Archive for May, 2011

Thoughts on Dance Competitions

May 7, 2011

Last week end I attended my second dance competition event. Although I choreographed a pointe solo this year, I had no idea of what to expect at the competitions. When I studied dance as a child, the dance school that I attended did not participate in competitions. We performed many times throughout the dance school year, but it was in full-length ballet performances (Nutcracker, Swan Lake, etc.). I was exposed to the performance aspect but not the world of competing in dance.

I believe that the competitions are a valuable experience for the dancers. It gives them an opportunity to perform and to see other schools perform.  The performances are taped and the judges give feedback during the performance. This provides another point of view on the performance. Sometimes the competition judges focus on different technique pointers than the teacher sees and sometimes they mention corrections that the teacher pointed out to the student during rehearsals.  What a great way to reinforce the teacher’s advice.

However, I’m not sure what to think about the individual medals (each dancer gets a medal based on their performance score).  If the student gets a low score for the performance, does it motivate them or does it just make them feel terrible about their dancing ability? They work very hard throughout the year, and then don’t get recognized for it. That leaves it to the studio teachers to encourage the students and make it a positive experience.

Our nation is used to the competitive spirit and the dance world is no foreigner to this. There are many high profile dance competitions such as the Youth America Grand Prix and the popular TV show So You Think You Can Dance. Exposing the students to competitions can be a positive experience as long as they enjoy the performing part and learn from the experience.

Sometimes it’s nice to just view dance as art, though.