Do Competitions Make a Dance Career?

Posted by on Dec 15, 2014 in Blog | Comments Off on Do Competitions Make a Dance Career?

albuquerque dance classesDoes your studio participate in competitions as part of their training philosophy? Many noteworthy dancers with professional careers owe their “discovery” to a competition. Dancers who compete well can land themselves a spot at a number of prestigious schools and companies around the world. Competitions like Youth America Grand Prix often provide dancers with necessary exposure to Directors of schools and companies to which they might not otherwise have access.

Don’t Be the Bull in the China Shop

Dancers who gain the experience of competing are often skilled at performing and commanding the stage; however, a pitfall of competitions is that students who have competition-focused training can be like a “bull in a china shop:” able to complete lots of tricks and skills, but lacking in grace and refinement. Students may also lack a well-rounded training as they practice primarily the skills needed for their variations above all others.

At Magnify Dance Center in Albuquerque, NM, career-minded dancers are trained in a conservatory setting, which focuses on mastering every skill well, at its most basic form, before moving on to tricks and feats. Here, dancers learn how to do a single pirouette well before they learn to do four or five. “We view competition as an extension of a dancer’s training, but not the main focus,” says Wendy Miner, Director of Magnify Dance Center. Many MDC dancers have gained noteworthy recognition at YAGP and other competitions, but the faculty at MDC don’t view competition as the ultimate goal or prime focus.

The Well-Rounded Dancer is for it All

Dancers whose primary focus is classroom training, versus preparing for competition, are able to excel in technical nuance through well-rounded classes which work at refining their skills. At MDC, dancers are asked to take responsibility for their training, which is a great kick-start to a professional career. Additionally, MDC dancers gain stage experience through their associated pre-professional performing company, where they learn to deal with nerves and build stage presence.

Career-minded training schools like Magnify Dance Center also provide their dancers opportunities to train with guest faculty and outside choreographers to gain necessary experience. Miner says, “Our sole focus is on technique and artistry, with an emphasis on refinement, strength and clarity, and because our focus and vision for our dancers is so dialed-in, we are able to provide incredibly balanced training.”