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re: Are Competition & Social Dance the Only Choices?
Posted by Matyas
8/14/1999  1:45:00 AM
I am a competition dancer in International style and I also dance socially. It is true that I do not visit the local Saturday social dance club every week so I rehearse more with my partner. (I was in NY at the end of last year and attended social dance evenings in Manhatten.)

So I see no reason why someone could not compete and rehearse and go to social dance places also.

The dance competition is about technique and not artistic values. I think that technique is one tool for good artistic presentation.

I think that being compered to others will help me and my partner and us as a couple to improve our skills and so enjoy dancing more and more. I watch other dancers and look out for qualities that appeal to me, and I choose teachers who can teach how to achive those. So I think competition is a valuable feedback to me. And again about my technique and not my artistic expressions. Competitions provides a focus, a goal, an excitement, a sport like attitude which I need for hard work.

Of course the artistic expression is very important to me on a competition I want the audience to enjoy my performance, beside that I want to make my partner and myself happy. I pity the judges: they have to evalute the couples' technique instead of solely enjoying the performance...

Finding a partner for competitive dancing can happen at a social dance place. It happened to me and my partner. Of course later we realized that we had already met before at studios (she lives in Houston I in Austin) and at competitions. When I started to look for a new partner I went to a dance place in Houston and we met there.

But, the point is that both of us were involved in competition dancing already at that time. So my suggestion is to try to find a partner who also expressed serious interest in dancing by taking lessons or going to competitions (at least watching) etc. I write serious not because I think that social dancing cannot be serious, but to emphasize that preparing for competitions and doing regular rehearsal requires quite a commitment regarding your time and money.

And about money. It is very important to get an amateur partner which is more beneficial than doing pro-am. You need 3-5 times as much practice as much lessons you take, and it is much cheaper with an amateur partner. And personally I beleive that you even get farther in the long run with your dance knowledge. So get a partner, almost anyone would do for a start. Remember you do not have to plan dancing with this one partner for the rest of your dance carrier. Someone said once that she does not find a partner who is similarly committed as she is. Even in this case I suggest to take the best avialable partner. Many man develop obsession to dancing along the way - like me - and have not a well defined goal at the beginning.

There was a comment about competition dancers that some of them look down upon social dancers. I do not think it is more true than that social dancers look down upon competition dancers. On rec.arts.dance some posters regularly paint a picture of competition dancers as being unable to social dance which is the real form opposed to the "fixed routine" dancing and that they unable to lead and follow etc. I do both that says all.

A competition is an opportunity to socialize as a matter of fact. You can support your friends, help each other with the preparation and you can go out to eat or drink afterwards to discuss what happened etc. Of course it would work better if more people were involved in amatuer competitions around here in Texas.


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