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BetsyD

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hello, all. So glad I found this community. I am a newbie to the comp scene. My DD7 competed for the second time recently (a solo). She came in 3rd overall in performance division mini. Her DT says she is very good for her age- great musicality, learns choreo quickly and technique is good and improving. However, I watched the dancers she competed against and their routines were very simple, jazz.(DD is doing a lyrical). I am not at all trying to say that the little girls were not good but the 1st and 2nd place winners both forgot the ends of their routine and stood there for a while and shrugged. The judges are not told what level the dancers are in so they judge everyone the same - novice, intermediate, advanced. According to DT, my DD's s solo is advanced for her age and level. I guess my question is this: Does a simple routine just score better than a more technical dance from a dancer at the same age and level? My DD had mistakes so I am not trying to say she was better but  she could have done the simple routine, but she wants to be challenged and DT thinks that is impressive at her age and level. Ooops, I guess not. [wink] Any advice? I think her confidence took a hit,and now I just want to scrap the whole thing. However, she insists on the next comp in May.
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BreezysMom

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Reply with quote  #2 
I'm not even sure where to begin but I will say this...

You and your daughter are barking up the wrong tree if placing 3rd overall in her first comp is disappointing.
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BetsyD

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I am sorry. I should have added this part. It wasn't the placing third. It was the judges' critiques. That is where the confidence took a hit. Pretty harsh on many aspects  of the dance that she and even DT thought were done well. Ooops, my mistake- hope that makes more sense. 
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BetsyD

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And, again, we are new so maybe that is something you just have to deal with??
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melissa745

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Reply with quote  #5 
Unless you are an experience DT, you really have no idea what the difference is between a simple and complex routine is. Also, judging is the opinion of three people at that particular time. It is beyond crazy tontry to analyze it all.

She's 7. And if her confidence took a hit because she "only" finished third, then maybe you should pull her solo. She's clearly too young to understand that third is an awesome finish, but more than that, a solo is about growing and I would say the adjudication level means more than the overall.
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joriebelle

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Reply with quote  #6 
Be thankful for harsh critiques; this is how she gets better.  Nothing bugs me more than when we go to a comp and the judges are barely saying anything in the video critiques.   Sure the praise is nice to hear but that's not what makes you better.
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dave9988

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BetsyD
I guess my question is this: Does a simple routine just score better than a more technical dance from a dancer at the same age and level?


Depending on how you define "simple," a simple routine could easily be more technically demanding. 

Lots of "tricks" or other elements may seem more complicated, but in some ways provide less opportunity to demonstrate technique.  Feet, balance, extensions, arm placement, etc. can become more important in a "simple" (tho maybe more artistic, less commercial?) dance.


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BetsyD

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I think third is awesome. I was asking more of a should we not try to challenge her in a solo question when the judges are making comments like" hmmmm. That would be nice but maybe practice more or maybe too advanced for her." I AM NOT saying third is awful- I am beyond proud. I didn't mean to offend. I was curious if she should try not to perform something that might be beyond her level particular level  when others her age were not doing that but had a cleaner routine, obviously. Judges have ben helpful but some of the corrections I just think might not be "perfect" at her age and level. Sorry, guys. I guess I didn't make myself as clear as I should have. Thanks. 
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BetsyD

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Quote:
Originally Posted by joriebelle
Be thankful for harsh critiques; this is how she gets better.  Nothing bugs me more than when we go to a comp and the judges are barely saying anything in the video critiques.   Sure the praise is nice to hear but that's not what makes you better.
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BetsyD

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Very good advice. I didn't know that some barely speak. Wow!
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BetsyD
I was curious if she should try not to perform something that might be beyond her level particular level  when others her age were not doing that but had a cleaner routine, obviously. Judges have ben helpful but some of the corrections I just think might not be "perfect" at her age and level. Sorry, guys. I guess I didn't make myself as clear as I should have. Thanks. 


For my two cents, competition is to show what you *can* do, and obviously the judges will score you based on what you *actually* do in front of them. 

Class is where you go for that double (or triple or quad) and stretch yourself.  Of course, at age 7 even a clean single is probably a stretch.

That doesn't mean that comp routines should be "safe" though. Choreography should stretch the dancers in order to help them grow, but done in a way that doesn't force them to display a move they have no hope of properly executing.
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my2miracles

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BetsyD
I think third is awesome. I was asking more of a should we not try to challenge her in a solo question when the judges are making comments like" hmmmm. That would be nice but maybe practice more or maybe too advanced for her." I AM NOT saying third is awful- I am beyond proud. I didn't mean to offend. I was curious if she should try not to perform something that might be beyond her level particular level  when others her age were not doing that but had a cleaner routine, obviously. Judges have ben helpful but some of the corrections I just think might not be "perfect" at her age and level. Sorry, guys. I guess I didn't make myself as clear as I should have. Thanks. 


I'm taking issue the bolded sentence.  This issue isn't that she's doing a routine that is above her competition level.  The critique from the judge you posted was that the move was too advanced for HER.  Perhaps you should take off your mommy glassed (no criticism - we all wear them at times) and take the critique for what it is.

It's great that your daughter is challenging herself but she will only get points for executing well.  Also, while you might think a dance is "simple" the technique you can't see may be far more than you realize.  There is a subtlety to dance technique that those of us who aren't trained don't see.


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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BetsyD
I think third is awesome. I was asking more of a should we not try to challenge her in a solo question when the judges are making comments like" hmmmm. That would be nice but maybe practice more or maybe too advanced for her." I AM NOT saying third is awful- I am beyond proud. I didn't mean to offend. I was curious if she should try not to perform something that might be beyond her level particular level  when others her age were not doing that but had a cleaner routine, obviously. Judges have ben helpful but some of the corrections I just think might not be "perfect" at her age and level. Sorry, guys. I guess I didn't make myself as clear as I should have. Thanks. 


Regarding the bolded.. it depends on what specifically you're referring to.  This thread makes me think of a dancer at dd's old comp studio. This girl's number had more than just a couple of advanced turn sequences including a few quad pirouettes.  And she never placed.  Never even received the highest adjudication. She'd be crushed every time.  I can remember her in the dressing room crying (literally), exclaiming how absurd it was that she was doing quad pirouettes & yet only getting a gold.  She didn't get it.  It wasn't about "how many" times she went around... it was about "how" she went around no matter how many times .

And then there was my own dd last year.  She could do more advanced turns & had them in her number but at one point in her choreo she did a simple single one.  And more than one judge commented on the beauty of that single pirouette.  How they wished dancers understood that they would much prefer a beautiful single than the messy multiples that they often see (& she was 16 btw, if that tells you anything).  

IDK.  I guess what I'm saying is that a more difficult trick/turn/leap is not going to get you "points" if it is not done well.  And yes, a beautifully performed number (in terms of technique & artistry) w/less "challenging" components will frequently do better than a messier (for lack of a better word) number that is full of what many would consider more advanced skills.  It's not the "skills" that make the dance, it's the "dancing" that makes the dance. (if that makes sense).
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BetsyD
My DD had mistakes so I am not trying to say she was better but  she could have done the simple routine, but she wants to be challenged and DT thinks that is impressive at her age and level.


I'm sure she *could* have, but would she have done it as well as the others?  That's sort of the point.

Kids sign up for ballet classes envisioning leaps and twirls and spins.  That's all well and good, but not until after years of "plie and stretch."  But if you can't properly plie, then no judge will care about your (likely poorly executed) leap.
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BetsyD

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Reply with quote  #15 
Thank you all. That makes perfect sense. I danced in my youth but never competed, so I don't fully understand. I do not care if she ever places. I want her to LEARN! I just think she thinks she worked really hard and challenged herself and she feels like she still cannot get it "perfect." DD is a perfectionist and competitive (mostly against herself) even at 7. That can be a good or bad thing. She did not cry,and she did not complain. She is happy just competing, but after judges' critique, she expressed a frustration with herself. I'm really just concerned for her. I would hate for her to lose her confidence when she is only a baby in this journey. Yes, I should take off my "mommy glasses. [biggrin]" DD's  father tells me the same thing constantly. Well, I joined this forum to connect better understand this scene. I certainly didn't do it to sound like a "sour grapes" dance mom.I apologize and thanks for all your advice. It's tremendously appreciated. 
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momcrew

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Reply with quote  #16 
You don't get points for trying at a dance competition. Her routine may be more advanced but unless she is executing those advanced moves perfectly the judges will mark her down for them. This critique: 
Quote:
hmmmm. That would be nice but maybe practice more or maybe too advanced for her
is making me thing the judges are seeing just that. 
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BetsyD

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Reply with quote  #17 
More than likely. She is going to try to  keep improving. Thanks!
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HTownDanceMom

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Reply with quote  #18 
3RD Overall is pretty dang good for her first ever solo...be proud!  In our experience lyrical is usually judged a bit harder than jazz and even though the dance is more technical than others judges are looking for precision.  Could be the other girls with more simple dances executed "cleaner" moves. 
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dancermom128

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Reply with quote  #19 
At 7 your daughter is too young to be listening to her critiques. They aren't for her ears. Your DT should listen and then convey what she wants to her. Critiques can be very harsh especially for a young dancer and a lot of judges aren't intending for the dancer to hear them.
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JojosDanceMom

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Reply with quote  #20 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BetsyD
Thank you all. That makes perfect sense. I danced in my youth but never competed, so I don't fully understand. I do not care if she ever places. I want her to LEARN! I just think she thinks she worked really hard and challenged herself and she feels like she still cannot get it "perfect." DD is a perfectionist and competitive (mostly against herself) even at 7. That can be a good or bad thing. She did not cry,and she did not complain. She is happy just competing, but after judges' critique, she expressed a frustration with herself. I'm really just concerned for her. I would hate for her to lose her confidence when she is only a baby in this journey. Yes, I should take off my "mommy glasses. [biggrin]" DD's  father tells me the same thing constantly. Well, I joined this forum to connect better understand this scene. I certainly didn't do it to sound like a "sour grapes" dance mom.I apologize and thanks for all your advice. It's tremendously appreciated. 


I think, if she's a perfectionist, then her teacher is doing her a disservice by giving her things that she's not ready to execute perfectly.  She's setting her up for disappointment.  She shouldn't be frustrated with herself, this is the teacher's fault for trying to push her before she's ready.  Unfortunately you see this a lot in the competition world, and it's really sad.  I think they're trying to get away from it... return to a clean foundation in dance... and the fact that the 1st and 2nd place dancers had simple, clean routines attests to that.  Maybe you should talk to the teacher about giving her things she has clean for her competition solo and leave the more challenging things for class.
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jule425

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Reply with quote  #21 
Also remember that it's one set of judges on one given day. Variation in scores can be judge by judge even. Last year DD's lyrical solo did well everywhere except one competition. 2/3 judges gave it in the highest adjudication score range 96.4, 96.8 then the 3rd judge gave her a 91.3 putting her completely out of the top ten. No reasons really given, which was frustrating. The rest of the season her scores were 289-292, one judge out of all the comps we went to for some reason didn't like her. That is a lesson you and your DD will have to learn about competition dance. Sometimes they love you, sometimes they don't. It's 3 people's opinions that day. Next time it might be totally different. 

The part about awarding for harder routines. DD went to NUVO this past year. Stacey Tookey told the kids that they look for clean routines, and sometimes less is more. When Chantel taught the ballet combo, that would be used in the audition, she told the kids if you can only do a clean single on both sides, that's what I want to see, not a good double on one side and a poorly done one on the other. I also agree with some of the other moms here about what looks easy to the untrained eye sometimes is not. DD's contemporary solo this year looks easy, but according to DT, it's not. (One of the "B team" teens made a nasty comment about how come she wins with any easy dance. DT set her straight. It looks easy, because it was built around her solid skill set. She makes it look easy.)
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BetsyD

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Reply with quote  #22 
Thank you. I certainly didn't mean to sound like I was demeaning the "simple" dances. I commend them for a job well done. I think I was confused by the dancers forgetting their dances and freezing, yet still placing very high, but that just tells  me that forgetting the dance still earned the more points than DD's solo which was completed yet had too many mistakes. Their technique was more polished and clean.  I sometimes wonder if lyrical is judged more harshly as well, and DT and I both warned DD of this but she insisted she wanted a lyrical solo- she loves watching the older girls do it and she is very graceful.  I told her those 3 judges will be different than the next 3 you encounter. Thank you for your kind response.
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #23 

Everyone pretty much already said what I was thinking as I read through the first post and some of the others that followed. 

I think it's already made clear that clean, neat technique is far more important that trying a difficult step that is not clean and perfected yet. The story above about the turns is such a nice illustration of that! 

As your daughter gets older, and maybe even know, you might want to look more closely at what's going on in the studio. I would be a bit uncomfortable with a studio that has dancers compete with steps that cannot really perform yet. Obviously, she still did quite well. There often seems to be this push for difficulty at some comp schools without mastering the basics first. Just keep that in mind and be aware. 

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cynmckee

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Reply with quote  #24 
So here's the thing....you are new to competition so I can see your confusion about the process and the value of the judges opinion.  Once you have been doing this for awhile you realize that competitions are really just performance opportunities and not much else.  It is super fun to win but it really is meaningless.  You will hear it over and over here but really listen to this and take it to heart....Your results in a comp will vary depending on the who the judges are, the weather, what the judges had for lunch/dinner or any matter of circumstances.  Some judges reward primarily for entertainment purposes, some for technique, some for who bloody knows.  Do not try and analyze your kid's competition.  Sometime my dd will watch the preceding awards to see what is being rewarded and will adjust accordingly (but she is a senior and can do this on the fly.)

The majority of the verbal critiques dd gets are almost useless...because most are almost blank except for a few 'beautifuls or nices thrown in."  She is super excited when there is something useful in there especially if it is negative.  This last weekend there were interesting movers with very bad technique that scored in the top ten senior solos while her teammate that just got accepted into Julliard did not make the top ten.  My own dd hadn't eaten that day and was very weak when she hit the stage and bit it in a turn and made the top ten.  Again do not try to analyze the competition or your head will explode...it is just a weird point in time and not much else.

My advice, since your daughter is 7, start now making sure you aren't placing too much credence in results.  Start talking to her that results to not define her as a dancer in any way or form.  You could talk to her about what she thought those particular judges were rewarding for on that day.  You could talk to her about what she learned or how that experience might make her better.  Do not get all sad if she doesn't place and make sure she is grateful when she wins but knows that it might not fall out that way the next time...and that is okay.

Edited to add: Sometimes, if you want to analyze the competition, do it to talk about what special something that person brings to the table.  Then talk about your own dd's special something.  When my dd let go trying to be like everyone else and started embracing her own unique style, that is when she consistently started placing high in the overalls.  Make sure your dd knows this too.
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Paulina24

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Reply with quote  #25 
Congrats to her on placing! Each venue has a different approach to how they score a routine. But I do think it helps to consider what she is actually good at, and talk to your choreographer from the beginning, to make sure she isn't having turns and leaps in her choreography that she isn't ready to do yet. Many judges will take deductions for poor technique. The harder your routine, the more deductions. There is a balance, I think. You want to make it interesting and challenging for her, but also make sure it is clean. I've found it gets easier each year, because you know the venue and how they judge a little better-- and you adjust accordingly!
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