Many parents question whether or not to allow their child to dance in a competitive program. There are many benefits to competition as well as a few negative. I would like to take some time and clarify some of the pros and cons. It is my goal to help all parents understand the specifics of the competitive dance program so that they may decide if it is the right program for their children.
Competition dancers can start as young as 5 years old. I do not recommend beginning any earlier than this; I suggest that at this age children should be accepted by teacher recommendation. First year competitors may put a lot of pressure on themselves until they know what to expect, as the competition atmosphere is quite different than that of a recital. Usually after the first competition, a dancer will know if competition is right for them. If they love the spotlight, performing to the audience and giving it their all, competition will most likely be a good fit for the dancer.
A competitive program can be as simple as attending a class once a week, or as demanding as joining a dance company that holds 3-4 rehearsals per week. I suggest that all new competitive dancers start out slowly and then work their way up to a level of rehearsal and dedication that fits their lifestyle and schedule. It is definite however that the more one dances/practices the better and quicker they will improve. If a dancer is taking a competition class that rehearses once a week, I highly recommend adding a ballet technique class on top of that. Most studios can schedule these classes back to back therefore the dancer would only have to attend one day a week. This is a great way to see if he or she likes not only competitive dance but the commitment as well.
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