The lights go black, the curtain closes, it’s the end of another performance on stage. Exhilarating, rewarding, euphoric, buzzing, adrenalin, unstoppable, fearless, unbreakable, tender, peace, unified. These are just some of the words that instantly come to mind when I think about performing for an audience and the feeling I had at the end of a show.
What do you feel? Why do you dance? Do you ever stop to think that the point of working so hard, day in, day out, is because you are lucky enough to get the opportunity to tell a story and take an audience on a journey? Maybe of love, despair, hope, magic, solidarity, the list goes on…
Dance is not a competition, dance is the art of movement and performing. A dancer is an artist and an athlete, that is why we are so unique.
Why has it become nasty, competitive, about winning, demeaning your friend beside you, comparison and tricks?
Where has passion, love, discipline, compassion, art, line and story telling disappeared to?
I am a huge believer in using competitions and eisteddfods as a tool for a young dancer; it provides stage experience, necessary pressure, influences a dancer to work harder and achieve optimal technique and most importantly provides the opportunity to share their passion and love of dance to an audience. Why work so hard in the studio perfecting and training if you never ever get the chance to perform?!
However, I do have an issue with the magnitude of competitions, competitiveness and ‘importance’ of winning that is placed on young dancers at these events.
Just hear me out for a little longer...
Swimmers, sprinters, gymnasts etc are athletes, all training and competing because their professional careers are based on 1st, 2nd & 3rd. They are based on time and scores. Dancers are not, their professional goal is to be in a company with sometimes one hundred other dances to work together to create a story, a message or concept to share with an audience and take them on a journey. Where does being number 1 fit in? It doesn’t! Dancers should be supporting each other, working together to create innovative and exciting movement that challenges human perspective and defies gravity.
Don’t get me wrong, competition is healthy and important for development. (I am a very competitive person) But, the reason I dance is because I am forever passionate and the feeling of performing on stage is the most incredible moment in time. I haven’t delivered this message to say cut all competitions out of your schedule, I am writing this message to remind you of passion, artistry and supporting the people around you. Remember why you dance, and remember that even if you don’t place in a competition, it was one persons opinion and you still have just as much of a chance at achieving your professional career as a dancer.
Just a little food for thought!
“Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion.” - Martha Graham
Yours in dance & fitness,
Rebecca Hall xx