October 17, 2017
An Interview with Phil Fabry
Show | Tour | Event Manager
Spotlight Dance Cup
2016 Industry Excellence Award Winner
First in a series about what actually goes on backstage at dance competitions, from The ADCC Member Competition experts who run them. Originally appeared in The Competitive Advantage, September 2017.
Q: What does a show director do?
A show director is a very important role. Just like the job title, the show director is basically making sure the show is running smoothly. At Spotlight Dance Cup this means many things: Making sure the judges are prepared and giving great critiques/awards, making sure the show is running on a timely basis, and most of all, taking care of the many clients, including their dressing rooms, the needs of dancers/families, and making sure their overall dance competition is a great one. At Spotlight, the show director is also in charge of giving away all of the amazing awards to the dancers. This means that we are trained in our computer system and able to create all of the reports for the awards. We are up there, entertaining the audience, as well as making sure the dancers feel accomplished and appreciated for all of the hard work they have put into their performances. And this all being done in a timely manner, as to keep on schedule and the day going smoothly.
Q: What is your training for this job?
There is a lot of training that goes into this job. First and foremost, knowing the computer system is very important. There is a lot that goes into an awards presentation at Spotlight, so we have to make sure that all of the award reports are created for each individual awards ceremony, which can be up to 8 on a given weekend. A show director also has to be aware of the judging system, and how that works. We have to be able to train the judges as well as make sure they are using the system appropriately. We also have to train in presenting an awards ceremony. Being a musical theater performer has helped me a lot with this. You are basically entertaining the crowd, while giving away a bunch of fabulous awards. You have to be personable, energetic, and well me… I like to be a bit sassy! You want the performers, as well as all of the audience members/directors/family/friends to feel like they were just at a show. It takes a ton of energy but is so much fun to do.
Q: How did you become a show director for Spotlight?
I first started out as a judge at Spotlight. I loved sharing my knowledge with dancers and performers alike. As a judge, we were asked to give away Judge’s Choice awards, which meant getting on the microphone and speaking. Since performing has always been part of my career, I enjoyed that aspect of judging the most. I realized, in doing these award ceremonies, that I would enjoy being the show director. Being up there, having fun, making the audience laugh, as well as making the performers feel good about what they had accomplished, seemed very enjoyable to me. Michelle, the CEO/Owner of Spotlight, saw something in me, and believed that I would be a great show director. The first few years I did both jobs, show director and judge. And now I’m going on my 9th season and still absolutely love what I do for Spotlight.
Q: What inspires you?
When I see a great choreographed piece, where the performers are invested in the number, and shine on the stage. I’m inspired by those who are focused and dedicated to their work, and love what they do. I’m inspired by a young dancer, who doesn’t even realize how absolutely fantastic they are. I’m inspired by Spotlight and their knowledge of what constitutes a great dance competition, and how to make that happen. I’m inspired by a microphone. That may sound weird, but to me, one is given a microphone because they NEED to be heard, and have a job to do. And I take my job very seriously. So when that microphone is in my hand, I’m inspired to be entertaining to the audience, and help them have a great time. I’m inspired by the countless emails / texts / Instagram / Snapchat messages I receive from parents and students, thanking me for caring about them, and helping them to feel successful.
Phil Fabry joined Spotlight in 2009. As a senior member of the staff, Phil maintains roles as an Event Manager, Show Director, Judge, Performer, Representative, Trainer and Advisor. Phil is a 1990 graduate of Millikin University, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre/Dance Performance, with a minor in Voice and Piano. He has toured the world, performing in over 400 cities, 49 states, Manila, Singapore, and Korea. He is also the owner and director of Steps Performing Arts Center in Lindenhurst, Illinois where he educates and instructs the next generation of performing arts students.