Competition Step 1;The Judges

It is competition season and everyone has their schedules on their phones, costumes steamed and bagged, new and extra tights, shoes polished, and make up and hair plans all ready to go.  The kids are excited and the parents are stressed.  You can prepare as much as you want, but at the end of the day, the judges have the last word.

What are those judges looking for anyway?

Often as parents, we see our children pour their heart and sole out on stage and we think, that's it, they did amazing and will score very high.  We watch each and every dance and compare them to our children.  They all come out on stage looking so grown up and professional and we are proud.  The audience and the dancers are all patiently waiting while they intently watch for the judge to move towards the stage.  It seems an eternity.  Finally, they gather their papers and get up and walk towards us.  We are sure we did amazing and can hardly wait for the judge to announce it.  Each group is addressed by the judge as they eloquently remark on this and that and give their standing.  It is our turn, we are sure High Gold will come out of the ashes of the remarks and they respond, wait for it, Silver.  We smile bravely, but are secretly disappointed cause we deserved more.  Parents, supportively respond with cheers but instantly thoughts go through their minds . What did that judge miss?  Our kids did amazing.

I have to admit, I have thought the same way, but try to put on a brave face and not engage in this type of conversation.  What did they say, I think?   Once the kids have left and we have calmed the waters, I run to the back and grab the papers.  Typically the teacher is thinking the same thing.  And . . . there it is, the comments.

Here's the thing, we have watched our students from the first time they started to learn their dance and we have watched them improve week after week.  Because we know where they came from and where they are today, we almost believe they should be HIGH GOLD, each and every time.  But, the truth is, these judges have only seen this dance this first time.  They are looking for many things as a necessary element to grow as a dancer and artist.  While we are engaged in the entertainment element, judges are looking much deeper.

Each judge will put a percentage of importance or tie their ideas to possibly some or all of the list enclosed.  As an artist, it is important to know, that we all strive to achieve and accomplish these things, but everyone is still learning and you really never know what or where to place a major part of your focus.  It is also important to note that depending on your age, you will be able to do this list of 7, but if you are just starting out, you could realistically only accomplish a few.  At any rate, the judges want you to strive for excellence in whatever level you are presently training in and to know that their opinion is just that, an opinion.  Strive for your individual excellence and you are a High Gold.


  1. An attempt at artistry
  2. A story, not just steps, heart is art concept.
  3. A concept, not just a song
  4. Costumes that develop the theme
  5. A difficulty factor that best displays the strengths of the dancers
  6. Appropriate lyrics, costumes and movement
  7. A dancer on the path to Technical Excellence




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