As I think about the upcoming comp, there’s lots of conflicting emotions. I enjoy doing competitions, but I also am apprehensive. Not because of performing in front of a crowd, but all kinds of other stuff. Last night I was thinking about last year at Heritage Classic and I started to remember details I haven’t thought of for a while.
In my age category, there aren’t a lot of competitors unless you go to the big comps — which seem to be especially pricey. I don’t see the point in going to the little ones when I’m competing against myself and one other person. (That’s just my personality and limited budget speaking. ) 😉
So, last year I competed in scholarships as well as single dance at Heritage. I did intermediate and full bronze level. In intermediate I did great. There wasn’t too much competition and I got lots of great placings. So, I was going up to get my little token for placings and I smiled and thanked the judge who was passing them out. I’ve seen this judge before at other comps and in pictures online. Well, he didn’t acknowledge me — not one time — and I went up to get tokens from him multiple times. He had “dead eyes” toward me — if you will. He didn’t even acknowledge that I was a human being, let alone a dancer at this competition. So, I watched him pass out tokens to some others. He was very selective about who he looked at and spoke to. I noticed a pattern. He greeted and smiled at dancers who were well-known, incredibly rich, and who “looked” like the perfect dancer. Anyone else received the cold shoulder.
Flash forward a few weeks and I saw an interview with him online. He was asked what he looked for in a pro-am dance couple. And he said that first off, if they didn’t have professional clothes, makeup and hair, and the right “look” (I hope he didn’t mean physique, but I’m not that naive.) he didn’t even look at them anymore and automatically placed them at the bottom. The interviewer pursued by asking, what about their skill in dancing? And the judge basically said he didn’t care, because unless they came looking every inch the shape and style of the “dancer” he didn’t even notice.
Now, this particular interview irritated me. I hated that he placed such an emphasis on looks that he didn’t even evaluate the skill. But, I give him props for admitting it publicly.
I don’t fit the stereotypical dancer. I don’t look like one and I definitely don’t have the cash flow to buy the high-end dresses,etc.
So when I went back and looked, I saw that he consistently put me towards the bottom of rankings. He also placed other dancers very high whose technique seemed questionable — even to my limited experience.
On the flip side, other judges placed me very high. I looked up interviews of these judges and they talked more about skill and artistry. So, what?
When it comes to comps, I’ve just learned that the more judges the better!!! 🙂 Ok, seriously though, you have no idea what motivates a judge to evaluate the way they do. It is opinion. I had it explained to me this way. If a judge recognizes you and/or your teacher, you tend to get better placements. So, those students who compete once, twice or more a month, take coaching from those particular judges, have multiple amazing costumes, dance with a famous teacher, etc. have the edge over everyone else. Now, the heats go so quickly and the adjudicators have so many couples to look at that if they know what you’re “capable” of, they may place you higher than someone they’ve never seen before — no matter how badly you may have danced. Let’s face it, we’re all human. 🙂
The only thing you can do is spend a boat-load of money and be recognized or just be so incredibly good you can’t be overlooked.
Wouldn’t both be nice? Haha. There isn’t really a point to this post — I’m just reminiscing and mentally getting myself ready. Just sifting thru memories.
The intensity and focus in my lessons have definitely been upped now that we’re focused in on competing in 6 weeks. I’m competing in 10 dances. Scholarships and single dances in both smooth and rhythm. This year I’m doing the rising star heats, but only to get more dancing in … I’m still not sure why they’re opened to people like me. (I’m not a “rising star”) I asked my teacher to explain it, and he waxed eloquent and I still don’t understand. I chalk it up to language barrier? 🙂
Well, I have a lot more to say about practice and stuff … But I guess I’ll save that for the next post.