Does competition dancing really train a dancer?
After teaching a class to a room full of young dancers, a parent told me that class room dancing is not where you get "actual" training. Okaaaay? She clarified.
While at a competition, the parent said there was a dance agent giving a seminar, telling students "You get more training at dance competition conventions than in school" I asked the parent if she was serious. I couldn't believe an actual DANCE AGENT would say that. She assured me they did say that. She brought over another parent who confirmed this. "I'm really frustrated by this, as I've just seen my son grow in your ONE CLASS, than the whole weekend at competiton.
I will never understand how someone could make that statement, other than to say that being around a lot of kids in one space can be challenging and motivate you. It's fun to see different routines onstage and take classes with other dance studios kids.
I will say that there are some teachers out on dance conventions that will actually give students meaningful insights and proper corrections. But from what I've been told, its rare.
Competing is great to find out how you're doing, only if you're there to take the criticism and guidance from experienced judges. If you're gaging your competency based off who got top score, without the guidance of your teacher telling why that dancer won, you're in for a world full of hurt.
There are so many variables to competition dancing:
- What that specific competition stands for.
- Who the judges are.
- What the prizes are.
- How many dancers are competing per category.
- How many studios are there.
- And to be honest. How many times a studio comes to that convention.
It's one of the many things I miss about LADF dance convention. I knew the students in class would be the ones going onstage later that evening. I made sure to tell them we want nothing but your best for that day on stage. Nothing about yesterday or tomorrow matters. I was surrounded my like minded judges. We took our job VERY seriously. We know we were affecting young kids hearts. If I saw a dancer crying because they didn't get the mark they wanted. I'd go over and tell them why. As did other judges on our faculty. But at the end of the day, we'd tell those students. "Go back and listen to your teacher when she tells you what you need to work on, and work on it." That's where you get your training. IN CLASS.
So, to summarize. By all means, go dance at competition and have fun.
But. Do. Not. Sacrifice. Class. For. Competition.