Jacqueline Baligian












What makes a performance stand out for you?

I love when I can see someone truly enjoying themselves up onstage. The more fun you have up there, the more the audience is going to have fun watching you.

What takes a group performance to the next level for you?

When the dancer/dancers are so well connected to their storyline/emotion/performance that they suck you in as an audience member and take you on that journey with them. 

What qualities do you specifically look for in performances?

I look for authenticity. For focus. It drives me a little bonkers when dancers break “character” onstage and giggle if a prop falls or if they make a face if they don’t nail their pirouettes. That tells me that they were just “faking” the performance. If a dancer is truly dancing with heartfelt and genuine emotion, nothing should cause them to waiver in the performance.

Is there any special tips you would give to first time contestants?

Honestly just try to enjoy the moment because there will never be a first time again. Breathe, have fun, make friends, cheer others on, and walk away learning as much as you can. Remember where you are now, so that next year, you’ll see how far you’ve come. 

What are you looking for specifically in duo/trio/group routines?

I love precision. For me, if a routine is well rehearsed and well performed, I’m a happy judge. I also look for really interesting concepts and storylines. I love watching a routine and thinking “ooooh I wish i had thought of that” love, love, love originality. 

What should every dancer be thinking or remember every time their performing?

To be proud that they have the courage to be up onstage making themselves vulnerable for all of us to see. Please appreciate your hard work and efforts and know that that one moment onstage will not define you for the rest of your life. So whatever happens, just enjoy the moment. 

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