"Miss Karen is a winner. Her video series provides a critical and humorous glimpse at the underbelly of dance competition culture. Peeling away the glamour, mascara, jazz hands and ambition, Miss Karen reveals teaching and learning realities that demand attention. Teaching to win requires learning to lose. Miss Karen helps us all to reflect on the highs and lows of dance competitions." Dr. Ralph Buck, Associate Professor of Dance Studies, University of Auckland
Stops short of parody. Miss Karen is a complex character and the film gets under the skin of not just her type, but the videographer, the students, the critic and circles all sides of the questions: what is dance? who is it for? what is the relationship of teacher to students?
Joan Schirle, Founding Artistic Director, Dell'Arte International
In It to Win! explained:
The web series, In It to Win! examines dance competition culture through autobiographical, ethnographic, and satirical lenses, primarily by the main character, “Miss Karen” who narrates competition stories, explains the multi-level inner workings of dance competitions, and describes the essential elements that lead to winning those competitions. Following the model of the “mockumentary,” which presents fictional events and characters in a documentary format, the web series reflects the brief (5 minute) mediated format in which the majority of the population actually encounters dance competitions. Situating Miss Karen in a both fictional and non-fictional context extrapolates and exaggerates the ideals of dance competitions in relation to other ways of thinking about dance. In It to Win! is a collaboration between myself, Jeff McMahon (Associate Professor of Theatre, Arizona State University) and Rebekah Cheyne (Senior Media Producer, Arizona State University).