Can you believe that competition season is here? We are so excited for our wonderful company to take all of their hard work to the stage! The weekends are long, but fulfilling for our performers, and the work doesn’t stop there. Once our dancers return, we review the scores and judges’ comments to prepare for the next one. Negative criticisms give you the chance to grow and improve, while positive criticisms give us a reason to celebrate. A positive critique doesn’t mean you stop working, and a negative critique doesn’t mean you stop trying. This is all part of the balance that comes with being a performer, especially a performer who wants to continue in the industry. Smart dancers know a few tricks to get the most out of their competition feedback.

Opinions of the Few

At most regional competitions there are only three judges. It’s important to realize that competition feedback is truly just the opinions of a few individuals. While you should listen for ways to improve your performance, smart dancers remember that three opinions don’t have to carry that much weight. You can still feel proud of a performance that the judges may or may not have understood.

Competition Feedback Doesn’t Replace Your Teacher

When you perform at a competition, you aren’t the only one being judged. Your teachers’ choreography and costume choices are being critiqued as well. When in doubt, listen to and trust your teacher. Some things can’t be changed once they are set, and not all choreographers are going to agree. At the end of the day, your teachers are the ones working with you week after week. Trust that we know what is best for you as a dancer and that we will make adjustments where we deem necessary. At the same time, this is why you and your teacher will go over your critiques together – fresh eyes from judges can sometimes shed light on new opportunities.

Blind Ranking

The judges sit for hours at a time, doing nothing but scoring routine after routine. Once the dance is over, score sheets are handed off to a separate person to be tabulated, and ranked. The judges never even see who wins. Judge’s Choice awards are how the judges can highlight some of their favorite routines, even if those routines don’t end up getting first place.

Competitive Advantage

Competitions don’t just yield rankings and results; they also teach you time management, patience, and sportsmanship. Remember that one of the best compliments a studio can receive through competition feedback is in the way that you treat other performers, competition staff, and each other.

One major purpose of competition for PDT is for you to grow as a dancer on the stage. We believe in the positive effects of added stage time. Additionally, seeing other dancers perform can give you the tools to improve even faster. After just one competition, you’ll be able to look back on August, and see how much being a part of the company has helped you grow as a dancer, performer, and person.

Knowing what to do with your competition feedback is how company members improve and become mature dancers.