There are two schools of thought when it comes to dance competitions. Love them or hate them. They definitely have a lot of positives – here are just seven.
#1. They give you stage experience.
Dealing with nerves, bright lights, having to recover quickly when stumbling or having a mental blank… Dancing on stage is a whole other ball game to practicing in the studio. The more experience you can get on a stage, the better.
#2. They teach you grace.
I’m not talking about physical grace here. While we’d all like to win, the reality is that the dance world is tough – and getting tougher, and nine times out of 10 you might not place. Comps force you to practice gracefully accepting rejection and criticism, which, frankly, you’re likely to encounter a lot of in your dance career. Of course, it’s also important to be a gracious winner.
#3. They expose you to other influences.
It’s easy to get caught up in your own world, especially if you spend half your life in the dance studio. Going to competitions exposes you to the work that different dancers and teachers are doing in other schools, which can be fantastic for accelerating your learning.
#4. They are a great way to meet people.
Competitions don’t have to be competitive in a negative way – it is possible to go in with an open mind and a smile, ready to make friends and develop your social skills. I recently adjudicated a competition where a young dancer’s tap shoe broke right before she was due to go on stage. Another dancer whom she was competing against, from a completely different school, offered her own tap shoes to the girl. This is the spirit that can make competitions great.
#5. They teach you teamwork.
Everyone knows how difficult it can be to perfect a troupe with dancers missing – and how awesome it is when everybody puts in 100%. Troupes are an ideal tool for strengthening team work and team spirit – which are both things that are crucial in professional dance companies, just about any other career path, and every day life.
#6. They drive your standards up.
Dance competitions push you out of your comfort zone, encouraging you to work harder, striving for better technique and more polished performances.
#7. They challenge you to perfect your routine.
Winning trophies is fun, but it’s not all that competitions are about. The hours of practice and mental focus that go into really honing a solo or group number will stand you in good steed for a professional career.
By Rain Francis of Dance Informa.
Photo (top): Naomi Sano wins Robert & Elizabeth Junior Classical Ballet Scholarship at Sydney Eisteddfod 2014. Photo by WinkiPop Media.