3 Tips for a Platinum Plus Dance Competition Experience
December 21st, 2016 by Mariel Rosen
By award-winning dancer and TEDx speaker Jess Grippo.
One of the biggest mistakes I see young dancers make is focusing only on what happens on-stage.
If you’re only focused on winning or getting things “perfect” on stage, you’re missing out on a huge part of the dance competition experience.
Sure, it’s nice to win, but the trophy isn’t the only measure of success.
The way you show up on stage in the spotlight is a reflection of how you’ve been showing up backstage – both in those moments right before the show, and in the larger sense of all the time you prepare and practice.
Here are 3 ways to enhance your backstage experience so that you can feel confident and proud, no matter what happens on stage.
Look at your “competitors” as friends.
Do you ever take it upon yourself to be the judge, rather than let the actual judges do their work? It’s easy to get caught in the mode of judgement and comparison, as in: “I can kick my leg higher than they can…” “Ew, I don’t like their costumes…”
The truth is, everyone is coming into the competition with their own unique flair and abilities. Giving other dancers a judgemental eye, or even worse, being outwardly mean to them, will not only hurt people’s feelings, but it will also lower the energy that you have for your own performance.
Instead of seeing your fellow dancers as competitors, look at them as friends. Look for the things you love about their costumes. Admire their dance moves and take them in as inspiration for your own. The more positive energy you are putting out there, the more positive energy will come back to you – and that will only do good things for your performance.
Make it about something bigger than the competition.
Have you ever thought about WHY you dance? Is it because it makes you feel happy, or because you love your dance friends? Does it help you forget about the stress of school or family stuff?
And beyond what it can do for you personally, think about the positive impact it could have on the world: inspiring others to dance, being a force of creative expression and love, and demonstrating what true dedication and strength can be. THAT is powerful stuff!
Take a moment to think about this before you go on stage, or even better – write it down or share it openly with your fellow dancers. Sit in a circle with each other backstage and take turns sharing one reason why you love to dance, or, something or someone you want to dedicate your dance to.
Enjoy the process and celebrate no matter what.
The competition results are one small part of a much larger process. While it’s ok to be sad or disappointed for not winning, you don’t have to let it get you down for too long.
Remember everything that you can be proud of: the way you showed up for your rehearsals, your kindness and encouragement of fellow dancers, your passion and dedication towards something you love, etc. None of that is lost, whether or not you win or lose the competition!
Connect with your students, teachers, and dance friends after the show to share more about what you are proud of and celebrate those things together. There is much to be learned from every experience, and all of it will help you grow as a person and an artist.
Jess Grippo is passionate about guiding people towards creating a dance life that is healthy, fulfilling, and unique. She’s an award-winning dancer, writer, TEDx speaker, creativity coach, and founder of You Can Dance Again. Join her Creative Fridays community for a weekly nudge (via email) for your creative soul: http://jessgrippo.com