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gracenote30

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Reply with quote  #1 
My daughter has been taking dance since she was 3 and is currently taking around 3 hours of ballet, 1 hour of acro, and 1 hour of jazz this year at age 9. We live in an area that has lots of competitions at a local resort hotel facility, so we decided to try doing 3 local competitions this year. She is just doing 1 group routine. She also is a part of the studio's non-competitive performance team and has been since she was 5/6. This team rehearses 1 hour weekly (separate and in addition to competition rehearsal) and performs at nursing homes, local charity events, etc. 

We had our first competition this weekend, and it went fine, but we are just not sure if the competition scene is right for us. I'm curious if anyone else decided this and what you did instead to further your child's dance training instead of participating in competitions. She enjoys dancing a great deal and at this point it's her activity of choice, so we'd like to nurture her interest but not burn her (and us) out if that makes sense. We like our studio a lot, so it's not an issue of that. Thanks for your thoughts!
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #2 
Can you take the same dance lessons at your current studio without competing? If so, you could take the lessons, maybe add another class, and consider an occasional private or convention. It sounds like she already has performance opportunities in the community, but if she wanted more, perhaps she could audition for a local nutcracker or similar show.
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #3 

My dd only did competition for a relatively short time. She started out with just one dance. It was a studio that did not give solos and the like to younger dancers, so it was only group dances. She ended up leaving competition dance for a ballet studio around the time she was 9. 

At the ballet school, she found that much of what she enjoyed about competition was replaced by other things. She loved the camaraderie of being on a team. That was replaced by the camaraderie of her cast mates in the Nutcracker and the spring ballet. She loved the performance opportunities, something she got from both of those shows and the recital. We found a ballet school that believed in well rounded ballet dancers, so there were opportunities to also take jazz, modern, hip hop, tap, ballroom and other genres right at the school. 

Ballet schools tend to be much more of a slow boil. Not a big rush to dancing as many hours as possible at a young age. Definitely no rush to performing tricks before a dancer has mastered them. It's a different philosophy. Perhaps something to look at in your area. 

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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #4 
There are also conventions ... NYCDA, Jump, Nuvo, Tramaine, etc.  They pack in a weekend of "workshop" classes, followed by evening competitions.  You can do the workshop only, you don't need to compete.  It can get confusing in that the workshop attendees are also eligible for awards, but it wouldn't be dance if it weren't confusing!  Depending on why the competition may not be your scene, this may or may not work for you.  The weekends are grueling, and of course a lot of attendees compete (we usually do not), so I'm not sure if the "scene" would be a match for you.

As tendumom pointed out, ballet or ballet-centric schools may offer performances in things like Nutcracker and or other stage shows.  Depending on the school, there may be less opportunity for solos and featured roles as youngsters, but either way these are still performance opportunities, and the kids learn to work in a corps.

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gracenote30

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Reply with quote  #5 
Thankfully, yes, the technique classes are the same regardless of whether a student competes or not. However, once you get to a certain level of classes, pretty much everyone competes. It's not required, but all seem to choose to and we're not a super big studio. I don't want her to be "odd man out" and not be part of the team. I tend to be an overthinker about everything, so I have been thinking a lot about the cost & time invested, and the desired end result and I'm unsure if competition is the way to get there. We also work as church musicians (choir director and accompanist/pianist) so Sundays are committed for us, which makes weekend competitions challenging. We can get away occasionally, but not often.

We're not in a very big area geographically, but I'll take a look for ballet schools. I think the closest one is 45 minutes away. Thanks for all the ideas so far!
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #6 
I really do not think competing gets you closer to any end result, so that isn't how you will justify it.  If your local options are limited and she can take technique classes, maybe you will find at least one other person not interested in competing in her age group so she feels comfortable.  Our studio is not very big and most compete but some do not.  I think it is fine for everyone (and it is nice to have a pool of potential substitutes if necessary).  I understand that weekend comps and conventions won't work for your church commitments. If you decide to compete, another parent would probably help take her on Sundays to comps.  
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Ecourtney

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Reply with quote  #7 
My daughter is a ballet dancer and has never done conventions or competitions. Like others have said, they have a few performances throughout the year (3-5) and absolutely loves this, especially Nutcracker. There are studios around us that do multiple genres of dance but don't do competitions, they do a couple performances (one "show" and a big recital). It sounds like that set up may be rare today though. It sounds like she has a good training schedule an d if she's happy with that and the non-competitive performances she could probably just roll with that until she decides she wants to do something else.
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