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cynmckee

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Reply with quote  #26 
Because my last post was so long, I wanted to put this out here instead of burying it.  A question you might want to ask yourself, is what are you trying to get out of being on the competition team.  Be very clear about what your goals are and the answer might (and probably should) change over the years.  Is it to win?  Is it to grow?  Is it to try something new that you might not be able to try in another venue? Is it to experience being a part of a team?  All are acceptable answers.  If it is to win, then maybe you want to explore having a simpler cleaner routine.  If it is to grow then push the limits and work hard.  Etc.
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BetsyD

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Reply with quote  #27 
Cynmckee, that is sound advice and greatly appreciated. I will start doing just that after the next competition. I think sometimes, it gets "told" to us that this determines how accomplished one is as a dancer. My daughter is fine right now,frustrated with herself but fine; however, I see these older girls take this very seriously and sometimes let it define them- just  my initial observation-only been to 3 comps). But thank you!
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cynmckee

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Reply with quote  #28 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BetsyD
Cynmckee, that is sound advice and greatly appreciated. I will start doing just that after the next competition. I think sometimes, it gets "told" to us that this determines how accomplished one is as a dancer. My daughter is fine right now,frustrated with herself but fine; however, I see these older girls take this very seriously and sometimes let it define them- just  my initial observation-only been to 3 comps). But thank you!


By older...do you mean 12 or 13...or do you mean 16 or 17?  13 years olds are still kind of messed up a lot of the time when it comes to the comp world.  They just don't 'get it' yet.  By 17, the really good kids will have their eye on the prize after high school is done and not one ounce of time will be spent worrying about a plastic trophy.  I have found that the best kids in our city, no matter what studio they go to, are all friends or are at least friendly toward one another and are each other's biggest fans.  They are all in this journey together.  All are different and celebrated in their own right.
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BetsyD

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Reply with quote  #29 
Yes, I mean ages 10-13 are usually the ones I see who take it very hard when their solo or group dances don't place.
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #30 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BetsyD
Cynmckee, that is sound advice and greatly appreciated. I will start doing just that after the next competition. I think sometimes, it gets "told" to us that this determines how accomplished one is as a dancer. My daughter is fine right now,frustrated with herself but fine; however, I see these older girls take this very seriously and sometimes let it define them- just  my initial observation-only been to 3 comps). But thank you!


Not sure who is "telling" you that.

I've mentioned elsewhere that our studio typically competes only 1x per year (excluding variations). The dancers like to win, sure!  But they also know if the competition was weak/strong, if the categories were so chopped up that "winning" doesn't matter because almost everyone won, or any other number of factors that go into "winning" vs not. 

But I'll tell you this, they are most proud about little things: Did they do their best?  How did they react or modify when something went wrong?  I'm talking about things like a dancer from another studio blocking their path in the wings during a quick on/off, a costume piece flying off, covering for a classmate when a count was off.  Honestly, the ability to react and adapt is what is needed for a pro career, and practice doing it is a big part of why the studio competes. 

The trophies?  If a student wants it, take it.  The studio puts the rest out by the curb on trash day. Seriously.

ETA: Not going to say I haven't seen tears or jealousy.  But the tears are usually immediately upon exiting the stage, before results are known.  The dancers know if they screwed up, and a lenient judge won't change that.
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melissa745

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Reply with quote  #31 
My DD is 12 and has her first solo this year. Her DT specifically told her that she isn't putting in more difficult moves into her solo because the judges will immediately notice if it isn't perfect and will mark down for it. Better to not do an a la seconde turn at all then to do them poorly.

She said that she takes more risks in the group dances because there is enough going on that one floppy turn or bad arm won't kill the whole dance, but it definitely will in a solo.

Her solo has been scoring very well, so I guess she was right.
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BetsyD

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Reply with quote  #32 
Melissa745, I think that is the correct approach. Maybe I can get DT to modify it before next comp. Thank you.
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BetsyD

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Reply with quote  #33 
Dave9988- I have friends whose children have been competing for a while and it's all about placing and if they don't... let's just say it's a bad day, night, weekend. You get my drift. That's why I was wondering about all this. Don't want to damage my child's confidence or stifle any ability. I hope those folks I referenced are not typical. Thank you for your response.
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PasDeChatMom

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Reply with quote  #34 
BestyD - my teen daughter doesn't compete (ballet only, may compete in 1-2 years) but I wanted to commend you for taking all of this advice and being open to it instead of jumping on the defensive. I've learned a lot from the wise and experienced parents on here and there's so much more to learn. Your positive, receptive attitude towards this advice will only help you and your daughter as you continue on your journey.
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BetsyD

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Reply with quote  #35 
PasDeChatMom, thank you. I think I ruffled some feathers with my initial post which was poorly worded. Like I said, I'm new. No, I appreciate all the sage advice. I don't take it personally. I really want to understand and hopefully help my daughter in her journey. Thank you. Best of luck to your daughter. 😀
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Twinkletoesx2

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Reply with quote  #36 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BetsyD
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. 


While your dd may be too young to completely understand this, you certainly can. Part of the process of competition is hopefully learning from critiques. Not all judges are super helpful and I've heard some can be mean on occassion but giving her corrections and things to work on is not harsh. It's their job. Does she get upset if DT corrects her in class? Maybe its not a good idea for her to listen to the critiques. Maybe DT should listen by herself and then work with her in her next practice on what the judges said could use work.

It's also bad practice to start picking apart competitors solos. It makes for a dancer with bad sportsmanship. Third place is amazing and you should both be thrilled and proud. Try to focus less on placing and more on improving herself. You both will be much happier that way. I have been doing this competition thing almost 10 years now, with 2 dd's and I've seen kids and parents miserable over placements, adjudications etc.
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tappinmom

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Reply with quote  #37 
Third is amazing at that age especially with lyrical.  Our studio wouldn't allow a child that young to do a lyrical solo no matter how much they wanted one.  It's not that lyrical is marked more harshly but it takes a lot of ballet training to really have nice lyrical and at 7 she doesn't have the proper ballet background to carry off the technical aspects of a lyrical routine.
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nodrama15

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Reply with quote  #38 
I think it's really important that the choreographer gives the dancer moves that they can properly execute....our SO really stresses this.  As someone said previously, it doesn't matter what skills you are doing if they aren't executed properly.  I have seen so many bad turns in second and aerials that really ended up not beneficial to the scoring.  A lot of parents at our studio push to have an aerial in their kids solos, just because they can do it.....forget that it is technically horrible. 
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mom24

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Reply with quote  #39 
I have four competitive dancers.  They are close in age, so often compete against each other.  They can ALL do their best on a certain day, but what the judges are looking for will determine who wins.  Some judges want clean and simple.  Some only care about huge personality on-stage.  Some want the harder stuff and will reward those who go for it.  Some hate tap.  You just never know.  

In general, which obviously isn't the same as ALWAYS, we found that in the mini & petite age group, they were looking for confident and cute.  If you were both of those, you were going to do fine.  By junior age, it was less about cute and more about actual technique.  I don't have any teens yet, so I don't know what's coming.
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NCKDAD

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Reply with quote  #40 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dancermom128
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.


My newly turned 8 daughter listens to her critiques. She has a notebook that she takes notes in. This is her second year with this approach, and for her it works very well. 
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NCKDAD

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Reply with quote  #41 
I have a DD that is 7 per most competition rules (as of Jan 1), but newly turned 8. (She doesn't compete a lyrical solo, but her sister did at that age.) I don't know what your child is doing but my daughter's most "difficult" move in her jazz dance is a double turn. She has two. One into a straddle (I call it her starter turn if its not so clean she can hide it into the straddle) and the second double turn she goes right into a sissone (spelling?). Her dance is extremely clean and your typical moved for that age group are in there. It showcases her flexibility, control, balance, etc... as well as her performance ability. She typically places well at every competition (as in typically within top 3- she is sometimes intermediate level and sometimes she pushes her up to advanced but by most rules she falls into intermediate level). I believe she does so well because of how well she executes the dance. Every toe is pointed, every knee is straight, eyes up, arms level, etc... every time. 

This has been my experience with BOTH of my daughters: Every year I feel like perhaps their solos could be harder- although when they are learning them in late summer/early fall they certainly aren't as easy as they seem come comp time- lol. Every year they both do very well- high adjudication, placing in overalls (intermediate or advanced for my younger, advanced for my older), scholarships (older only), technique, passion and stage presence awards (both). They are talented dancers but they aren't drop dead amazing (in my opinion), no tricks (my 11 year old does have some challenging turn sequences)... but they perform their dances extremely well technically and in terms of stage presence. They showcase moves that are age appropriate and that they do well. 

I know some dancers in our studio have had their dances simplified based on critiques and performance before. That being said, there is always GREAT improvement between first and second competition especially for young dancers just doing it for the first time. So take that into consideration too.
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Rushhourmom

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Reply with quote  #42 
You've gotten lots of good feedback already. But one thing caught my eye that I haven't seen mentioned.

Is your dance teacher really surprised and confused on the scoring and feedback? It's a red flag to me if your daughters solo is receiving feedback suggesting that her technique needs work but your DT hasn't realized this. At that age her technique SHOULD need work and NO DT should be surprised by that!

You mentioned that the DT warned you both up front that lyrical is harder. There's a reason very few minis do lyrical solos, duets or groups. Lyrical dance requires a pretty solid foundation in ballet that kids your daughters age haven't danced long enough to develop. Just being a perfectionist and working hard for one dance season won't change that for your daughter. If you were warned, clearly the DT knows that technique is required for even a basic clean lyrical dance that dancers your daughters age haven't developed yet. Is she being honest with you and your daughter? Or is she trying to placate and protect feelings?

And because you're new to the world of dance I want to point out there's a difference between tricks and technique. Any turns or extensions or leaps she can't do well can be taken out and she STILL may not beat out a clean simple jazz dance because you can't hide from underdeveloped technique in a lyrical dance. Bad shoulders, bent knees, sicklesd feet, poor or inconsistent turnout, good connections and so many other things will be judged even without hard tricks. That's possibly what the judges were referring to and what concerns me about your DT's response.
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BetsyD

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Reply with quote  #43 
Rushhourmom, she was somewhat perplexed by placement, but she also said she thought nerves played a big role. This is all new to DD although she has a very good stage presence (according to judges). There were some critiques about turnout and not pointing her toes in back bend walkovers and a couple of other times- all things she normally doesn't have an issue with  in rehearsal. She cleaned it after the critiques,and I hope to see an improvement at next solo practice on Friday. I don't think DT was surprised by critiques though, or at least, she did not seem to be.
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #44 
She came in 3rd overall in her age group. Why would that be a surprise in a negative sense?  The differences in scores between 1st and 3rd can be miniscule. Where there only 3 in her age group or something?  Still just not grasping the disappointment in placement when the child actually did place. 
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Dancingemu

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Reply with quote  #45 
I understand the frustration of not agreeing with the judges on places and I'm coming from a dance background, but in the end it is a subjective sport. The big question is dI'd she preform her very best or could a few more hours of home practice made a difference (obviously more practicein the studio will show improvement).

We've learned to not worry about the overall score, but on how well they did their dance that day. Though we have been placing higher and higher once we stopped worrying about the judges scores (still paying attention to the critiques).
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irishtwinmom

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Reply with quote  #46 
A few things to remember...

Its about improving, not perfection. Even if she competes for the next 11 years, she is likely to never ever receive a perfect score.

A clean routine will always score better than an unclean routine, regardless of difficulty.

*placements* really dont mean squat. Your adjudication is much more important. Adjudication tells you how YOU did. Placement tells you how everyone else did. And honestly, I dont care how everyone else did ha ha Yes, it feels good to know you may have done better than someone, but placement alone doesnt tell you much about yourself.

Case in point - my daughter recently went to a BTF comp that had almost 50 jr solos. She received a high gold (which honestly I was very thankful for). She did not make top 10 and was upset. A teammate in the sr category tjat had 20 solos placed 9th with a gold. So I asked her....would you rather not place with a high gold and a higher score or place with a gold and a lower score? I think she finally got it.

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Rushhourmom

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Reply with quote  #47 
I've been thinking more about this post and wanted to add that I think there's real value in having a solo that is above the ability level of the dancer. I don't think it should be discounted as a tool of real growth. Yes ideally new or challenging skills should be introduced and worked in technique class. But sometimes a dancer really wants to get better in a certain way.

One year my dancer had a solo heavy with difficult leaps because she felt she was struggling with her leaps. Her choreographed filled her solo with things she struggled with pretty regularly back then because that meant she had solid one on one practice in what added up to way more time then she would have had in a class with 20 kids. She didn't win any overalls but she grew SIGNIFICANTLY in ways I never predicted. She overcame a lot of frustration. That growth was WAY more valuable than a first place (or even 10th place) trophy. Maybe your tiny one will really grow as a dancer from the dedicated one on one in a genre it doesn't sound like she would have much practice in or exposure to otherwise. If you can set aside any value you perceive scores or placements or even sometimes useless critiques offer and instead focus on the unique opportunity your dancer has to grow from regular solo practices and performance opps, it may shine a different light on her year and experience for the better.
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BreezysMom

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Reply with quote  #48 
IDK....there is something slightly off with the DT.  In my experience there is really no way you can guess or even expect a certain placement.  A dance that placed 1st overall at one comp could not even break the top whatever they have at the next comp. You just never know what the judges are looking for and as a DT she should know this. I'm shocked that she even conveyed her surprise to you.  The focus should have been more on praising her for accomplishment while emphasizing what they need to work on.  If DT was not surprised by the critiques she should not have been surprised by the placement.
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JojosDanceMom

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Reply with quote  #49 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rushhourmom
I've been thinking more about this post and wanted to add that I think there's real value in having a solo that is above the ability level of the dancer. I don't think it should be discounted as a tool of real growth. Yes ideally new or challenging skills should be introduced and worked in technique class. But sometimes a dancer really wants to get better in a certain way. One year my dancer had a solo heavy with difficult leaps because she felt she was struggling with her leaps. Her choreographed filled her solo with things she struggled with pretty regularly back then because that meant she had solid one on one practice in what added up to way more time then she would have had in a class with 20 kids. She didn't win any overalls but she grew SIGNIFICANTLY in ways I never predicted. She overcame a lot of frustration. That growth was WAY more valuable than a first place (or even 10th place) trophy. Maybe your tiny one will really grow as a dancer from the dedicated one on one in a genre it doesn't sound like she would have much practice in or exposure to otherwise. If you can set aside any value you perceive scores or placements or even sometimes useless critiques offer and instead focus on the unique opportunity your dancer has to grow from regular solo practices and performance opps, it may shine a different light on her year and experience for the better.


I get what you're saying here, and it makes sense for a teacher to push a dancer during their one on one time together.  For the actual solo, though, maybe start off with having things that she has down.  Then, through the course of the season, let her work on more difficult things to potentially add in for later comps.  This gives the dancer the confidence of having a solo they know they can perform cleanly AND the opportunity to grow their dance vocabulary.  This is, in my opinion, a great strategy because it makes getting those more difficult aspects added feel like a reward for "perfecting" them rather that something to stress themselves over.
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #50 
Nothing is more unnerving for my dd than going on stage to perform a dance with a section that she does not feel confident doing.  With that said, her solo has had lots of tweaks since learning it this summer.  Some tweaks have to been work around the limits of an injury, others have been to change a part that she felt uncomfortable with.  Her best performance (in mom's and teacher's and judge's opinion) this year was at the height of her injury with a notably simplified routine that she performed cleanly and confidently. In fact, as she is getting healthier, some of the simplifications are going to stay, because she feels more confident being able to deliver a polished performance.  
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