Exploring Production Circuits through a Backstage Investigation of Competitive Dance in Ontario

  • Nicole E. M. Marrello York University


Dance competitions provide a unique popular culture environment, in that they revolve around children and their families. This cultural event has witnessed an increase in media attention via television shows such as So You Think You Can Dance and Dance Moms becoming more visible to non-participants. Dance competitions, which are private businesses, are dependent on private sector dance schools for contestants. Subsequently, dance studios (which are also independent businesses) are dependent on parents and their children for enrolment. This paper will provide a behind the scenes look at each participant of competitive dance as they experience a typical competition weekend. It will investigate the creation of a competitive dance production circuit, the “capital gains” achieved by each of its participants, and the marketing strategies employed within an event that is ultimately designed as a pleasure activity for children. 

Author Biography

Nicole E. M. Marrello, York University

Nicole Marrello is a doctoral candidate in dance studies at York University. Drawing on her past experiences as both dance school owner and current teacher within GTA dance schools, her research deals with the exploration of the social and economic history of dance competition in Southern Ontario.