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Why Do You Compete?


51 Teachers-Studio Owners Replied Or LIKED The Post On The NEW DANCE TEACHER NETWORK Facebook Group



I asked this before, so I’ll ask it again. Why do you compete? The current model is over 50 years old, you complain about venues, entry fees, backstage help (negative mainly), parents and students not adhering to your contracts-handbooks, poor judging and more. Answer this question with a list of reasons, do not mention ANY event. How is it a benefit, the current model, to your bottom line?


I began competing in 1973 with DMA #5 New England, and then opened my own comp

American Dance Invitationals in 1977, I designed the first ADJUDICATED SCORE SYSTEM in 1977 for ADI. I transitioned into public education in 1991 first as an English teacher, then as a technology integration specialist working for The Gates Foundation teaching public educators how to use technology in their classrooms.

As a public educator I created a dance team for the high school I taught at, and my ideas about how dance competitions should be organized and scored changed. You can read more about my new models by clicking the links at the bottom of the page.

I am not listing your names due to privacy concerns.


Teacher #1

The benefit is simply another opportunity to perform. Honestly, I see little benefit other than that. However, given my personal feelings about the expense, the hassle, the stress, the time commitment etc, I announced we were dialing back our competitions for next season (currently we have 4 regionals + nationals if you’re on the senior/advanced team and 2 Regionals +nationals on the other 2 squads). We are still a very small and growing studio. With this announcement I had three families tell me they would look for other studios because competition is so very important in our geographic area to these dancers. Plastic trophies, literally dictate their self-esteem. I don’t get it, but I also can’t risk losing kids because there are seven other studios within 10 miles that we are competing with for kids.


Teacher #2

We just added another competition because “ there are not enough opportunities to perform”… even though I added a winter showcase a a second summer performance at a local outdoor festival!



Teacher #3

A former studio where I worked added a holiday show in Nov/Dec and a charity show in Feb in addition to the recital in May. Three performance opportunities instead of competitions


Teacher #4

Great question- sometimes I wonder why we do. I would love to stop competing but I know my students would be upset. To me it is so much work and money and disappointment. I don’t think it’s fun at all. I’m a small studio so we only do two a year and that is plenty for me.


Teacher #5

I’m honestly not a fan of competition in general simply because I’ve watched it change so many people. That being said, the benefits from it that I’ve witnessed over many decades: Performance Opportunities, Friendships, Raising Industry Standards and pushing choreographers to think outside of the box, Teaching Work Ethic, Sportsmanship, and Determination.


Teacher #6

I think it's about finding competitions that align with your values as a studio

It's taken us time to find that!

Plus we do sponsorship t shirts & require each team member to raise a set amount. Generally enough to cover a base team members entry fees for the season (meaning like 2 groups at all comps) but allow them to raise more. Most of our team pays all of their entry fees like this


Teacher #7

Honestly- my area is a highly competitive one. And everyone here lives on the thrill of competing.

But honestly, I think that competitions are starting to become more of a burden than a reward to many dancers.

I’ve seen in the past 30 years that it’s gone from : performance opportunities to full pressure of meeting expectations from same age groups/difficulty of skills to mental breakdown for dancers, teachers and parents.

For dancers: it’s seems that if they don’t walk out with a triple diamond award their entire season is done. The pressure to look like every elite dancer, even tho they are novice, is draining and taunting. Novice divisions being saturated by fouetté turns, gymnastic passes and advanced sequences crush the novice dancer. Because as directors we notice the novice soloist who then dances with the senior elite divisions and comps do nothing about it.

For teachers:

The fact that we have to produce, even sometimes pay out of our own pocket, for costumes/music/out choreo because we’re exhausted and “Amazon” anything is exhausting. For those of us that have kids ourselves it’s even worse. I’m starting to feel that “studio kid” is not ok for my kid if he wants to do art, sports or just be a kid at home. Dragging him to the studio and making him take class because I don’t have a sitter for him shouldn’t be a price he pays because of my decision to be a business owner. And that also took a toll on my relationship as well. The studio took over my entire life. We love what we do, but we need boundaries too.

For parents:

A LOT of parents in my area are living tightly these days and the comp fees together with keeping their kids happy is causing strain in their homes. I’ve started to think that I rather have a happy family paying tuition, occasionally a comp, performances for the community and pop-ups for special events for the state than a family taking out credit cards to pay for a competition.

I also have decided to dial down on comps next season. I plan to attend more conventions, add statewide tournaments and dance related activities and perhaps even one of those dance the magic or cruise trips.

After the prices and deadlines and pressure from the competition companies, I rather have happy dancers, happier parents, and a calmer season next season.

Competition just isn’t way at it used to be.


Teacher #8

The program I run now is strictly recreational. The 3 studios I worked for previously all competed and they all had something to complain about. Honestly I'm glad to have put dance competitions behind me nearly 4 years ago. There's really not much benefits besides performance opportunities, refining stage presence, and building confidence being in front of people, but even then the cons outweigh the pros these days in my opinion.


Teacher #9

More time on stage, seeing what other studios are doing, creating bonds with peers from a shared

experience, recognition for hard work.... there is a lot to love even through the stress


Teacher #10

We don't - because of all the things mentioned. And the fact that dance doesn't need to be scored to be enjoyed.

I have worked at competition studios. I get the hype, the cost ($ and time)just don't feel worth it to my SO, company director or myself to compete. Dance can be just for the sake of art, too.. It doesn't have to have a score or a trophy or some random judge we don't know telling us it's good or what's bad about it.

Teacher #11

My favorite part of competitions is getting to see other studios/dancers routines! My students and I always leave a competition inspired and find ourselves the weeks after talking about all of our favorite dances we saw! As a more rec/intermediate studio, it gives the kids more opportunity to perform and motivates them to push themselves more than they may at a recital for friends and family. Of course there are flaws in the system and not every kid/parent is going to be happy all the time, but I think it’s also important for kids to learn they may not always be the best at everything and that they need to work hard and win/lose as a team. We take the judges critiques with a grain of salt, consider what they have to say but ultimately my kids just want to perform and be on stage!


Teacher #12

Every single kid on our team we see improvement in and they grow so much more than kids that are not on the team. The extra rehearsals, expectations, dedication, and feedback from an outside source all leads to growth.

We haven’t competed yet this season and I observed a class of 7-8 year olds. A few were team members and the rest weren’t. There was a noticeable difference in the ability to pick up and retain choreography and performance among the team dancers.


Teacher #13

My competitive experience made me who I am today and allowed me to network with lots of great dancers and teachers who made a great impact on my life. I want to provide that same experience for my dancers!

We do it for the passion, not the praise!

There’s a lot of negativity in every aspect in life, but you must choose to find the positive.

The hard work and dedication is where the majority of my focus lies. The competition portion is just an opportunity to showcase your craft and to get feedback so you can improve.


Teacher #14

I LOVE IT!! I love seeing kids put it all out there and be vulnerable and be proud of themselves. I love meeting and seeing other dancers and studios. It has overall been a great experience for me and my dancers. We are there to learn, hear what other professionals see that we in studio do not. It is something that the dancers work hard for.


Teacher #15

I truly believe there are wonderful aspects of being a competitive dancer. Just like a select baseball team. Everyone has there part to play but as a team we have to work together to accomplish our goals. I am the owner of my studio and I teach 75% of the classes and do 17 of the 39 comp routines. All my own choreography. At my studio I don’t always focus so much on the winning aspect of it as I do the team camaraderie, work ethic, confidence, team building and the building of techniques and musically through a routine. It helps my dancers strive to be better. Being able to perform on a stage and learning from it. It helps me become a better coach and mentor to my dancers. I watch, learn and reflect every single competition. Being able to get on that stage perform watch the videos and reflect to be better is what dancers are always doing. It’s an art form. We are there to make the audience and judges feel something and hopefully learn to correct something in the process. I also think my dancers love going and watching, cheering, having team lunch ect with their team. Competition is extremely expensive and sometimes there are bad ones sure, or a rough weekend but that’s with every thing right now. I can go buy a $20 jimmy John’s sandwich or have a huge project to do at work and it makes it tough to get through or maybe I don’t like everybody I work with, but I still have to respect my job, people and show common decency and work through it, it’s all in perspective. Competition dance isn’t for everyone. I know and I understand that and there are different competitions for different reasons and different aspects of what studios need or want you have to find what works for you. Every one wants to win but not everyone can. I truly hope my team has a fantastic season and builds better relationships and has FUN while dancing on a stage with lights and all the cheering! Not sure if this is what you were looking for but it’s our why we compete.


Teacher #16

We’ve been competing since the late 80’s. I home grow my comp dancers. I put pretty much put any dancer who shows any promise of showing promise into a comp class. I love to see what their first competition experience does for their self confidence, their personalities and the spark I see when we come back to classes. We are not considered an intense studio, but we hold our own. We may not be technically perfect but my students will entertain. Having fun and doing their best is what it is all about.


Teacher #17

For my daughter as a dancer, I always thought competition motivated her to be better. It gave her other voices of critiques to either reinforce what the teachers were saying or to point out something that we weren’t seeing. As a studio dancer, she felt the stress and pressure of competition but when she got to college she had the skills she needed and just performed because she loved it!

As a teacher, it motivated me to be more creative in my choreography. I also learned a lot from the judge’s critiques.


Teacher #18

Its sets goal posts for movement and a timeline to aim for. Good for teachers and students


Teacher #19

It enhances student growth, creates a great culture with kids and families, they have goals to work for, kids learn discipline, teamwork, perseverance, and builds confidence.

I’ve seen the positive culture it creates within a studio. Teamwork skills are being built too! I appreciate how it makes the kids work together. Some great life lessons.


Teacher #20

As a former competition dancer I always appreciated conventions. Being able to not only showcase our dances but be able to take class from different instructors and different students from studios all over was so special. It was never about winning for me- it was a whole community. I also loved glitter


Teacher #21

They aren’t “opportunities” to perform when the parents are paying hundreds of dollars for that opportunity. The $ goes to a competition company and not to your dance studio

It’s become “pay” to play and excludes those without the disposable income to pay entry fees/travel/hotels.


Teacher #22

For me its the chance for them to perform on stage, the memories of the weekend together, (team dinners and swims) watching amazing other dancers and teams and getting inspired etc!



SKILLS Sport-Dance Games® and Dance4Kids Dance Games For The Recreational Dancer® are the ALTERNATIVE to current studio dance competition model offering teachers, studio owners, school dance team coaches, and after school enrichment programs event ownership. It is a competitive achievement for what you offer in your dance classrooms, based in proper ballet training for the four domains of dance education.


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