wooooh stuart - you are straying into dangerous territory!
<P>i think we need to be crystal clear from the outset here, as this topic inflames people (poor charlene probably didn't know that, when she asked her innocent question!
).<P>personally i feel there are two completely distinct areas of dance competition, and we need to be clear which we are talking about.<P>-----------------------------<P>first, given the origin of this question here from charlene, is the competitions for <B>YOUNG STUDENT DANCERS</B> - solos, teams, etc. in some countries these are called eistedfods (from the welsh). these are money-making events for the organisers, and money-spinners for the teachers.<P>the children can start at almost ANY age (e.g. 'babies' section, age 3 up!). any kid can enter. many dance schools (including the largest ones) participate in these regularly - in australia it's every school-holidays, and other times, besides. <P>the school requires the students to attend (and pay for) rehearsals classes, in addition to their grade/syllabus classes, so it's a money-spinner for them. some won't allow a student to have a solo unless they are in a certain number of group items, thus ensuring the parents are motivated to spend, spend, spend (on fees). <P>then there are the costumes - not uncommonly in the vicinity of up to $100 each, and a small child may need up to half a dozen of them. <P>then there are extra trophies for kids who score the highest overall points, etc, thus encouraging them to be entered in as many events as possible (more entry fees to the competition organiser). <P>along the way, there is plenty of bitchy behaviour in the dressing rooms, sniping comments, crying children, accusations of favouritism by the adjudicator/s (i've been one), and ultimately the vulgar spectacle of some multi-talented 15-year old standing onstage surrounded by trophies, medals and occasionally a cup almost as big as she is (i'm NOT joking....), being cheered wildly by her schoolmates. <P>unfortunately, the technique training in these schools is usually sacrificed to the training of show animals, so that young dancer with a career in 'winning', by the time she is 18, will have her hopes dashed when she discovers her basic training is completely unnacceptable in any professional environement. <P>like the young gymnasts, she is finished at 18. and UNlike the gymnasts, she is completely bewildered as to WHY, as no-one has prepared her for this outcome...<P>OK, this is worst case scenario - but it is all too common.<P>--------------------------------<P>now to the OTHER competitions: those for <B>PRE-PROFESSIONAL DANCERS</B>.<P>examples: Prix de Lausanne, Genée Medal, Varna, Jackson MS., etc<P>completely different kettle of fish. highly selective as to entrants (eliminations). <BR>dancers are pre-professional in age, so have the appropriate technique and other skills to display. they are at the stage of looking for scholarships for advanced training/extra polish, or looking for jobs, so the competition provides a high-level public showcase to attract offers.<P>if they succeed in any way, they will be the recipients of rewards, rather than the contributors of large amounts of cash!<P>they have large panels of adjuducators, from the dance profession (often very highly regarded people with excellent professional connections). votes are tallied in fairly sophisticated ways.<P>i think those are the main points...no doubt there are more.<P>mind you, i CAN say some good things about kids dancing in 'comps', but i'll save that for later!