CriticalDance Forum

Dance Competitions
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Author:  Albrecht [ Mon May 08, 2000 9:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Dance Competitions

what do you think of dance competitions. are they valuable to dance students or are they just a way for organizers to make money off desperate parents.

Author:  trina [ Tue May 09, 2000 11:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Dance Competitions

Whoa, we've opened quite a can of worms on this one! I have been teaching at private dance studios (in addition to directing/dancing in our dance company, LEAVING GROUND/DANCE) for the past 6 years. I have also been a judge at a few of them. So I have multiple perspectives.<BR>Dance competitions seem like a "way of life" for many of these studios. Suffice it to say, I have very mixed feelings about the whole thing. First off, the companies which run these "competiions" are making gobs of money...children have to pay for each dance that they're in -sometimes upwards of $50. per dance..some kids are in 10 dances in each competition; sometimes doing numerous competitions per can do the math!!<BR>The parents often want the kids to do them because they can win trophies, get exposure/performance experience, etc. In this way, dance then becomes almost equivalent to sports competitions, often to the deteriment of the artistic side, in my mind. However, often studios/towns are in very isolated areas, where theatre space and public performance, outside a limited community, is unavailable . To my mind, this is one of the few times when these competitions can be valuable, or provide a service not otherwise available.

Author:  Azlan [ Fri May 12, 2000 8:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dance Competitions

I've heard that the fees can get much higher than $50, especially if you have a celebrity associated with the competition. Sometimes, these competitions have cool names to make them sound more like a show instead of a competition.<P>Trina, do "talent scouts" go to these shows? I don't know if that happens. So, how would the exposure help?

Author:  trina [ Sat May 13, 2000 9:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Dance Competitions

azlan-Good question. Sometimes these competitions culminate with "national" conventions/competitons,whereby the winners of local competitions get to compete with each other. These are often held in NYC, LA and Vegas. Supposedly with the idea of attracting "showbiz" attention. Sometimes these companies offer scholarships to professional schools/workshops to the winners. But other than that, I don't personally see how they offer any major oppportunities to the winners.

Author:  Azlan [ Sat May 13, 2000 9:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Dance Competitions

Hmm, so it is almost like paying money to be in a show even if it is really a competition disguised to look like a show.

Author:  Lucy [ Sun May 14, 2000 7:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dance Competitions

Just curious??? How many dancers now in companies have competed in these types of competitions? Not many I am sure. I think that these are a sham only to make money off of everone.

Author:  trina [ Mon May 15, 2000 10:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Dance Competitions

Good question. I don't know the answer. I would seriously doubt it. Although I do have one teaching colleague at the school I teach at. She did a lot of competitions as a kid...and went on to dance with the Disney Co., in movies, cruise ships, etc. But see I think she would have been succesful wasnt' that those competitions are what "launched' her career. <BR> suffice it to say, that these companies who run competitions are the only folks in the dance world making some SERIOUS money. I don't know that anyone's really being victimized...if folks want to spend tons of money seeing their kids up on stage I guess that's their business. But I just hope people aren't being misled that this is an "entre" into showbiz or anything like that...which I don't think it is, obviously.

Author:  grace [ Mon May 15, 2000 3:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dance Competitions

just a few different points:-<P>1. trina, the wonderful victoria leigh has taught me that to put an acute accent over an 'e' (as in entrée, & in french dance terminology), you hold down 'Alt" + type the numbers 1, 3 & 0 on your NUMBER keypad. (i hope i've got that right: here's a test: é).<P>2. re competitions, from what you guys are saying, obviously the situation in australia hardly compares in terms of cost and the scale of it all. <P>3. however, i agree with lucy that it is NO WAY to get into the 'serious' dance profession.<P>4. however, i HAVE seen some students benefit particularly in the area of stage experience, presentation skills, confident approach to performing - enough to make a major difference to their job-readiness, so that aspect WORKS, for some.<P>5. another way to look at lucy's comment is that, given that the majority who perform at competitions will never become dancers, THAT is precisely their value to some people: people who WANT to perform, get to go out on stage and do it (by paying for the opportunity), which they will never get to do with anyone ELSE paying. <P>-just some random thoughts! Image

Author:  Intuviel [ Mon May 15, 2000 4:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dance Competitions

How do the ballet competitions, such as Varna, Paris, Prix de Lausanne, and Moscow fit into this? How about the IBC~~International Ballet Competition, which is held every four years, like the Olympics? It seems that the IBC is a flashy, US~style dance competition, whereas the European ones are more prestigious and dignified. Opinions? <P>------------------<BR>~Intuviel~

Author:  grace [ Mon May 15, 2000 4:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dance Competitions

aaaahhHH! different kettle of fish, entirely - in my book...don't even belong in the same thread(!) Image -except of course to point out to people HOW different they are.<P>i'm NOT keen on the purely competitive focus of these, as if dance is a sport rather than an artform - but they DO serve a completely different purpose, and DO -as Intuviel certainly knows- lead to professional advancement of the highest order. when are YOU entering one, Intuviel? Image

Author:  Intuviel [ Tue May 16, 2000 11:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Dance Competitions

Well, I'm not so sure I'll ever be in a competition! (Even though I hear Bulgaria is pretty... Image) The stress and expense involved would probably be too much, and I'm certainly no Michelle Wiles or Adrienne Canterna! <P>I do agree with you, though, that the Prix, Varna, et cetera, are entirely different from what we think of here in the US as "dance competitions." But the IBC seems to be sort of a mix. It is certainly prestigious to win there, but there's also a lot of hype surrounding it. And I also do not like the way competitions treat dance as if it is a sport~~though I do have to say that when I watch the documentary videos of the Prix de Lausanne, the teachers don't really seem to concentrate on technique~~one woman was helping a girl with her Giselle variation, and she was telling her how to use her eyes to convey what she felt about Albrecht, who was standing over there, in that corner, and maybe when you do this gesture, you want to say something to him...<P>And the judges really seemed to focus not just on how many pirouettes the dancer did, but also on how well they understood the variation and how they conveyed that understanding. (Then again, the girl in the documentary was technically invincible...) <P>------------------<BR>~Intuviel~

Author:  trina [ Tue May 16, 2000 1:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dance Competitions

I agree with Grace --the major international competitions are a whole different thing..a definite big deal. The local American competitions are a bit more "rinky-dinky" Ticky-tacky,,,,shall we say. Some of them which feature master classes and workshops, along with the competition are bit bettter-at least they have an educational component.

Author:  grace [ Tue May 16, 2000 3:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dance Competitions

intuviel, re 'Prix': there are elimination classes before the solos (i'm sure you know this) so technique CAN be focused on THERE, allowing perhaps a little more focus on stage performance/developing artistry/etc. when the solos are seen.<P>

Author:  Azlan [ Tue May 16, 2000 6:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Dance Competitions

Trina, "rinky-dinky" Ticky-tacky? Ha ha ha. I have to remember this one.<P>So, are you guys saying that the international competitions are more like sports? Instead of just paying to see your kids on stage?

Author:  grace [ Fri May 19, 2000 2:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Dance Competitions

oh gee, azlan: i hate the sports comparison. so i didn't think i was saying that...<P>i would say that the best international pre-professional competitions focus on the core values of the profession, at one appropriate stage of the performer's development.<P>1. re the 'appropriate stage' bit: i don't find it appropriate to have 3 year olds, 7 year olds, 11 year olds, etc. competing on a public stage in dance items which require professionalism to 'carry off' satisfactorily...BTW there is no black and white here: it is all shades of grey. what, for example, is a 'satisfactory' performance?<P>i can't define every word, so i'll just have to make statements which at least make my view clear, even if not articulated in detail.<P>the PRE-professional however, IS at a stage where their approach to their profession CAN be seen and assessed on stage. and they ARE capable of giving extremely fine performances, often particularly appreciated for their enthusiasm, youthful freshness, passion, sheer guts, and inherent sense of vision. (there is very frequent debate about the appropriateness of ballerina-level solo content...but again, that's buying into another issue).<P>2. the 'core values' bit: those big international competitions focus on artistry developing on top of a solid base of correct technique. these values are the underpinning of the dance profession (which, again, can be challenged - and THAT's yet ANOTHER debate!) however, for here and now, this is what makes them acceptable.<P>whereas the 'glitzy kids' competitions very often focus innappropriately on, for example, the amount of money spent on an overdressed tutu meant to blind the opposition with reflected sequin glare, an excess of make-up and age-innappropriate mannerisms (of which sad little jonbenet ramsay is a victim and a perfect example), age-innappropriate choreography (and especially poor choice of song lyrics), and revealing costumes worn years before there is anything to reveal, etcetera.<BR> <BR>in other words, as trina says 'tacky'.<P>if you need to find a sports analogy (i hate sports, so i'd rather not...) then i would liken the Prix de Lausanne to the Olympics for ballet.<P>

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