What's your mindset?
Competition is a funny thing.
Funny in the way that it can drive people to do their best or it can drive people to fall apart.... and everywhere in between of course. And it's all based on what your mindset is, not what placement you got.
My "Dear Dance Parents" blog and posts a couple weeks ago brought up some great topics of conversation. Thank you to all the parents who participated with comments or private messages. These conversations are so important to me so I can help bring awareness and resolution to questions and concerns.
Thank you Robin for bringing up the super important topic of dance competitions.
She asked if I thought dance competitions were a good thing?
My short answer is yes, I think dance competitions are great!
Here's my long answer...
I believe having the right intention and mindset is key. If you are looking at competition as a learning experience, great! If you're looking at it for validation, not so great.
Competition brings on nerves, stress and anxiety. It just does. We all want to do our best. Some might look at these fear based emotions as bad. I want you to try and look at these emotions a bit differently.. let's flip these emotions on their head and say they're good emotions.
Because when we're in these states we're usually doing something for the first time or learning something. So let's welcome growth.
Throughout life these emotions are a part of our daily lives, in and out of the dance scene. Either in little doses or big doses. If we don't learn the tools to help us work through them it can get ugly.
With what's going on in the world today competitions are having to pivot and change things up a bit. Dancers are at least getting on stage to perform (YAY!!) however there's no audience. In fact, there's not even judges in the audience. What competitions are having to do is video the dance performances and then send them to the judges to make their marks. This process takes about a week to get the final results.
This is soooooo interesting because it really makes you assess what the whole competition process means to you in the first place. What are you expecting to get out of a dance competition? Are you basing how you did just on what the judges say or are you looking at the performance and asking yourself, "Knowing what I have been working on in the studio, did I do what I set out to do?". "What did I rock and what do I need to work on?"
By having to wait for the results (which I know is difficult!) dancers are having to assess their performance a bit more on their own which I LOVE.
I believe your assessment of the performance is #1. The judges are there to give you helpful pointers on what you can take back to the studio to work on more but they have no idea what you've been focusing on, only you and your teacher do. So knowing your own personal goals and whether or not you accomplished them is first and foremost.
So, do you go out on the stage for yourself or do you do it for validation?
Let's be honest, it can be both! However if it's just the latter maybe we need to readjust your thinking. Because I'm here to tell you that nobody cares in the professional world if you were top soloist at a regional or national competition. You are not going to put it on your resume. Is it something to be proud of? Hell yes!!!!! Can it give you confidence? Hell yes! Is it something to work towards? Hell yes!!! But it can't define you.
Yes, I am a fan of competitions. There are so many life lessons learned leading up to, during and after these events. If you or your dancer are having a difficult time finding the fun and the learning opportunity in competitions I urge you to look inward and ask yourself what your expectations are. What do you hope to gain? Other than a trophy ;-)
Dealing with stress, nervousness and anxiety was our topic of conversation in the on-line community myDANCEjournal LiVE this week. If you are interested in learning about the tools we talked about to handle nervousness please message me. I'd love to share what we've discussed. Better yet! Join our community! We are starting another session in the new year and would love to have you. Message me for more information.
I also share some helpful tips on what you should be focusing on back stage in my FREE Character Development workshop. Get your thoughts back into the creative space! Click here to get access.