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lilkeebler1

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Reply with quote  #26 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5678StarMom



I agree with Tendumom 100%  How many (potentially talented) kids are missing out on the love of dance or getting real training because there families will never be able to afford competition dance? Why did studios forgo creating local performance opportunities because competitions exist now? Our comp studio used to have school shows that educated grade school kids about dance and they used to have several performance opportunities other than recitals around Christmas and spring. They don't do that now, for the last 5 years. How many teachers are compromising solid technique for tricks to win now? Competition at this point is fully changing the face of dance. It seems like it's either serious ballet, very recreational programs, or comp dance no matter where you look. People who aren't involved don't even think anything but comp style dance exists.


Totally agree with this [frown]
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #27 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5678StarMom



I agree with Tendumom 100%  How many (potentially talented) kids are missing out on the love of dance or getting real training because there families will never be able to afford competition dance? Why did studios forgo creating local performance opportunities because competitions exist now? Our comp studio used to have school shows that educated grade school kids about dance and they used to have several performance opportunities other than recitals around Christmas and spring. They don't do that now, for the last 5 years. How many teachers are compromising solid technique for tricks to win now? Competition at this point is fully changing the face of dance. It seems like it's either serious ballet, very recreational programs, or comp dance no matter where you look. People who aren't involved don't even think anything but comp style dance exists.


To be fair, this is not unique to dance.  One can't play rec tennis, hockey, lacrosse, diving, whatever, and expect to compete at a high level either.  
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #28 
But it's not entirely true in dance. There are now very rare gems that don't compete. It wasn't already this way, but it is today. They were once the norm. Dance is not a competitive sport by nature. It's not like hockey or baseball or tennis where the goal is to win.

The bottom line is money. There is more money to be made with competitions. The next line is parents. Many want this. It's all about going for the gold or placing. We see it all the time here. There's a lack of patience in understanding that good technique comes with good instruction and time. No one has the patience for that it seems. If a kid isn't performing every week, there's something wrong. You really don't need to complete a number a half a dozen times. What does that cost? More comp fees, more travel expenses... At the cost of more class time. I see schedules that are filled with rehearsals.. Where are the technique classes? Leaps and turns class doesn't really make up for real classes. There shouldn't be a need for that if there are actual technique classes.

It wasn't until I started looking around 10 years ago that I realized that not all studios even have real technique classes where dancers learn to dance. They learn steps and actual different combinations instead of the same dance for months at a time. I hear that's why conventions are so important. Truth is that is what should be happening in your studios every single week in every genre.
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #29 
I agree with all of those points, just saying that high level dance training isn't inexpensive. It might eliminate some of the "frill expenses" (costumes that will never be used again, travel to competitions that don't really further education, etc).  But it's still unaffordable for a great many.
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5678StarMom

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Reply with quote  #30 
At 2/3 studios in my town of >40,000 competition is most definitely the focus that doesn't put technique first. And the third studio also competes, they just have what I would consider a better technique program that doesn't completely leave kids out of classes if they don't want to be on team. Both other studios have competition kids only tech classes, making it impossible to get good training if you aren't on team.

Here's a new thought related to this thread...How many people have teachers at their studios that aren't qualified, related to competition dance. Meaning...the teachers that agree to be involved and teach this stuff are just grown up comp dancers themselves with no additional training. (And another aside, maybe that's why there is also so much questionable or just bad choreography?) Could the way competition dance has evolved and blown up be because the first generation of competition dancers are grown up and opening studios now? (And/or having children themselves?)
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5678StarMom

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Reply with quote  #31 
re: expensive training. I only have my experience to go by, but I would think that in bigger cities with more options, the more likely a talented or determined dancer would be able to find a non for profit studio that could give them a scholarship or work study. That's not something that happens much around my area.
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5678StarMom

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And last comment for now, I promise [wink]

From what I can find, comp dance isn't that old, so for me it makes sense that we are just now seeing standards change and some of what I was talking about happening. I really feel like it's because studios weren't built for comp dance before, when now they are. Interesting... It has really blown up!

Does anyone else know of a competition older that showstoppers at 38 years old?

https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20111203212906AAVlOyu
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tappinmom

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Reply with quote  #33 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5678StarMom
And last comment for now, I promise [wink] From what I can find, comp dance isn't that old, so for me it makes sense that we are just now seeing standards change and some of what I was talking about happening. I really feel like it's because studios weren't built for comp dance before, when now they are. Interesting... It has really blown up! Does anyone else know of a competition older that showstoppers at 38 years old? https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20111203212906AAVlOyu


I was competing40 years ago here in Canada.  There weren't a ton of competitions but they did exist.  Things like CNDC and Kiwanis or other music festivals always included a dance section.
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Noel

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Reply with quote  #34 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5678StarMom
At 2/3 studios in my town of >40,000 competition is most definitely the focus that doesn't put technique first. And the third studio also competes, they just have what I would consider a better technique program that doesn't completely leave kids out of classes if they don't want to be on team. Both other studios have competition kids only tech classes, making it impossible to get good training if you aren't on team. Here's a new thought related to this thread...How many people have teachers at their studios that aren't qualified, related to competition dance. Meaning...the teachers that agree to be involved and teach this stuff are just grown up comp dancers themselves with no additional training. (And another aside, maybe that's why there is also so much questionable or just bad choreography?) Could the way competition dance has evolved and blown up be because the first generation of competition dancers are grown up and opening studios now? (And/or having children themselves?)


Yes Yes and Yes ! I do believe that you are on to something here. Largely as a result of reading and reading and reading questions and answers on this forum from recently and beyond I paid great attention whenever posters asked about how to select a studio, how to select the next studio, how to determine if a studio is a good quality learning environment... I offer this observation (that I developed by learning from others here):

Look at the instructors at the studio. Where are they coming from? Is the studio largely, or entirely "inbred", in other words former dancers who were brought up in the studio and promoted to assistants and then instructors without ever leaving the nest? Or is there great diversity with some degree of pedigree and variety; instructors who did not grow up in this studio, or who may have roots there but who left to pursue training at other centers as well.  Is there conformity and consistency to toe the line set by the studio owner or is diversity and innovation fostered in the instructors? For high risk activities like tumbling how are the instructors trained? 15 year olds who have simply been at the studio for a while and can tumble well on their own spotting aerials and hand springs or trained professionals who bring their own knowledge of safety.

I absolutely do believe that there is a younger generation of studio owner and employee prevalent right now who truly have little to no real life experience outside of their own little part of the dance snow globe and they have no interest in anyone shaking the globe. They attend the same competitions and expand upon the same themes from year to year continuing to make money from what has always worked, not necessarily striving to educate young dancers in an art, rather striving to make it through another competition year successfully. They define success by the numbers of dancers and the results at competitions instead of the consistent production of able and educated artists.

It is getting more and more difficult to find true dance teachers instead of warm bodies simply regurgitating what they have been taught. At least in my area. If you can find a true dance instruction setting, it's something to be excited about.
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classydance

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Reply with quote  #35 
Quote:
Originally Posted by heidi459


SIs have become huge business.  No longer can any real conclusions be drawn based on acceptance alone (with a handful of exceptions, of course).


This is so true.
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Dancingemu

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Reply with quote  #36 
Needed to hear this. Where we were the options were stay in the beginner classes or go the competition route. So when we made the switch, we planned to go competition again. Turns out, while the new place has competition groups, they are not the primary education. The competition girls are required to do the regular level appropriate classes in addition to extra classes to learn their comp routines.

Learning this has taken off a lot if stress on our financial obligation and concern for time commitment when I have more than one child in activities. My girl is not one that will go pro, just likes to dance.
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cndb

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Reply with quote  #37 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5678StarMom
And last comment for now, I promise [wink] From what I can find, comp dance isn't that old, so for me it makes sense that we are just now seeing standards change and some of what I was talking about happening. I really feel like it's because studios weren't built for comp dance before, when now they are. Interesting... It has really blown up! Does anyone else know of a competition older that showstoppers at 38 years old? https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20111203212906AAVlOyu


I am almost 50.

When I was a girl, we competed at competitions like DMA, Tremaine, Showbiz, Star Systems, and a few others.  My younger sister (30s) competed at many other competitions.

Competition dance has been around since at least the late 70s.  My first comp was when I was 9, and it was an established competition.

Competition back then was usually a one time a year big event, or just a couple of times per year for the big cities.  Nationals were a BIG deal as there was only one per competition.   The awards used to be 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and everyone else got honorable mention unless the category was huge.  As far as I can remember, the adjudicated judging with multiple placements did not start until the early 90s.

That everyone is a winner super duper triple titanium platinum thing is a recent invention.  I think that is where dance competitions have really gone off the deep end.  At that point, it becomes about selling an experience and not really about competing dance.
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Jinkerbelle

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Reply with quote  #38 
My daughter is 14 and has only danced for four years. The first year was only hip hop. She loves it and feels this crazy need to catch up with the girls that have been dancing much much longer than her. Her studio is so close to home, mainly intermediate studio. I really wish sometimes lately (especially after getting home from nationals yesterday) that we could jump off the crazy train. She did awesome at nationals, got to the World Series and won and all that....but is it really worth it all? Sometimes I dunno. I would love to cut back the competition team stuff this year, she already opted out of school team, and focus more on technique and ballet.... but I wouldn't even know where else to start and if she would really be down with cutting back due to her friends there and she won the most improved award. So she feels validated but I no longer have on the exciting Dance blinders!
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #39 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinkerbelle
My daughter is 14 and has only danced for four years. The first year was only hip hop. She loves it and feels this crazy need to catch up with the girls that have been dancing much much longer than her. Her studio is so close to home, mainly intermediate studio. I really wish sometimes lately (especially after getting home from nationals yesterday) that we could jump off the crazy train. She did awesome at nationals, got to the World Series and won and all that....but is it really worth it all? Sometimes I dunno. I would love to cut back the competition team stuff this year, she already opted out of school team, and focus more on technique and ballet.... but I wouldn't even know where else to start and if she would really be down with cutting back due to her friends there and she won the most improved award. So she feels validated but I no longer have on the exciting Dance blinders!


We aren't all that into comps, but have the same feeling.  A lot!  Ballet training is a crazy train of its own.   
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Jinkerbelle

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Reply with quote  #40 
Thank you Dave! It is nice to know I am not alone in that feeling!
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Beccasmom

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Reply with quote  #41 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmoodle28
Agree, my granddaughter age 9, went to a comp in New England, it started at 4:30 AM on a Sunday and ended about 11:00 PM I guess. There were sessions on Saturday too. She said it was mainly solos and titles. My daughter pulled her daughter's solo for Sunday and did not going to the nationals. She has been around dance comps since 1982, but she is not in dance. She only wanted her daughter to experience it. My granddaughter prefers soccer. It is what it is

Comps do not start at 4:30 AM. Maybe that's when she had to get up to be there, but the earliest I have seen a comp start (in the US) is 7 AM.

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lilkeebler1

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Reply with quote  #42 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cndb


That everyone is a winner super duper triple titanium platinum thing is a recent invention.  I think that is where dance competitions have really gone off the deep end.  At that point, it becomes about selling an experience and not really about competing dance.


This...
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tappinmom

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Reply with quote  #43 
We have had to be up at 4:30 AM to leave for a comp but the earliest they will start here in Canada is 8AM so you would have a 7AM call time when they open the doors to the venue.
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disneymom2two

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Reply with quote  #44 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tappinmom
We have had to be up at 4:30 AM to leave for a comp but the earliest they will start here in Canada is 8AM so you would have a 7AM call time when they open the doors to the venue.

This is why we always get a hotel room.  My daughter and I are not morning people.  I'd rather get the extra 30-60 minutes of sleep and be really close to the venue.
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #45 
As far as how old the oldest competitions are, I'm not sure but I know DMA was around when I was a kid in the 1970's. I know my cousin was doing competitions in the early 70's as well, but I don't know which ones. They certainly were not the mainstay of dance studios back then like they are today. Even the scene 15 years ago, when I was surprised at how the competition world had grown tremendously, doesn't compare to today! 
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #46 
@jmnoodle, thanks for that! I love history. [smile]  BTW, what is FM in Cambridge, MA? Is it dance related? 
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #47 

I came back to this thread because I remembered this interesting historical conversation. I am a sucker for dance history of any sort.

I find it quite illuminating how the same name associated with this username is on that Skills Dance As Sport page. 

 

So, your granddaughter is going to do your own competition? 

While the type of dance your program represents is not the sort of dance most here are interested in, you would have gained far more respect and acceptance by being honest. It's one thing to hide behind a screen name, another to present yourself as someone you are not. You are a former studio owner (apparently) and a competition owner. Some of the posters here would have been interested in what you had to say as a former studio owner and as a current competition owner, albeit a different sort of competition than most here would be interested in.  In fact, this might even be considered a form of fraud. 

 

 

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5678StarMom

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Reply with quote  #48 
I came back to the board this morning to see if anything else was added, it's just hard to make proper sense out of her posts! Very intriguing...
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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #49 
I think someone else is driving the crazy train at this point.......ie., Jan Davis (aka jmoodle28).  Made for some interesting reading this morning though.  
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Dancinandlovinit

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Reply with quote  #50 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dave9988


I was going to ask what "hold their own" means, exactly.  It could mean they take class and don't flat out embarrass themselves.  It could mean they take class and are indistinguishable, with some at the top of the class.  

And, of course, even within an age group, I believe ABT NYC has a wide range of "levels," so "holding your own" could be different at the top two levels vs. the middle or bottom.

I wouldn't classify either as a reason to not go, of course, but that difference could mean all the world to someone aspiring for a career.

To be clear, I have no doubt that there are some comp schools with excellent training.  Others, not so much.  The same is true of ballet schools.  We're brushing with some very broad strokes here.  

I would also tend to believe that things can change with the ages of the dancers.  The older they are, the wider the gap between dancers who have had excellent training vs. those with "OK" or lesser training.




Well, I can only speak from our own experiences, but I'll address our own experience at ABT California, when my daughter attended three years ago. California, according to ABT itself on their website, is on par with New York - both geared towards advanced dancers. I know of at least 4 kids in the Violet level (the highest level) that were competition kids, 1 of which was from our own studio. But if you like, I'll name someone with a little more of a public persona - look up the talents of Lex Ishimoto - he was in the violet group at ABT that year. He is a competition kid from West Coast School of the Arts and was, by far, one of the most talented kids there that summer, if not the most talented kid - in ballet.

(My daughter was very excited to be able to partner with him on occasion that summer!)

That being said, we also know comp dancers that were accepted to and placed in the violet level at the NY site. My daughter wasn't there though, so I can't speak about that with the same level of experience. 

In my daughter's group, more than half were competition kids. One was from Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition. The year before, in Austin, same thing - more than half. (and YES I know that Austin is not on par with CA or NY) Maybe it's just ABT? I don't know. That's just our experience though. 

Yes, I 100% agree that some competition studios are not providing good ballet technique. I think however that the ones competing at an advanced level likely are. They also contain kids that are seeking extra training in order to improve, such as at summer intensives like ABT.

Regardless, I'm not here to debate what absolutely no one in the ballet world would agree with anyway. But kids like Lex speak for themselves. Or maybe Sophia Lucia - a comp kid through and through and now doing amazing in ballet. Just don't doubt - or generalize - these kids. That's all.
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