Bye, Bye World, Or Will Our Hope Still Hold On?

I’ve gotten a lot of update emails this week from various competitions. Some of them I got updates from because I’ve been to those competitions in the past, a few of them I have no idea why I’m on their mailing lists… I’ve never been to those events, and I don’t know the organizers, plus I’m not the type to sign up for mailing lists, so how they got my email address is a mystery to me. If the emails weren’t vaguely interesting to me because of what I am writing right now, I would have deleted them without even opening, possibly even flagged them as spam, but because of this post I ended up looking at them a little.

The updates I’ve gotten this week are about 50/50 on whether the competitions are still going on. Several events have now confirmed that they are officially cancelling their competition for the rest of the year with the hope that they can come back and run the competition again at their normal dates in 2021. Several more, based on these latest updates, are still planning on holding their competitions later this year. The soonest one that still plans to go forward that I got an update from is a Pro/Am event that is about a month out from today, happening in a state far to the north of where I live. The others still on track to go forward are all planned for September or later.

There are just a few competitions that have said that they still haven’t made a final decision about whether they are still happening in 2020 or not. One of those is a competition in my state that normally happens in October. They sent everyone an email saying that they are waiting until sometime in early August, holding out just in case our governor makes any changes to our reopening plans (those plans have already been changed a few times) before making their final decision, and will let everyone on their mailing list know once that decision is made.

Of course, a couple of the competitions that say they are still planning on happening in 2020 are in states where things are… not looking too good. With their infection rates looking more on the out-of-control side of the equation, who’s to say that any competitors will actually sign up to attend those competitions? It might be an alluring prospect if you already live in that state. I mean, if you’re already there, dancing in the event might not increase your risk of infection all that much, right? But if you live in a state that isn’t so bad, is traveling to a state that is riskier than yours really worth it to dance?

I’m sure some people will go. After all, I know that there is a contingent of people who are long-time members of the dance community around me that are actually traveling out-of-state almost every weekend to go out dancing in a state just to the south of mine. That state still allows dance studios to hold social parties, while my state does not. Dancers willing to go to that length to dance during a pandemic are obviously super serious. If these people were also competitors (they are not), I imagine they would be the type to sign up for a competition as soon as one is available. I feel a mix of admiration for the lengths they are willing to go through to fill their dance needs, and also bewilderment at the fact that they are willing to put their bodies at risk like they are.

Note: Based on the address I could find, the studio they go to that holds these parties is a two-hour drive from my house. That gives you an idea of how much driving there and back on a Friday night is a real commitment to undertake for dancing. Even if you opted to get a hotel that night and drive back on Saturday morning, that’s still a lot of windshield time to go through for a dance party.

One of the more interesting updates that I got from a competition this week was actually from the competition that I had been helping out with earlier this year. Ever since the organizers decided to postpone the event all those months ago, I haven’t heard anything from them. I didn’t expect to, since there isn’t much that I could help with while the event was postponed. Well, they sent out one of the update emails that I got saying that they had decided to cancel the competition for 2020, and hoped to see all the competitors come back when the event returned in 2021. I guess this was my official notification that I don’t have any more volunteer work to worry about for the rest of this year?

What made this notification that the organizers sent out interesting to me was the blurb they put at the end of the notice. Since the competition was so close to actually happening when the initial shutdown orders were issued, we had lots of competitors sign up and pay their fees already when the event had to be shuttered unexpectedly. The initial notice about the postponement that was sent out months ago said that any competitors could ask for a refund if desired, but otherwise the organizers would just hold on to their payments and registration for the time when the competition was rescheduled. At the time when this went out, that sounded like a reasonable thing to do.

Now that the competition is officially cancelled for 2020, the organizers asked in the notice they sent everyone if any of the competitors who have already paid would be willing to donate their entry fees to the competition rather than have them refunded. There were a lot of financial outlays that had been made in the run-up to the original date of the competition, and even though the event had to be shut down due to completely unforeseen circumstances, the organizers were not able to recoup all of those financial outlays. Now they are asking for help to cover those costs. I suspect that some of the competitors will be willing to donate their entry fees to help out, but without knowing how much money the organizers are in the hole, I can’t even begin to estimate whether that will cover the debt they have incurred by having to cancel the competition.

The other thing I just can’t figure out is what they spent money on that they weren’t able to get refunded. I know that when the original postponing happened, they were fairly confident that the terms of the contract with the venues would allow them to cancel because of a pandemic and get a full refund. There were some airline tickets that had to be cancelled for the judges they were planning to fly in for the event, but those should have been able to be refunded as well. Those two items were the major expenses that I know the organizers had already paid into at the time the original postponement occurred.

I can’t really think of what else they had already spent money on that would have been a loss for them. Other things they bought can be kept and used the next time the competition happens, so those shouldn’t be counted as a financial loss. For example, the ribbons and medals for the winners – I know they weren’t planning on getting ribbons or medals with the dates on them, so one of the organizers can just put them in their closet and use them again next time easily enough. If they spent a bunch of money that they are looking for donations to cover, I would be really interested in seeing the expense reports for this event to know what they spent it all on. I doubt I will ever get to, but right now it seems intriguing.


Anyway, that’s the dance stuff I’ve been thinking about this week. How about you? Anything interesting happening in the world of dance where you live?

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