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Articles: How do Competitions impact concert dance

29 posts in this topic

The competition world is for the uber wealthy. If you want to drink the kool-aid go for it!

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Very interesting article. It's not a world that we participate in, but the article raised some interesting points.

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They talk about yagp...a ballet comp as well. They also talk about complexions.

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I definitely think the worlds are colliding and that the sought-after dancer of the future is going to need experience in both. While YAGP and Showstopper are two different animals, our experience at YAGP has "comp kids" doing quite well. And, we know "conservatory kids" who have transitioned into competitions such as Showstopper with success. A well-rounded dancer with solid technique and a fearless attitude will most likely go far in ballet.

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I think that the competitions give kids performing experience in a high stakes, high pressure environment, which translates into the development of a certain type of skill that is useful in the professional world. I don't think that comps are the be all/end all. And I can see a time when DD takes a break for a while, but they seem really important in promoting a kid who is 16-17 to get a job in a very crowded job market.

 

In fact, DD was talking to me last night about her current variation and she said, "I am really learning to push myself, to go beyond what I think I can do." Honestly, companies want that.

 

The down side is that we are probably growing a generation of kids who will struggle both dance wise and psychologically in the corps.

 

And I would say that wealth is certainly defined subjectively but I am not uber wealthy and we do YAGP.

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I should have specified, I was talking about "comp kids" families being uber wealthy, not ballet students who may participate in YAGP.

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"I am really learning to push myself, to go beyond what I think I can do."

I lovelovelove this!

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In a competition world, everyone gets to know everyone. And with Social Media, the dancers that do well have a following. These competitions make you kind of famous. When it comes to an Artistic Director hiring a dancer, if it is someone they have seen year after year at YAGP (both on stage and in the master classes at the regionals and the finals), it makes sense that they would offer a contract to someone they have seen grow and improve, work hard, and perform well. These dancers become more of a known commodity. If dancer A is familiar due to YAGP exposure, and dancer B is sending in a tape hoping for an audition, dancer A has a huge advantage. And it is sad because it takes an awful lot of money to do YAGP well.

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"I am really learning to push myself, to go beyond what I think I can do."

I lovelovelove this!

 

 

I do too, and honestly, that's where the value really lies. .. how she "places" becomes superfluous. . .

Just have to remind myself that sitting in the audience during awards :happy:

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Both of my DD's grew up as competition kids, with DD#1 doing competitions until she was a freshman in college. As a college concert dancer, she is still known for her stage presence and performance quality, which may be due- in part to her competition exposure as she is a very shy person that transforms onstage.

 

DD#2 left the jazz competition world at age 11 to study ballet full- time. She did compete in YAGP for several years and enjoyed that as well. She is now a company trainee for a ballet company and is also complemented for her performance quality and stage presence.

 

We are not uber wealthy by any means and both of my DD's will say that their competition background was just part of their dance journey. They were fortunate to have had excellent teachers and training during all aspects of their training.

 

As has been said many times, There are many paths to Rome....

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So very true, learningdance, and the pushing of one's self includes overcoming the fear of performing in front of representatives from companies around the world! My dd has found that experience to be invaluable. SI auditions are a piece of cake in comparison. Also, scholarship offers are given to many dancers who aren't top finishers and who don't even make it to the final round. Dd has been fortunate to have received excellent corps work at her home schools, so that isn't an issue for us.

 

As far as the cost of YAGP being prohibitive, there are ways to save a great deal of money:

 

  • If your studio's YAGP fees are high, consider the possibility of entering your dk as an independent, and shop around for a coach. We know participants who are coached by former professional dancers who teach part-time at small schools and don't charge an arm and a leg.
  • Ask your coach if she can teach you a contemporary piece that has been used before to save the fee for new choreography. Believe me, the judges won't remember or care. Keep the contemporary costume simple, a leotard and dance shorts or a simple dance dress is fine.
  • Travel to the competitions without the coach accompanying you. Some coaches really don't mind skipping the whole thing, especially former professional dancers who teach part-time at small schools and now have children.
  • For the NYC finals, stay across the river in NJ. Sometimes, this will give you a beautiful view of the NYC skyline! This past time, our lodging was about one third the cost of the YAGP hotel. It included free parking, a free full breakfast, and it was right across the street from a bus stop with constant runs into Manhattan and returns late at night. We were able to buy our round-trip tickets right there on the bus.
  • Shop for a second-hand tutu on Ebay. I just sold a beautiful one for $150. When you're finished with it, resell it on Ebay.

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I definitely think the worlds are colliding and that the sought-after dancer of the future is going to need experience in both. While YAGP and Showstopper are two different animals, our experience at YAGP has "comp kids" doing quite well. And, we know "conservatory kids" who have transitioned into competitions such as Showstopper with success. A well-rounded dancer with solid technique and a fearless attitude will most likely go far in ballet.

Pensive, I have been saying this for YEARS! There is no company that wants a dancer who can only dance 'one way'. Dancers who are hired for jobs are dancers who are well rounded, who have probably done some competition dance, probably some jazz, some tap, some musical theater.

 

I wish I could "Like" your post a thousand times :clapping:

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I probably shouldn't have posted my first comment, as we probably all have different opinons about what "uber wealthy" means. The competition school we left had parents spending 25-30K per year on their dance kid, while still going away on Bahama vacations and sending all of their kids to private schools. It was a very uncomfortable environment for us to be in.

 

Yes, many roads to Rome. I'm choosing the less expensive one.

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When it comes to an Artistic Director hiring a dancer, if it is someone they have seen year after year at YAGP (both on stage and in the master classes at the regionals and the finals), it makes sense that they would offer a contract to someone they have seen grow and improve, work hard, and perform well. ... And it is sad because it takes an awful lot of money to do YAGP well.

I wanted to address this because DD has a friend who has done YAGP for several years now. This past year, she got an encouraging note from a judge who remembered her from years past about her improvement. This is not a family who is "uber wealthy" nor who spends a lot of money on YAGP. Nor has this child ever placed in a regional Top 10. But it does show that judges remember more folks than the "superstars" who consistently win awards.

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