Recreation or Competition

I am so thrilled to write my very first blog for Stageworks.  As a dance professional for the last 26 years, I have seen many different changes in trends and the expectation from children and their parents.

The dance world is forever changing.  If you are going to give the very best training to your students you have to tweak your programs constantly.  These changes mean that your faculty have to always be one step ahead and commit to lifelong learning themselves.  It also means that parents are required to be trained on the changes and how it would affect their child/children. As an administrator it can be a very slippery slope if not prepared for evolving.

The first question most people have is what does it mean to be recreational and what what does it mean to be competitive?

What it means to children is that . . .

Recreation = I love Dance           Competition = I have to Dance

These two camps really determine whether a student should dance recreationally or whether a student should dance competitively.

The Recreational Dancer is the student who loves to dance.  They find so much joy in dancing and love to move to the music.  They look forward to dance class, but are okay if they have to miss it to go to a party or do a school function.  They want the freedom to be able to come and go as they wish and are focussed on having fun.

The Competitive Dancer is the student who has to dance.  Dance is thee most important thing in their life. They too love to move to the music and also look forward to dance, but they also practice at home and are excited to learn more and more.  They crave to be better and like the challenge of accomplishing technical aspects of dance. They also strive for perfection and can’t wait to perform for an adjudicator. They want to get better and sacrifice many things to dance competitively.  These students have high expectations for themselves and those around them.

Which camp do you belong?  As a parent of a dancer, it is really important to recognize these two options for your child.  Lots of dancers want to dance competitively without really knowing what they have to sacrifice. It takes years of high calibre training to develop a competitive dancer.  The work that the school puts into your child’s training has the same expectation that the student has to put into training. These skills however are learned if the passion is appropriately lined up.

Do recreational dancers learn?  Absolutely!

Depending on the school you decide to entrust to your child’s dance education will determine the type of training you can expect.  It is acceptable to expect appropriate technical training.

Stageworks offers the exact training for our recreational dancers as we do our competitive dancers.  The difference is work ethic, passion and work from home. Recreation dancers are NOT second class students.  We embrace their love of dance and take that role extremely serious.

Hmmmmm, so now that you know the type of training you want to receive, what should you do?

Let your child dictate how they are going to train.  They will work closely with their team of teachers and will decide to which level they wish to dance.  They will either practice at home or they won’t. I feel as a parent, our role is to support them in whichever camp they wish to be in.  I feel that we do what our teachers ask of our children and we support our teachers. They are the professionals and tend to know more about dance then we do.  It is counterproductive to coach our children in an opposite direction that a teacher wants us to go. Your child will never progress as the distrust that we have for the teacher is felt and often reciprocated from your child.  

In the end, it takes a small village to develop a dancer.  Your child’s success is determined through the hard work of a team that includes educators, teachers, dancers, and parents.  Ask those questions of them and if it doesn’t feel right, question more. Whether your chid wishes to dance recreationally or competitively, he/she deserves the very best training and team available.

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