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purplerain

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Why is ballet judged a lot more harsher than commercial and other styles of dance?
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joriebelle

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Ballet is precise; it's either right or it's not.  It is far less forgiving than other styles of dance.  I think when ballet is done badly it's easier to spot than with other styles.
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #3 
Assuming you are talking about regular comp (not ballet competitions)...

Is it really judged more harshly though?  Or is it just that a large percentage of comp dancers really don't have strong ballet technique?  My personal experience suggests the latter.  If a dancer/studio chooses to do a ballet piece at a competition they need to understand that technique is pretty much everything.  You aren't going to be able to distract with cool tricks and amazing performance skills.  If you haven't been trained properly, there's no where to hide.

That said, all too often the judges at regular comps aren't truly qualified to judge ballet... putting even the technically proficient dancers at a disadvantage.  That beautiful technique?  Well that may not be enough.  Especially if it's a classical ballet variation... now they're waaaay in over their head. 

Bring a ballet piece because you love ballet.  Period.  Consider it not much more than a performance opportunity.. an opportunity for personal growth.  If you go in expecting anything more you're likely to be disappointed.
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dave9988

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I tend agree with Heidi.

First - Our dancers usually do well with it, especially in group ballet dances, with is probably our studio's strength.  We recently had a ballet entry win high score.  Not by "group size across genres" which I think is typical overalls, but by age, across everything.  This isn't an isolated incident.  My point isn't to brag, my point is that I've certainly seen outstanding ballet get rewarded at standard comps.

Second - I cringe at a lot of ballet at comps.  It just looks like little kids trying to be ballerinas, almost cliche with their tutus and all (the dancers in the piece I'm referencing above did NOT wear tutus).  They just don't have it ... whether it's feet, or a lack of "flow" from move to move, or wobbles ... they just shouldn't score well.  The choreo shows off what the dancers cannot do.  One piece really struck me in a recent comp.  The dancers weren't extraordinary by any means.  But they were competent, and the choreo was simple.  Interesting, but relatively simple.  The girls could execute it cleanly.  I have not idea how they scored, but my guess is that they did all right.  You can debate all day whether or not it "pushed' them enough, but at the end of the day, they showed a clean dance to the judges (and audience).  I enjoyed it.


 

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heidi459

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Dave's comment about the choreo showing off what the dancers cannot do brought me back to a Nut audition my dd did last year (we were able to watch from the nosebleed section).  Strong ballet technique was the name of the game at that audition.  Much of what they asked the kids to do at the barre and in center before they went on to across the floor and combinations may have seemed simple enough but there was a method to their madness.  They were looking at all the little details.  I remember them dividing the dancers into small groups, bringing them out in center, having them do a simple arabesque, and asking them to hold it... for quite awhile.  It was very telling. Even the 17 year old Title holder from a local comp studio didn't fare well with that task.

Good ballet is all about the finer details and those finer details are typically the cornerstone of the choreography.  You just can't mask bad/mediocre technique.
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Jinkerbelle

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Reply with quote  #6 
My daughter actually had a ballet duo last year that scored in the top 3 overalls at every comp. even taking a first place. The choreo was pretty, it was unique, and it was super clean with good technique.
So I think it really depends on if the technique is there because there are no tricks allowed.
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purplerain

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by heidi459
Assuming you are talking about regular comp (not ballet competitions)...

Is it really judged more harshly though?  Or is it just that a large percentage of comp dancers really don't have strong ballet technique?  My personal experience suggests the latter.  If a dancer/studio chooses to do a ballet piece at a competition they need to understand that technique is pretty much everything.  You aren't going to be able to distract with cool tricks and amazing performance skills.  If you haven't been trained properly, there's no where to hide.

That said, all too often the judges at regular comps aren't truly qualified to judge ballet... putting even the technically proficient dancers at a disadvantage.  That beautiful technique?  Well that may not be enough.  Especially if it's a classical ballet variation... now they're waaaay in over their head. 

Bring a ballet piece because you love ballet.  Period.  Consider it not much more than a performance opportunity.. an opportunity for personal growth.  If you go in expecting anything more you're likely to be disappointed.



Should've been clearer. I always notice the difference between regular competitions and ballet competitions. Even ballet teachers and ballet studios look at certain things and might judge things a lot harsher. When we're at a regular competition, the comments are a lot different than a ballet competition. Ballet usually doesn't score well in regular competitions. I think this is the biggest pet peeve. If you have ballet as a category then have judges with a ballet background.
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purplerain

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinkerbelle
My daughter actually had a ballet duo last year that scored in the top 3 overalls at every comp. even taking a first place. The choreo was pretty, it was unique, and it was super clean with good technique.
So I think it really depends on if the technique is there because there are no tricks allowed.




DD's ballet numbers don't do well in regular competitions. The comments from the judges are also different. I agree technique is everything over tricks. You can't cover up bad technique with tricks.
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by purplerain
Should've been clearer. I always notice the difference between regular competitions and ballet competitions. Even ballet teachers and ballet studios look at certain things and might judge things a lot harsher. When we're at a regular competition, the comments are a lot different than a ballet competition. Ballet usually doesn't score well in regular competitions. I think this is the biggest pet peeve. If you have ballet as a category then have judges with a ballet background.


Fair enough but, unfortunately, comps have tried to become all things to all people in order to maximize their revenue. There are categories for singing, and clogging, even baton twirling at some.  Yet there are only three judges on the panel and it's not possible for them to be experts in everything.  We hear a lot of people complaining about the scarcity of judges with true knowledge of tap and hip hop too.  It's not just ballet.  So  I can only guess that the comps fill the judges panel with those who are most knowledgeable in the genres they have found they are most likely to see.

Also something to consider... someone who seriously studied/teaches ballet probably isn't as likely to want to judge these competitions. Snobbery? Maybe.  But I would perfectly understand if true.

To me this really is just a case of buyer beware.  
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Jinkerbelle

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Quote:
Originally Posted by purplerain




DD's ballet numbers don't do well in regular competitions. The comments from the judges are also different. I agree technique is everything over tricks. You can't cover up bad technique with tricks.

The comps from last year were KAR, Rainbow, and Star Systems. I think, but not sure, at Star Systems that ballet entry is free.
I did notice a lot of ballet entries at Star Systems this year as well, like way more than I am used to seeing at a comp.
One of the judges obviously had a lot of ballet training and ballet was probably her thing, so I think it was good fit for that comp with so many ballet entries. Her feedback on all our videos was probably the most constructive.
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Suzit42

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Reply with quote  #11 
DD18s team does a ballet group dance every year at regular competitions. They rarely got an overall for it and mostly "High Gold" adjudications. And they were probably deserved. I'm glad they do it anyway, it's a good way to challenge them. I prefer that to an Acro dance where my DDs contribution is a fast cartwheel.
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Jinkerbelle

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Reply with quote  #12 
Our studio usually does a pretty large ballet line every year as well. It is usually about 7 minutes long. Sometimes we buy extra time at comps, sometimes it is entered as a production depending on how big the comp is. It also usually scores Platinum or platinum plus. Sometimes it places in overalls, sometimes it doesn't. But they are fun to watch and tell a story. Our SO gets pretty creative with our ballet line though that is for sure!
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tappinmom

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Reply with quote  #13 
We have been lucky that most of our comps have had a judge that knows ballet and one that we always went to actually had a day devoted to ballet with a special ballet judge.  Our studio always did ballet groups in every company level as well as quite a few s/d/t and they always did really well.
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hsealover

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Reply with quote  #14 
Ballet is very much about achieving perfection. That's why it is so difficult, no matter how amazing you may be at it, there's always something you can do better. Ballet is extremely precise, its not like how in contemporary, a sickled foot could be an artistic choice, not in ballet. Other styles don't have as many technical specifications as ballet does. Which usually means less harsh critiques. I think its a good thing that competitions are harsher on ballet numbers.
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Mumof4

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Reply with quote  #15 
I agree with everyone saying ballet is either done right or wrong.
I was worried about my daughter's ballet piece, being very basic even at 6yrs old. But at the comp seeing children doing moves that they where clearly not ready for, showed their weakness.
She placed 3rd at that comp and had great adjudication comments.
I am no expert but even to myself if is pretty clear when the child can't execute the piece properly.
They want the technique
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nyklane

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Reply with quote  #16 
I've only been a part of the dance world for a very short time - and I will say this 1 comp season even "I" can see the technique difference between a strong technical ballet dancer, and one that is just doing the dance.  The details are very glaring to me - without really an untrained eye.  I would say that ballet may be even "easier" to judge because it's clear what you are looking for and how to execute the move.  If that makes any sense. 

That being said I would love my little one (only 7) to choose a ballet solo because I know she would learn sooo much from it. 
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by heidi459
Dave's comment about the choreo showing off what the dancers cannot do brought me back to a Nut audition my dd did last year (we were able to watch from the nosebleed section).  Strong ballet technique was the name of the game at that audition.  Much of what they asked the kids to do at the barre and in center before they went on to across the floor and combinations may have seemed simple enough but there was a method to their madness.  They were looking at all the little details.  I remember them dividing the dancers into small groups, bringing them out in center, having them do a simple arabesque, and asking them to hold it... for quite awhile.  It was very telling. Even the 17 year old Title holder from a local comp studio didn't fare well with that task.

Good ballet is all about the finer details and those finer details are typically the cornerstone of the choreography.  You just can't mask bad/mediocre technique.



Now you're reminding me of some of my "on snow" ski exams from my ski instructor days.  Even some of the higher level exams ... ski very slowly, first in a "wedge" (snowplow), then in parallel.  Duh, that's easy!!!

No, not when trying to do it perfectly!  Doing this slowly will reveal all of your flaws!!!! 
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purplerain

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Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinkerbelle

The comps from last year were KAR, Rainbow, and Star Systems. I think, but not sure, at Star Systems that ballet entry is free.
I did notice a lot of ballet entries at Star Systems this year as well, like way more than I am used to seeing at a comp.
One of the judges obviously had a lot of ballet training and ballet was probably her thing, so I think it was good fit for that comp with so many ballet entries. Her feedback on all our videos was probably the most constructive.


The feedback she dd gets from regular competitions and ballet competitions are very different. I guess it depends on what regular competition you attend and who judges.
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ballerinamom13

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Reply with quote  #19 
Here is the simple answer - if ballet was easy, everyone could do it.  

Everyone cannot do it, for a number of reasons - body type, bad feet, lack of strength, lack of flexibility, etc.  Once a dancer goes on pointe, it takes an average of 6 years to achieve good turnout.  Ballet is all about the slow and steady tiny improvements and always seeking perfection. So it you think your 6 year old is getting robbed in the ballet category, it's because the judges are probably seeing something that isn't quite right, even for a 6 year old - something as small as placement of hands.  
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mmercer1313

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Reply with quote  #20 
Our dance studio does completions as a practice. The highest level tech girls go to YAGP. We took 4 dances to 2 different competitions, all of them being ballet. We were the only ballet at either competition. Our dances especially my daughters class, tech level 2A/2B probably looked really simple. But it was clean and at their ballet level. They got high gold at both and one they were 1st overall and I think maybe 3rd at the other. Oh and a costume award. They were so cute in their maid costumes. Very prim and proper looking. Tech level 2C/3A got a gold, 1st, a high gold and 1st overall with a golden ticket to a world's dance competition. They also got some kind of special award at one competition. Tech 3B got platinum at both and geesh I don't remember what all else, but they also got a golden ticket to worlds and I think a 1st over all and choreography award. At one comp one of the girls in that group raked in all of the special awards and was called up for multiple things. Then we all danced together and got I think a high gold, not sure what else and another golden ticket. So over all it felt very successful for our dance studio who only does ballet at these. I don't know if it was judged any harder. I don't have anything to compare it to since this was our 1st 2 comps. we'd ever gone to. Except for the tech 3B girls. I did think we didn't fit in and felt like a fish out of water. It was all so not us. Even with that said it was a good beneficial experience.
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hsealover

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Reply with quote  #21 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmercer1313
Our dance studio does completions as a practice. The highest level tech girls go to YAGP. We took 4 dances to 2 different competitions, all of them being ballet. We were the only ballet at either competition. Our dances especially my daughters class, tech level 2A/2B probably looked really simple. But it was clean and at their ballet level. They got high gold at both and one they were 1st overall and I think maybe 3rd at the other. Oh and a costume award. They were so cute in their maid costumes. Very prim and proper looking. Tech level 2C/3A got a gold, 1st, a high gold and 1st overall with a golden ticket to a world's dance competition. They also got some kind of special award at one competition. Tech 3B got platinum at both and geesh I don't remember what all else, but they also got a golden ticket to worlds and I think a 1st over all and choreography award. At one comp one of the girls in that group raked in all of the special awards and was called up for multiple things. Then we all danced together and got I think a high gold, not sure what else and another golden ticket. So over all it felt very successful for our dance studio who only does ballet at these. I don't know if it was judged any harder. I don't have anything to compare it to since this was our 1st 2 comps. we'd ever gone to. Except for the tech 3B girls. I did think we didn't fit in and felt like a fish out of water. It was all so not us. Even with that said it was a good beneficial experience.


We're definitely at the same studio, lol! Well, for ballet at least. DD only takes the technique ballet classes there, she doesn't perform with them because she is on a separate competition team. However, she does do Nutcracker! Your girls were great!
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