Over the years when I have talked to other studio directors there have been some strong opinions about the pros and cons of entering students into competitions. There are a huge number of dance competitions out there and it is a big business for many competition owners. Some studio owners are just anti competition and others practically do nothing but go to competitions, so is there a happy medium? My advice to anyone who has asked me about competition and whether or not they should get involved has always been the same that they have to evaluate what their interests are and what benefits they feel that their students are going to derive from it and go from there. All studio owners have their own ideas of what they like and dislike about competitions and basically, at the end of the day, they need to do what feels right to them.

Over the years when I have talked to other studio directors there have been some strong opinions about the pros and cons of entering students into competitions. There are a huge number of dance competitions out there and it is a big business for many competition owners. Some studio owners are just anti competition and others practically do nothing but go to competitions, so is there a happy medium? My advice to anyone who has asked me about competition and whether or not they should get involved has always been the same that they have to evaluate what their interests are and what benefits they feel that their students are going to derive from it and go from there. All studio owners have their own ideas of what they like and dislike about competitions and basically, at the end of the day, they need to do what feels right to them.

Let’s go over some of the pros to entering your students into competitions.

1)          A great way to set goals and get students to achieve higher technical levels.

 

2)          Helps students learn to deal with pressure on stage.

 

3)          Teaches dancers to not only work for themselves but as a part of a team.

 

4)          Benefits studio owners because you can encourage and insist that student take more classes if they are going to be part of your competing group.

 

5)          Helps to build camaraderie amongst students.

 

6)          Builds self confidence which leads to better self esteem.

 

7)          Gives teachers, students and parents a chance to see what else is out there and perhaps appreciate more of what you have to offer.

 

8)          Can be a very good educational tool.

 

9)          Builds character and teaches students that if things don’t go too well that it is just one day in time and that they need to rebound quickly and move on.

 

10)          Gets the name of the studio out there so that more people know about you and what your standards are.

 

11)           Can be used in your community as a great marketing tool.

 

12)            Enables dancers and teachers to take workshops with different teachers.

 

Now let’s talk about the cons of entering your students into competition.

1)          Preparing for competitions can sometimes take away from training and class time

 

2)          Too much emphasis on one style of dance.

 

3)           Depending on which competitions you enter students and parents are sometimes given a false sense of the dancers true ability when everyone is awarded a gold or platinum trophy.

 

4)          Can be extremely expensive for the studio owner and the parents

 

5)          Sometimes promotes negative competitiveness amongst students and parents.

 

6)          Working more on flash and dash instead of technique and

        artistry.

 

7)          Can give students and parents a false sense of reality as to what is important for a dancer’s future because generally in the real world very few companies or shows care if you have won a title or a platinum award, they want to know that you have the technique and performing skills to make their company or show look better.

 

8)           Students who are not part of the competing group sometimes feel neglected andunimportant and that can cause problems with their parents.

 

9)          With the exception of ballet competitions very little if any reward is given for ballet pieces which is detrimental to the mantra that so many of us preach, that is, the importance of taking ballet.

 

I’m sure that there are more pros and cons to entering your students into competitions that I perhaps, have not thought of. Ballet competitions can have prestigious awards that may carry weight with ballet companies but otherwise dancers are not generally asked at auditions what awards they have won. We have always liked to use competitions as a way to improve the standard of our dancers and to give them more performing experience. We choose to only enter a very few solos and more group numbers because we know that in dance the most important thing a dancer needs to know is how to work in an ensemble.

Our way may not be your way, we are all individuals. The most important question that you need to ask yourself is, 'Are my students going to benefit from entering any competitions?' and then, 'Am I going to benefit from entering my students into competitions?' If the answer to both is yes then go for it. You may choose to do only a couple of competitions each year or decide that’s all you want to do. The only advice that I will give is make sure that your students continue to learn and improve their technique and that you feel that the pros outweigh the cons.