On My Mind | Where your true success lies

Words from the publisher

As we produce our final competition issue, I’m grateful for the competition and convention businesses that have supported Dance Studio Life. As someone who grew up competing as a student, prepared students for competition as a teacher, and served as a competition director, I have always known the good that the competition industry offers our community.

Photo by Mim Adkins

To keep up in today’s competition scene, educators must offer students a high standard of training—and we are all better teachers and choreographers because of it. Our community is filled with professional dancers who were inspired to be the best they could be by their competition experiences.

On several occasions I have been criticized by competition directors who believe I am against dance competition. Not true! I believe competition needs to be a part of what we do, but not everything we do. We cannot judge our success by awards won, but by the students who develop a passion for dance, regardless of the skill level they attain or the awards they may or may not achieve.

In the U.S., approximately 20 percent of children enrolled in dance class are preschool students. Recreational students account for 65 percent, and 15 percent are competitive or pre-professional students. Many schools focus on the 15 percent, which leaves the remaining 85 percent of their clientele feeling like they are second-class citizens.

If this continues, our schools will shrink in enrollment because only about 15 percent of students will feel that they have had a fulfilling dance experience. Though competition should be a part of what we do, we must focus our attention on instilling passion for dance in every child who passes through our classroom doors. That passion—that joy of dance—is what most parents and kids seek. Dance is about losing yourself in the music and the movement, and that is something that every child can achieve.

I wish you an awesome competition season. Yet let me remind you where your true success lies—in the children who, as adults, will fondly remember their once-a-week dance class and end-of-year recital. Let us be exemplary mentors, leaders, and teachers to every child who wants to dance.