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kenkat

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Reply with quote  #1 
My daughter has competed locally for years and moved on to other things a few years ago when she started high school. Now she is returning to dance on a very limited basis, strictly for the fun of it. Her old studio in town is big on broadcasting they are "National Champions" and how many double platinums and top slots they place in. The SO places these girls in lower categories for the win, with no one at the studio ever competing in the top bracket, even those with 8+ years comp experience and 15 hours of dance per week. My question: do the parents know that this is unethical? Do the girls? Or is the plastic trophy and bragging rights the motivator above all else?
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #2 
Some know. Some don't. Some care. Some don't.
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Noel

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Reply with quote  #3 
Case in point... factory we just left advertises their national championship status but (shhhhhhhhhhh) no one else shows up in their division often so while technically they walk away "champions" they didn't have to earn it. True story. Parents who know full well there was no competition know this, but brag brag brag on the "accomplishment" anyway. They know, they just don't care.

Interested parents figure this stuff out, then have an ethical question to answer. New parents may be so overwhelmed that the intricacies run right over their head. But if you stick around long enough, when 1 + 1 fails to equal 2 my gut says all know and all have made peace with the decision. You have to do what you feel is right and the SO may not make that easy for you.

I will add this, my entire opinion of competition dance has drastically changed since I've done the work of researching, reading, and listening to what others are saying. I no longer view them as measures of accomplishment; rather opportunities for performances and feedback. I used to be very naive, but I did my homework.
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5678StarMom

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Reply with quote  #4 
When everyone is a winner, no one can actually be. Competition dance is extremely frustrating.
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Suzit42

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Reply with quote  #5 
It's hard for me to believe that anyone who competes at more than one regional doesn't understand the game. Over 100 dance competitions happen all over the USA. Each one, has at least one "National". Every one of the regional and national comps are dependent on who comes to dance. I have been to more than one national that had less competition than the regional. Last summer, DDs small group dance had some great competition and was first overall at nationals. But that doesn't make them a "National Champion"? Nope.
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jamquint1

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Reply with quote  #6 
My daughter is a mini/petite and this was her first year competing. It only took me about two regionals to figure out that certain studios compete "lower" in order to win. Funny thing is, at nationals that we attended this year, there were many, many more mini/petite solos in the beginner/intermediate categories than in the elite category. At our studio, everyone competes elite-it doesn't matter if it's your first year competing or your 10th. So, my daughter getting 3rd overall out of 10 solos was like...meh. But when I went back and looked at the actual scoring, she got the 3rd highest score out of maybe 70 solos. So, do they score higher because they are competing elite just based on that or what? IDK, but we had fun. Dance competition mottos should be like Whose Line is it Anyways "where the rules are made up and the points don't matter" It is what it is. 
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1tinydancer

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamquint1
My daughter is a mini/petite and this was her first year competing. It only took me about two regionals to figure out that certain studios compete "lower" in order to win. Funny thing is, at nationals that we attended this year, there were many, many more mini/petite solos in the beginner/intermediate categories than in the elite category. At our studio, everyone competes elite-it doesn't matter if it's your first year competing or your 10th. So, my daughter getting 3rd overall out of 10 solos was like...meh. But when I went back and looked at the actual scoring, she got the 3rd highest score out of maybe 70 solos. So, do they score higher because they are competing elite just based on that or what? IDK, but we had fun. Dance competition mottos should be like Whose Line is it Anyways "where the rules are made up and the points don't matter" It is what it is. 


Re - the bolded. I would think that would be NORMAL.

For me, it's when the teens and seniors are leveling down. At the nationals we attended I actually heard someone say how can a 17yo be a novice dancer. It IS possible if they just started dancing and I think that was the case with this dancer they were talking about. But then there are some that level down because they know they can't win at their correct level. Those people are just in it for the win and the win really and truly means nothing in the long run.
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rdsmom

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Reply with quote  #8 
One reason we left our studio this year. They leveled down when they expected soloists or groups to not do as well. Even with kids who have over 5 years experience competing and take 10 plus hours a week. SO let another DT convince her it was ok. And it's not ok with me. I think it's a fantastic way to teach kids that winning a plastic trophy is more important that being honest. 🙄
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamquint1
My daughter is a mini/petite and this was her first year competing. It only took me about two regionals to figure out that certain studios compete "lower" in order to win. Funny thing is, at nationals that we attended this year, there were many, many more mini/petite solos in the beginner/intermediate categories than in the elite category. At our studio, everyone competes elite-it doesn't matter if it's your first year competing or your 10th. So, my daughter getting 3rd overall out of 10 solos was like...meh. But when I went back and looked at the actual scoring, she got the 3rd highest score out of maybe 70 solos. So, do they score higher because they are competing elite just based on that or what? IDK, but we had fun. Dance competition mottos should be like Whose Line is it Anyways "where the rules are made up and the points don't matter" It is what it is. 


LOL
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my2miracles

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Reply with quote  #10 
What really frustrates me about this is that then kids who are placed at the correct lower levels are now competing against higher level dancers.  So not fair.  We're at a new studio and it was the 1st year of competing for SO.  She was so frustrated after our 1st few comps because she put the team in the correct level and realized they were dancing against Elite dancers who were placed down.  She ended up placing the team down a level at the next 2 comps and while we didn't sweep or anything, we did place some dances and the girls felt better.

The other thing dd's former studio did that irritated me was but slightly older elite dancers in the mini novice group numbers - bring the score up without bringing the age up.  1 dance in particular, they put an elite 11 year old who had just won some World Tap Competition in Germany in with the mini dancers.  The song was Mr. Postman.  She did elite level tap moves as the postman while the mini's did very basic moves around her.  It was so wrong.
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Suzit42

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by my2miracles
What really frustrates me about this is that then kids who are placed at the correct lower levels are now competing against higher level dancers.  So not fair.  We're at a new studio and it was the 1st year of competing for SO.  She was so frustrated after our 1st few comps because she put the team in the correct level and realized they were dancing against Elite dancers who were placed down.  She ended up placing the team down a level at the next 2 comps and while we didn't sweep or anything, we did place some dances and the girls felt better.

The other thing dd's former studio did that irritated me was but slightly older elite dancers in the mini novice group numbers - bring the score up without bringing the age up.  1 dance in particular, they put an elite 11 year old who had just won some World Tap Competition in Germany in with the mini dancers.  The song was Mr. Postman.  She did elite level tap moves as the postman while the mini's did very basic moves around her.  It was so wrong.


Who knows if your SO didn't place them in the right level? Most comps have different definitions of levels and ages. What could be advanced teen at one comp could be intermediate senior at another.
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momcrew

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Reply with quote  #12 
We attended Groove this past season and the leveling down was atrocious. My younger daughter's jazz team, with an average age of 6, competed in the mini division at the novice level. They were appropriately placed. The other mini group competing in jazz sent out 3 or 4 junior aged dancers and they started out with aerials and a la seconde turns. After about a minute they brought out a bunch of little girls who basically stood in the back and swayed from side to side. It was ridiculous. However, major props to Groove - the group didn't place at all. Our team took first in the category and placed in the overalls for the mini level. Our SO was ready to say something to Groove but those judges knew what was up and didn't let that group get away with it. 
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzit42
It's hard for me to believe that anyone who competes at more than one regional doesn't understand the game. Over 100 dance competitions happen all over the USA. Each one, has at least one "National". Every one of the regional and national comps are dependent on who comes to dance. I have been to more than one national that had less competition than the regional. Last summer, DDs small group dance had some great competition and was first overall at nationals. But that doesn't make them a "National Champion"? Nope.


Honestly I'm amused that "nationals" has "levels."  At what point does winning "The National Grand Supreme Championship" in the "not really all that serious about dance" division in one particular city from one of a three dozen "national" championships start to lose its shine?

That being said, congrats to your DD and her group!!! 


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my2miracles

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzit42
Who knows if your SO didn't place them in the right level? Most comps have different definitions of levels and ages. What could be advanced teen at one comp could be intermediate senior at another.


She read the rules.  Based on the rules, the dancers should have been intermediate but since other SOs had their dancers dance down, they were competing against elite dancers.  While the studio is new to comps, dd and I are not.  Some groups were super obvious.  We saw that in the novice categories as well.
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by my2miracles


She read the rules.  Based on the rules, the dancers should have been intermediate but since other SOs had their dancers dance down, they were competing against elite dancers.  While the studio is new to comps, dd and I are not.  Some groups were super obvious.  We saw that in the novice categories as well.


Unless I'm misunderstanding you, from what I can recall anyway, most comps' rules do not insure that elite dancers will be separated from intermediate dancers. Those levels are rarely defined in such a way that it ends up being about ability/talent... generally it's all about hours and experience.  So we'd have to have personal knowledge of all the dancers' history/schedule to be sure if they were all appropriately placed.  

Really, the only way we could compare apples to apples would be to base levels on skills. But on second thought, even then... where does technique come in?  Is it enough to attempt an a la seconde turn to be elite or does it have to be performed with a certain level of technique?  And what about artistry and performance?  How do they fit into the mix? IDK.  Generally speaking, and just speaking of my opinion, people seem want to take this whole comp thing way too seriously.  It will never be what some want it to be.  It can't.
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Dancingemu

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Reply with quote  #16 
Our last place didn't level down, it wasn't possible. Even the oldest girls only have less than 3hr of class a week. At the new place, I'm honestly not sure. We'd never competed against them before so I'm hoping that's a sign that they don't level down.

I wish competitions would/could crack down on those that do level down. We competed last year against a company that required all dancers to take 3hr or more yet they all competed novice which at this competition was less than 3hr to be novice. Our girls had competed the same dance for 9m and while only 1h a week of class, would have finally won 1st over all for their level if it weren't for the other company. Our girls were excited to get 3rd and probably would have been happy no matter what because they just love performing.
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missijohnson

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Reply with quote  #17 
My daughter is currently a petite, and competes at the elite level at every competition. It can be frustrating when studios do level down, and there have been a few competitions where her company did not have any competitors in their level because of this.
Our petites dance at least 10 hours per week, and the older dancers do even more. Our company directors refuse to level down, which we all appreciate. At the competitions where they are the only elite level petites, we focus more on the score they are given.
I am hoping there are more elite petites at Nationals this year, but who knows.
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tappinmom

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Reply with quote  #18 
DS started competing at 4.  That year they were novice.  Every year after that they competed at the highest level always.  SO's at both studios follow the rules exactly.  IT helps that in Canada novice is only for first time competitors and then rec is for kids training under 6 hours and competitive over 6 hours so there is no room for interpretation.
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cndb

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tappinmom
DS started competing at 4.  That year they were novice.  Every year after that they competed at the highest level always.  SO's at both studios follow the rules exactly.  IT helps that in Canada novice is only for first time competitors and then rec is for kids training under 6 hours and competitive over 6 hours so there is no room for interpretation.


That hour break down makes sense and there would be less leveling down if US competitions extended the intermediate/rec hours.  What we have now makes no sense at all.

Usually it is:
3 hours or less = novice
3-5 hours/week = intermediate
5+ hours = advanced

The intermediate hour spread is too small.  5.5 hours of dance, with say 2 90 minute ballet classes, 1 90 minute jazz class and 1 hour long tap or lyrical class is not advanced.  

That is a basic class load for a solidly intermediate dancer, and not by any stretch an advanced dance load.

To PP, at the petite and junior level you really cannot assume that a spectacular group of younger juniors or minis is leveled down, especially in the small group category.  They might just be a very well choreographed group of dancers with a very strong and similar level of natural aptitude, who happen to dance only a couple hours/week.  

Natural timing, grace, ability, showmanship and entertaining choreography is what determines who is a really strong competitive dancer at the 8 and under age range, not necessarily hours or quality of training.
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aking9957

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Reply with quote  #20 
Comps have you put the level on how many hours per week not how many years.

If your child takes a ballet class one day a week for an hour, they are not going to learn as much as 2 classes per week and 3 hours.

So you can technically have a child take one ballet class per week and put them in lower level.

Honestly, there are some kids that you can tell need to be at a higher level when they compete. The competitions are supposed to look for these and change the level up or down or take points away. Do they...probably not.
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Dancemom301

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Reply with quote  #21 
Our studio posted on SM that they won "Studio of the Year"...which was true...but so did every other studio that was at the competition [rofl][rofl]  Competitions are a joke.
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by aking9957
Comps have you put the level on how many hours per week not how many years. If your child takes a ballet class one day a week for an hour, they are not going to learn as much as 2 classes per week and 3 hours. So you can technically have a child take one ballet class per week and put them in lower level. Honestly, there are some kids that you can tell need to be at a higher level when they compete. The competitions are supposed to look for these and change the level up or down or take points away. Do they...probably not.


But as others have pointed out, how can anyone really know?  If every kid has the same level of competence based on 1 hour vs 3 hours, then there's really no point in competition.  Everyone is the same, everyone wins!

The problem here is, how is a comp supposed to say "this dancer is the best - so they win" vs. "this dancer is the best - but by too much, so they are in the wrong category - so they lose."

There may be some that are obvious, no dancer "training" only an hour/week is going to wow you with pointe work (they shouldn't be on pointe!) ... but it's possible that there's a dancer with 2.5 hours who out performs those with 3.0 hours.  So depending on where the limits are, it can get dicey.

I understand that comps are trying to make everyone "feel good," but it's just really tough to determine who exactly qualifies to win an award for "the best of those who are not among the best."
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