Dance competition season has its perks, but it’s also quite demanding! As ready as you may be to stop thinking about competition until next year, you’ll be better prepared next time competition season rolls around if you take a little time now to evaluate this season and do a little pre-planning for next year. You’ll want to elicit thoughts from others, too: dance instructors, dancers, and even parents. By recording what worked well and what could use some tweaking, you’ll be well on your way to starting next competition season off on the right foot.
As harried as the competition week may be, sometimes the weeks leading up to dance competitions can prove even more stressful for your dancers. How did they feel about the preparation period? Would they have benefited from more down time, or was the schedule just enough to offer appropriate amounts of practice without neglecting healthy habits like getting enough sleep and enjoyable lifestyle elements like nurturing friendships? Sometimes it’s truly better to have a little time for refreshment than to run through a piece just one more time.
Communication and Interaction
Did your dance instructors adjust their plans based on their dancers’ needs, or did they misread signs of unpreparedness as being overworked — or maybe vice versa? How did they perceive any pre-performance pep talks? Did they feel added pressure as a result, or did instructors effectively create enthusiasm and inspiration? Did those newbies feel lost or like they knew what was going on? The point here isn’t to shame anyone but to learn from past experience and plan for any needed changes.
Delegation and Participation
Whatever your typical tendencies may be, they probably surfaced in the midst of the stressful competition season. Perhaps you tend to allow communication to shut down when you’re in the thick of it, or take on too much of the responsibility yourself, instead of enlisting help from your well-trained team. Was the team well prepared and having fun, or did someone drop the ball? Record now the ways you can better delegate or prioritize tasks for next season so you don’t make the same mistakes again.
Now let’s turn to the organizational elements of the competition. How did that go? From paperwork and travel arrangements to costumes and snacks, how did everything come together? Consider how well-informed parents were about how to pack and find out what you can do to make next year go more smoothly.
Dance competitions can bring out the best and worst in people. While we don’t necessarily see that as a reason to avoid them altogether, we’d all be amiss if we ignored any ugly issues brought out by these high-emotion events. How did your dancers respond to the competition and one another? If they won, did they do so with grace? If they lost, did they respond in a respectable way? Make sure to follow-up on any remarkably mature or less-than-ideal responses that you saw.
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