Dedicated dance instructors want their students to experience the highest quality education possible in the art of dance. How exactly to go about achieving that goal varies from instructor to instructor. Whether or not to engage students in competitions, how often they should compete, and at what level they should begin competition are all matters of controversy (see Parts 1 & 2). In this article, we’ll consider a few more of the reasons to forgo student involvement in dance competitions.
Competition can Become an Unhealthy Focus
At some point, too much emphasis on competition can take away from a student’s passion for mastering the art of dance. A desire for students to win can even become all-consuming for an instructor. Entire schools can even get away from their goal of patient instruction of students at all levels of ability and instead become all about accumulating trophies to show off in their display cases. As a result, star students receive undue amounts of the instructors’ time while less gifted students are relegated to the shadows. In a non-competing school, all of that quest for glory and bragging rights is set aside in favor of exceptional instruction for all students.
Competition can Become a Financial Drain
Paying entry fees to get into various competitions can become expensive for both parents and studios. So can the constant need to buy costly competition costumes. In contrast, a student who chooses a school that doesn’t engage in competition can end up with as just as good of a dance education or better than if they went to a prestigious competitive school without all of that extra expense.
Competition can be Time Consuming
Studios that are heavily involved in competitive dance often spend much of their class time preparing students for the next competition. Instead of going through new techniques and fresh routines, students are required to drill the same routines over and over again. Then time is taken to travel back and forth to the competitions. As a result, students from schools that aren’t involved in competition may actually progress more quickly than those who are constantly taking time away from furthering their skill levels to master their upcoming competition routines.
So, Who’s Right?
Both sides of the competitive vs. non-competing dance studio debate have compelling points to their arguments. Whether or not you fall into one camp or the other probably has a lot to do with your past positive or negative experiences regarding competitions. If you’re a studio owner, consider what’s in the best interest of your students as well as what they and their families desire regarding competitions. Instructors and students should seek out studios with emphases and philosophies that match their own.
Because the viewpoints are so varied, some dance studio owners choose to take a middle-of-the-road approach. They offer both competitive and non-competing classes for students who prefer one option or the other. As long as there are adequate funds available, this approach may be the best way to keep people who adhere to both philosophies satisfied with attending classes at your studio.