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NCKDAD

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Just finished our 4th of 5 regionals this weekend, and I have to say from what I’ve observed ALL season there is less value on tricks. More technique and artistry and quality of movement being rewarded in adjudication and overalls. Of course my 12 year old was a teen for most comps so it could be related to leaving the junior category behind but I don’t know... even in our own dances I’m seeing less tricks and we have some kids who can trick like crazy... what are you guys noticing? I feel like I keep seeing quality over tricks every time unless it’s a dance that has both... lol
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5678StarMom

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I really think it varies from comp to comp, possibly even by area. The competitions that we have been going to (smaller regional comps with levels/no attached conventions that attract small or recreational studios) don't seem to have this trend at all. I've noticed that the senior level girls are pretty rough too. There also tend to be more teens than seniors...I've wondered if this is because so many in this sort of studio (not as serious) leave for better training or move on from dance all together by the time they are in high school.
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DanceForFun

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Reply with quote  #3 
I agree. I am happy to say that there has been (NewEngland area) less of an emphasis on tricks and more on actual artistry and danceing. My daughter also recently aged into the teen catagory and I do think you begin to see more emphasis on dance skills at this age/level.  Part of that may be the physical changes in the body at that point. They are more like young women now than children.  I am also happy to see the return of more true lyrical dancing.  Just my observations - of course trends may be different elsewhere.
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joriebelle

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5678StarMom
I really think it varies from comp to comp, possibly even by area. The competitions that we have been going to (smaller regional comps with levels/no attached conventions that attract small or recreational studios) don't seem to have this trend at all. I've noticed that the senior level girls are pretty rough too. There also tend to be more teens than seniors...I've wondered if this is because so many in this sort of studio (not as serious) leave for better training or move on from dance all together by the time they are in high school.


Yeah, I think that's always been true.  Junior is the biggest category, then teens, and minis and seniors are the smallest.  Some quit competitive dance for dance team in high school, or just decide they don't want to dance anymore.  I think.  😉
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Mamala

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Reply with quote  #5 
I've noticed some of this too. I'm happy if this is the case. I think dance should be about the artistry of dance. Not just doing trick after trick or tumbling across the floor.
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Jinkerbelle

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Reply with quote  #6 
I really think this has to do with entering the teen category from my experience.
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #7 
I suspect you are seeing an age category shift.  Teens and seniors are usually technique focused - and have been.  Tricks are more likely to show up mini and junior dances.  To discuss a pendulum shift, I think we have to hear from the parents of the younger dancers. Parents of young dancers, who's out there?

As an observation - at our most recent convention - when the big scholarship winners went down the aisle to stage - the little ones showed off their acro tricks, the teens tended to include a leap, and the seniors tended to just dance.  I think this is just the evolution of dance as the students learn more technique and movement quality with more years of training.  I don't think this evolution is bad.  I enjoy seeing a senior doing a ballroom dance walk, but watching a little kid "sassy" walk isn't enjoyable.  I think learning tricks is fun for the little ones. Getting a new trick is exciting and motivating, but once they are teens, the tricks start to feel like gimmicks and are used much less. 

Do I think tricks are necessary for the littles to become excellent dancers? - absolutely not. But is it fun for them and does it keep them dancing? - I think so.  Will my teen dancer, who has a gorgeous back layout step out ever use it in a dance? - I think not. Is she working on artistry and technique now more than every before - yes!

(By the way, at every comp/convention we go to - the teen level has the most dancers.) 
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threedancingdaughters

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Reply with quote  #8 
I've still seen plenty of tricks this year, especially in mini and junior, although our studio has some awesome tap and ballet soloists in junior age that place well with zero tricks. I personally don't mind some tricks if choreographed in well, but some solos seem like they should really be considered acro, not lyrical/jazz/etc.
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MimisMom

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Well my DD is a mini and in her groups there are only 2 girls who can do an aerial and back handspring. So in jazz and lyrical we have them do one trick. But that’s generally it. The rest is technique, and pirouettes, pencils, and leg pulls (not sure if those are considered tricks).
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NCKDAD

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Reply with quote  #10 
I also have an 8 year old comp age dancer and she’s hardly faced any competition this year- and not too many tricks but I don’t remember seeing crazy tricks when my older one was mini/petite either except in the acro dances. Seems like most of the minis are going out intermediate or novice when given an option this year but even at that much less competing solos altogether.

For us the teen category is always the largest, then junior. I think the senior drop off is more that they change focus/interest and want to do more high school things. The most dedicated remain for us and the others drop off.

I wish I was seeing the true lyrical resurgence, but for me it is so much dark contemporary especiallly in the teens. My oldest has always done a traditional lyrical solo. And she always makes people unrelated to her cry - in a good way.

I should also note as I have before that I am the parent of two “trickless” dancers although my oldest does turn very well if you want to consider them tricks as some do. And my oldest has always been a solid well received dancer who typically places at most comps- big or small- so while maybe we noticed the crazy tricks I don’t think they made a huge difference in results.
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5678StarMom

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Reply with quote  #11 
Oh boo. Someone doesn't like me [frown]
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #12 
Good discussion! 

So it looks like the younger ones have more tricks still, but that tricks are not essential - I totally agree with that. 

I wouldn't call a good turn a trick (but some might if the turn sequences are very long or elaborate), but IMO the leg grabs and pencils are definitely tricks.  You don't see older dancers do these.  With more training, those skills will become developes which have a place in classical dance.

I'm so sick of dark contemporary too!  Everyone looks like they have a horrible headache! Recently saw a routine in which the star dancer with the worst "headache" finished her choreo by acting like she grabbed, twisted and broke her own neck.  I didn't find it entertaining (but they had good technique). 
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NCKDAD

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5678StarMom
Oh boo. Someone doesn't like me [frown]


Huh???
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NCKDAD

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by prancer
Good discussion! 

So it looks like the younger ones have more tricks still, but that tricks are not essential - I totally agree with that. 

I wouldn't call a good turn a trick (but some might if the turn sequences are very long or elaborate), but IMO the leg grabs and pencils are definitely tricks.  You don't see older dancers do these.  With more training, those skills will become developes which have a place in classical dance.

I'm so sick of dark contemporary too!  Everyone looks like they have a horrible headache! Recently saw a routine in which the star dancer with the worst "headache" finished her choreo by acting like she grabbed, twisted and broke her own neck.  I didn't find it entertaining (but they had good technique). 


Lol. That description had me cracking up waiting for the school bus to arrive. I can tolerate it with good technique.

Yes our girls don’t really do any of the leg grabs- developpes - yes.

As for our turns- it’s enough to show they can turn with enough difficulty but not overkill on my opinion. There was a girl who went around and around and around and around... this weekend and she wasn’t really good at them so it was like a double whammy of too many and poor technique
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AnnaBeav

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Reply with quote  #15 
My DD8's group dances do not have any tricks. It is all technique and character focused.  
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #16 
AnnaBeav, I'm curious, what kinds of character work do your dancers do?  
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MimisMom

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Reply with quote  #17 
I’m curious what you consider “tricks”? And I’m assuming we are talking about lyrical only.
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Phx115

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Reply with quote  #18 
Tricks are still flying high here. Some studios basically throw in tricks - no matter the age level - because they seem to specialize in them.

Yes. It probably is an age thing. The highest scoring 12 and under routine at a comp this past weekend could pass for a gymnastics floor routine. The dancer did have personality and decent technique, for what little traditional dance steps were performed.
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NCKDAD

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Reply with quote  #19 
Tricks to me are more acro based, needles (is that what they are called- scorpion- I don’t even know or pay attention), etc. nothing really dance wise...

a well placed technically executed trick can certainly wow and fit in the flow of the dance- thinking a smooth and effortless aerial that requires no buildup or anything.

I’m taking more the routines that are trick after trick with little to no actual dancing (vs maybe one or two with good quality dancing). I’m talking basically any style except acro.., or open, I guess.
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #20 
I agree - I’m thinking about any style other than acro, open, and some types of hip hop
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Phx115

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Reply with quote  #21 
I pretty much equate tricks with tumbling skills such as handsprings, aerials, and back tucks.

While they may be put into a dance routine, I will never consider them dance skills.
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NCKDAD

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Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phx115
I pretty much equate tricks with tumbling skills such as handsprings, aerials, and back tucks.

While they may be put into a dance routine, I will never consider them dance skills.


Agree
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peachygreen98

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Reply with quote  #23 
In the past couple of comps I've been to, I've noticed more tricks in the Rec level than the elite level (Mini and Junior).  And in my opinion the tricks are not well executed.   I honestly felt like they could have spent more time working on the dance and choreography and leave out tricks and they would have had much better dances all the way around.  The winning routines (group and solo) did not have tricks (or at least didn't have a lot of tricks) in them.  I actually started noting trick heavy routines in the program to see how they fared (and noted good tricks vs bad tricks).  
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NCKDAD

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Reply with quote  #24 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5678StarMom
Oh boo. Someone doesn't like me [frown]


I just used my computer for the first time vs. my cell phone and saw the thumbs down. To combat it, I gave every comment a thumbs up on this thread! 
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tcm118

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Reply with quote  #25 
My 10 year-old is a mostly "trickless" dancer (she has her walkovers and has one total in her solos). I definitely felt that so far this season in the junior division that there seemed to be a higher emphasis in the judges' scoring on more emotional routines or routines that had some character and less on the super tricks. Our group's tap routine and the senior tap routine always placed very high, and the studio's acro team never placed.

This distinction was really clear to me at our regional KAR competition. However, there are still plenty of minis and juniors doing routines with tons of tricks.
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