How many of us do our daily work to receive validation for our efforts via a trophy or an award? My guess would be none of us. We work because we are passionate, because we want to make a difference, because we want to inspire others, and because we love our art. Sometimes, when we invest an incredible amount of hard work, a trophy or award might be the by-product; and, sometimes, we receive no recognition at all. That’s just how it goes.

Somewhere along the way, this perspective has been lost within the majority of the competitive dance industry. For some, the trophy and the award are the central focus of the experience. The industry has responded to this perception with more awards, more levels, and a competitive driven schedule-in fact, we have almost reached a point where we have to ask “what’s the point?”

I asked myself this question throughout this past year. The point is that competition is a wonderful vehicle to serve as  a component of a child’s dance training; however, it must only be used a vehicle. Competition is not the be all and end all. It is, ultimately, a dead-end path, as a career as a professional dance competitor (in the dance studio industry) is in-existent. Rather, it is a training ground for students to gain confidence and hone their skills- then, if they pursue a professional career, it will be in commercial dance, concert dance, ballet companies, or theatrical/show-based performances. That IS our industry. That IS why we train our students whether they dance professionally or pursue a myriad of other career paths.

Let’s think about perspective. Let’s think about the experience. And, let’s not just say we are doing that- let’s really take action and DO IT. That’s the only way to create change, and collectively, we have to do it as an industry.

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