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Competition Tips and Advice
Many dancers go the route of competition in their dance careers. This is a great way to gain status and recognition in the dance world. Competition newcomers need to keep a few things in mind to optimize their competition opportunities:
Pre-competition and Rehearsal Basics
When you get feedback from teachers, make sure you take it serious and make the changes. Teachers only have your best interest in mind and want to see you succeed. They have experienced this all before so take their knowledge and use it.
Make sure your pre-competition activities aren’t injury inducing. This means no snow, contact or water sports!
Visualize your routine as many times as you can pre-competition. This is great form of practice and polish.
A well-rehearsed piece should fuse together like glue. There should be no steps, only an appearance of natural movement reaction to music.
A dancer needs to bring a good attitude to rehearsals; this isn’t about winning or losing but about doing the best this team can possibly do. Work on a positive mind frame and a feeling of camaraderie.
Everyone involved in the competition should be aware of rules and regulations before the trip is made. Everyone also needs to be aware his or her schedule needs to be flexible at this time.
Sometimes it’s important to take a break for a day or two and step away from the choreography and preparation. Let it all sink in and come with a rested and fresh perspective.
A good exercise is to practice opposite emotions than what is set to the choreography. This brings out such a contrast that it sometimes highlights the polar emotions.
Choose music that you won’t ever get tired of hearing. A choreographer should let their group hear and take home this music before the choreography is even presented. This develops a personal connection to the music that is one’s own.
Visualize the audience and their reaction to the piece. This needs to be interesting to people of all backgrounds and experience.
Don’t forget Dynamics! Sometimes dancers get carried away with dancing ‘full out’ throughout the entire piece. Remember to highlight the peaks and valleys so the climax will appear as so.
Try setting a particular style of dance, to an opposing piece of music. Why not try ballet movement to hip hop music or vice versa?
Remember your true passion for dance, you’re there for you, not others. Dance out of your heart and you will be a truly unique performer.
How a dancer carries him/herself in the presence of the judges, is important from start to finish. Walk on the stage with confidence, hold your chin up and have an honest smile of appreciation on your face. Make eye contact with the audience and judges.
Props, hairpieces and costumes should be neat and groomed as well as secured tightly. Don’t let a loose bobby pin steal the show! When it comes to competition, teams are so polished that the smallest things can make a dancer stand out negatively… make sure your hair is secured and your costume pieces are on tight!
A complete package is essential to competition. This means good costumes, music, choreography, technical skills, dancers and personality.
Make sure you speak to the dance group as well as those who will be in the audience for your group. This needs to stay professional without inappropriate outbursts from the audience. This rates poorly with the judges.
Competition is usually the highlight of the season; morale needs to stay high. Winning isn’t everything, make sure this mindset is highlighted but not to the point of relaxation. All students should reach for the gold but if they don’t win, they need to take it as a learning experience. Not everyone will place as a finalist. When the competition is over, make sure to review judges’ notes. Also watch the performance and critique as well. Practice, polish and persevere!