We live in a stressful and competitive world as it is, and our children and young people feel it all the time in school. As a parent, you may feel like you just want your child to experience the pure joy of learning ballet in a non-pressurising environment. The last thing you want is for your child to crumble under pressure in an activity that they enjoy so much. But ballet competitions are not always cutthroat, and many children actually thrive in competitive training.
One of the main reasons is that for many children, ballet isn’t just an area of interest but it also inspires them to dream, aspire, have curiosities and love for this art form. We all have an intrinsic motivation to get better at the things that interest us, and it is no different for our children. More often than not, they will take it upon themselves to get better at their craft by stretching and practising more in their own free time, or reading about it, or watching Youtube videos of their favourite dancers.
Competitions are an outlet where your child gets to express their dreams and work towards something that they care deeply about. Here are some other reasons why we think competitive training creates a positive experience for children:
It pushes their physical abilities. Competition dancers are trained in a smaller class where they receive constant feedback, and their technique improves rapidly because of the rigour and repetition.
The advantage of learning outside of classwork. Dancers learn repertoire which they otherwise wouldn’t get the chance to in a typical group class setting.
Setting goals and achieving them. When we teach our young dancers to set goals, we are also teaching them the value of self-responsibility, how and where to set focus, and how to manage their time between academics and ballet.
The value of hard work. Excellence comes only by consistency, and maintaining your pace over a sustained period of time. Children will see that talent alone is not enough, and you will need to put in hard work for something that you really want.
The value of being a good sport and resilience. Competition training is tough, and you don’t always win. But even if you don’t, you can celebrate someone else’s success. Learning to overcome disappointments is a big part of every dancer’s journey, and this resilience stays with your child even after the competition is over and done with.
As a teacher, one of the most wonderful things is seeing a young person discover that they have more potential than they thought, and they can achieve more than the limits they have set for themselves. Competitions often bring out the best in our students, not only in their technique and performance, but also in their mindsets and work ethic. Coaching a student for competitions is our way of saying we believe in them, we believe that they are capable of achieving more, and we’ll celebrate all of their wins and milestones.