement to the in-person experience and training a dancer receives while attending our convention. However, one of the most eye-opening realizations that came out of this pandemic is that technology and virtual platforms can give dancers across the globe an opportunity to participate in our events. So, in a strange twist, being forced to distance and isolate has actually created a broader connection between dancers and events across the world. As we look to the future, I think we will see a continued path for virtual experiences, either as a supplement to the regular calendar and/or summer events when studios are on break.
Summer 2020 is a summer we will never forget! REVEL has also been able to host in-person events. Tell us about how you prepared as a company to stay safe and enforce proper protocols. This summer, REVEL was fortunate enough to hold two of our postponed spring events. Both were in areas of the country that permitted us to host a gathering. While these events were vastly different in terms of format, size and safety protocols, the gratitude and joy experienced was unlike anything we have ever witnessed. Safety and comfort were obviously the most important factors in planning these events. Some of these measures included (1) social distancing signage; (2) plexiglass shields at all kiosks; (3) a revamped check-in where dancers individually pick-up their audition numbers/bands at their first class (instead of gathering in a group); (4) temperature checks at each ballroom entrance; (5) elimination of observers; (6) taped floor grid lines in the classes and social distancing markers for dance bags around the perimeter; (7) staggered start/dismissal times for classes; (8) face coverings in classes and common areas; (9) and a block-style competition where each studio has their own dressing room, a limited audience and livestream awards for friends and family to watch. The venues also stepped up the frequency of cleaning surfaces and high touch areas. We were incredibly proud that all our attendees followed these measures to keep each other safe. We took the time to create a safety video showing each of these measures which is available on our website at dancerevel.com.
Seeing the faces of studio owners, dancers and parents again must have been an incredible experience. What made those reunions and (safe) gatherings so memorable this time around? The memory of joy in everyone’s eyes is what will stick with our team the most. We cannot really attach words to the feeling that each of us shared during these two events. In some respects, it seemed surreal to be back, but it mostly just felt right. Make sure to watch the video embedded at the bottom of this article to see the joy and love at our August Nationals!
For your upcoming “Ready, Set, Go Tour” you have provided incredible options for your customers so that they feel comfortable. Tell us more about this… We are pumped for our “Ready Set Go Tour” and the theme could not be more fitting given the time we’ve all spent apart. We recognize that each studio will have varying levels of comfort as to whether or not to attend events in person. Therefore, we’ve created options where all or some of the studio can virtually take convention classes if they’re not comfortable participating onsite. We even have an option to send a professional videographer to the studio and film competition pieces to submit virtually which will be streamed and judged alongside the in-person performances. Without sacrificing the experience, our goal is to offer a multitude of options that fit varying levels of comfort within the studio, as well as comply with any guidelines that REVEL may encounter in each state.
What’s the most important message you can convey to studios as they begin to plan their convention and competition calendars in these unprecedented times? I think the most important message I can share is to focus on events that have well-documented (and ideally already executed) safety plans in place. From there, hopefully any event has multiple options in place to account for the unknown. Look for events with lots of published information online that you can share with families so everyone knows the safety measures and options should plans be forced to change.
In one sentence, tell us what makes the REVEL experience unforgettable! REVEL is a caring, inspirational, and diverse space of learning and a celebration of dance!