How do you deal with dancers feeling inadequate at dance competitions against other studios with a great reputation?
The had some great ways of dealing with, and preventing, the pain, frustration and overwhelming feelings that can come along with that “not good enough” attitude that gets stuck in our own and our dancers’ heads.
I emphasize the importance of focusing on their individual performances and not on overalls. They can only control what they do on the stage and what they do in preparation (technique class!!).
Remind students they are competing against a score, not another dancer. Also teachers should make sure they place students in correct categories. Don’t play dancers off one another.
I try to focus my students on personal progress. Have you put in your best efforts in rehearsal? If so then your best is all you can do. We celebrate the little victories like moving up in their adjudications or not being corrected by a judge for something they’ve been working on. Also, I make sure to point out really great performers from other studios and encourage my dancers to watch and learn from how they command the stage.
I think it’s important to prepare the dancers in the rehearsal process to not be intimidated by other studios. Reinforcing that their confidence in what they are bringing to the stage should be their focus is important to me. At the same time, being inspired by other great dancers is always encouraged.
How else can we get out of our own heads and use more advanced dancers to inspire us and our students? Share your thoughts in the comments.