With everyone competition, your teacher is one of the most important people in your journey.

They will organize and choreograph pieces that they feel best suits you and suits your abilities.

I asked my teachers to list 10 top things that they wish their students knew about the competition world and they came up with some awesome items.

  1. We don't care about your mark.  Teachers should not focus on marks.  One adjudicator may judge your dance piece with an 85 and then another might judge your piece with an 80.  Which one is right?  Which one is wrong?  If we focus on the marks we will find that we may have a difficult time being able to judge what we learned and what we can improve on, therefore, looking solely on marks is not ideal.  A good teacher wants you to improve your technique and performance quality each and every time.
  2. Performance quality is just as important as technique.  Yes the judges will judge you hard on technique.  Why is this so?  Because to become a better dancer and to grow you have to develop this technique.  But it isn't the only thing the judges notice.  They want your piece to be meaningful and they want to see that you understand the story you are trying to tell.  Performance Quality therefore should never be overlooked.
  3. Be more open to communicate outside of your own studio.  Yes kids, reach out to other dancers and other schools.  You are all in this together and you all are doing it for the same reasons.  Comment on something you like from another student.  If you like their costume, then say something.  If you thought they laid down a great performance, then say so.
  4. Be Positive.  Miss Brogan talked about how important positivity is in your dance journey.  If you feel good on the inside, you are going to look good on the outside.
  5. Don't whine.  Trust me when I say, we are just as tired as you are, and maybe more.  We want you to just get it done without complaining about how tired you are.  It will fall on deaf ears and the more times you say it, the more tired you will become.  Just push your fatigue to the back and stay focused on what you are trying to do.  Change up your routine if you have to.  Go to bed earlier.  Make sure you have snacks.
  6. Listen to all the adjudications.  Even if you are not in the category that is being judged, as you will educate yourself on what the adjudicator is looking for.  Are they looking for that extra jump in your step?  How important do they regard energy?  How technical are they judging the other students?  You can learn a lot by listening to other people.
  7. Each event is a growing and educational opportunity meant to improve.  There are times when you have a piece that doesn't resonate with the judge.  All you can do is dance better and think of everything your dance is offering.  But, sometimes they will give you something that you haven't heard from your teacher, or they may say something that your teacher has said over and over again.  Their job isn't just to tell you how amazing you are, they are their to help you improve your dance.  Think of every word as that opportunity to grow and think of it as a gift to you so you can get better.
  8. This is one person's opinion.  Take every adjudication as an opinion.  They have seen your dance one time, while you have seen it dozens of times.  Take in their opinion and decide if it is relevant or not.
  9. Rehearsing is an opportunity to do better.  Rehearse how you want your dance to look.  If you constantly rehearse with very little performance quality or energy, do you really think you will perform it bigger and better?  Rehearsing your piece is so important for a good quality performance.
  10. Have fun.  At the end of the day, dance is fun.  If it isn't fun, then you shouldn't do it.  At least to the point where you perform in front of an adjudicator that you don't care what they say or what you should improve on.  And, if you are not willing to improve, then definitely don't do competitive dance.

Well . . . that's what they want you to know.

What do you want them to know?  Please email me your top 10 lists of what is important for your teacher to know about you to stgwrks@gmail.com.

Written by Darla Lemay, Artistic Director for Stageworks Academy of the Performing Arts.

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