A lot of dance studios have finished up their competition season; plenty have competitions coming up soon. For those of you who are finished with competition season: did you win? For those of you headed to competition, are you hoping to win?
Mama wants a trophy. No doubt. And every studio can benefit from having a reputation for strong results at competition and a fun experience for the team.
But like, did you WIN? Are you happy with the results of the competition? Here’s the TutuTix take on how to win a dance competition.
How to Win a Dance Competition
- The dancers are the priority
- Everything else
All dance studio owners, competition teachers, and dance parents want the best for their dancers. At competition, that means that dancers (hopefully) walk into the competition with confidence, with beautiful costumes, with composure, and with enthusiasm to leave it all on the dance floor and represent their team well.
Walking out of competition, hopefully those same dancers have worked through the INEVITABLE issues that surprise you at competition, they’ve become more mature through great wins or tough losses, and they’ve kept a strong sense of self knowing that they’re doing what they love.
If you as a competition team have accomplished that, you’ve won, right?
We need to teach dancers that preparation before a big event is important. Not just so that their performance at competition is top-notch, but so they recognize that great results require you to put in the work beforehand.
That work doesn’t necessarily mean just practice time. Especially for older dancers, involving them in putting together a dance competition survival kit and other competition materials will help them to be more responsible and invested in their own preparation.
The Performance Experience
It’s important for dancers to see others compete, and to be able to recognize other great talent on the stage regardless of who ends up with what trophies. That’s not to say that teams should be watching every other dance, especially before they perform- the priority should be focusing and preparing for your own dance.
And part of that focus needs to be an understanding that you are going out onto the stage to be judged for your art. Though the context might be competition, the dance team on stage is leaving it all on the dance floor, expressing themselves in a medium that is meaningful and powerful for them.
So yes, you want great scores and great feedback from judges, but remember that judging at a competition is done by humans, and there will always be some subjective room for error.
Regardless of the judges’ scores, the goal for dancers needs to be taking scores with a grain of salt, comparing the scores with how they felt on stage, and remembering these two very important questions:
“Did you have fun? Was your performance a work of art?”
It’s not just about going through the motions and hoping for a good score- life doesn’t work that way, and we should hope that the lessons dancers learn on stage translate to the rest of their lives in a meaningful way.
After the Competition
Once you’re back home from competition, back in the studio and gearing up for spring recitals, how is your team feeling? Dancers might feel a lot of different ways: tired, determined, excited. It just depends on how their competition experience went.
For those teams who got great scores, great feedback, and are coming back buzzing with excitement: that’s amazing! Ride that wave of enthusiasm all the way through recital season.
For those teams who didn’t get the results they were expecting, or had some tougher-than-usual trouble at competition, never fear: there are plenty more opportunities to dance and improve on your technique for next time.
Regardless of your competition experience, make sure your dancers know that their efforts made a difference to you, and that you loved watching them dance! It means a lot to a dancer to know that their hard work paid off, and will help them work that much harder to put on their best recital performance yet.