In the realm of dance instruction, there are two different primary schools of thought when it comes to the topic of dance competitions. Some instructors, parents, and students are enthusiastic supporters of competitive dance. Others are adamantly against the practice. So who’s right and who’s wrong?
There’s no simple answer to that question. Many people involved in the world of dance have mixed feelings about whether or not dance should be competitive, at what skill level those competitions should be engaged in, and how often young dancers ought to compete.
In this series of articles, we’ll take a look at some of the pros and cons of both the competition proponent and the competition abstention positions. Our goal here will be to strive for a fair and balanced presentation of both sides.
Gathering information about the advantages and disadvantages of competition can hopefully help you to be better prepared to make the choice that’s right for your family’s dance students. Or, if you’re an instructor, it can help you to assess your own aims for teaching your students. Looking at both sides can help you to choose which instruction model best lines up with your personal dance education philosophy.
Whether or Not a School Engages in Competition Can Reveal Their Emphasis
Dance instructors only have a limited amount of time with their students. When choosing whether or not to engage in competitions, that decision will in large part be based on what the school’s management and instructors decide to emphasize. If a school wants to be best known for focusing on individual development and technique or if they want to best known for producing competitively successful dancers, this emphasis may make a big difference in whether or not or how often they engage in student dance competitions.
Advantages of Competitive Dance
First, let’s take a look at some of the pros of students receiving instruction at a school that participates in dance competitions.
Developing Positive Peer Relationships
One of the main advantages to consider is the sense of camaraderie that these competitions can provide. Young dancers can grow excited at being part of a group that’s competing together. They can develop close friendships with the other dancers in their classes while preparing for competitions. When they win, they can rejoice together, and when they lose, they can console each other. It really can create a special bond for dance students to get involved in a dance competition with their classmates.
Developing Drive and Determination
Having competition as a goal to strive toward can cause a dancer to become more passionate about mastering their techniques. If a student struggles with laziness or distraction, an upcoming competition can help them to realize that they need to get serious and down to business. Classmates can strive to work together more if they have a common goal of doing their best to excel in competition.
As you can see, there are some compelling reasons to consider including competition in dance instruction. In our next article, we’ll take a look at even more advantages that dance competition has to offer. Then we’ll turn our attention to the opposite side of the argument and look at some of the cons associated with competitive dance.