Open letter to Dance Competitions & Conventions PART ONE
Competitions & Conventions are Important
I believe in getting our determined dancers out of the studio from time to time. This consists of competitions, conventions and even dance festivals and/or different seminars. Healthy competition:
3.Allows students to appreciate other dancers
4.Expands their horizons
5.Creates a community of like-minded people that get share their creations and abilities with each other
As a teacher, that is what I LOVE about conventions… my students get to re-fuel their fire and fall in love with dance even more. And let’s be honest, we’ve all had that experience where a guest teacher says something we’ve been saying for years and our student FINALLY gets it! Although frustrating as a teacher, I welcome these moments because sometimes it takes a different tactic to trigger a deeper understanding of the concept. The point is that competitions and conventions have many benefits that I believe in and have my team students participate in.
We Need Each Other
Dance studios are businesses so are dance competitions and conventions . We need each other. As an owner of a studio that has a highly competitive dance team, I am fully aware of the ways that I need competitions and conventions. There are so many benefits to them that go over and beyond what I listed above. Not ALL dance studios need competitions and conventions as there are many that exist without them. However, ALL dance competitions and conventions need dance studios. It’s my hope with this letter that I start to open up the eyes of competition and convention owners to the dance studio owner’s perspective.
The market is so saturated now that dance studios have SO many choices of which competitions and conventions to attend. With a large quantity of choices, how does a studio owner/dance teacher decide? Is it based on the discounts provided, the free hotel room given if I bring my whole team or if we score well there every year? OR is it the positive impact made on my team dancers, their ability to be fair & consistent with their rules and their ability to understand the importance of studio training and a desire to nurture that relationship rather than challenge it… So, owners of dance competitions and conventions if you want to know what some (maybe most) studio owners are thinking AND if you care about the future of the next dance generation, please keep reading!
How do you impact our dancers?
The policies and processes of dance competitions and conventions effect my dance studio and my dancers. It’s the absolute truth and I can’t do anything about it except choosing which competitions/conventions our studio participates in (although, MAYBE us studio owners can speak up, be heard, and make a long-term change). Of course, we all want the affect you have on our students to be a positive one but in the last 10 years so much has changed in the competitive/convention world and I am deeply concerned. The positive side effects that we as studio owners and teachers hope for are: motivation, inspiration, making connections, feeling accomplished, getting feedback about dance ability and even getting validation from time to time that they/we are on the right track.
The negative side effects that I am concerned about have to do with how much power & control the competition and/or convention has on my students& their parents. Let me give you some examples:
*I’m concerned about your words – We, as studio teachers, know that our words are powerful! What we say matters. Competition and Conventions owners need to make sure their staff and teachers understand this also. A convention teacher should not be telling kids that college does not matter