General Dance Discussion > Competition vs. Social Dancing

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by youngsta, Sep 1, 2003.

  1. youngsta

    youngsta Active Member

    Yesterday I took a Cha Cha Cha workshop in which one of the participants was a competitive dancer. I noticed her reactions as she rotated through several of the guys. She was getting pretty frustrated to say the least. Anyway, when she finally rotated over to me she was extremely surprised at the way I danced and gave me compliments on my frame and lead. Then she asked, "Where did you learn to dance? Do you compete?" When I told her no she was surprised. She almost gave me the impression that she couldn't believe I only wanted to be a 'mere' social dancer. Does that seem to be the predominant attitude of competitive dancers out there?
  2. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I don't know what the predominant attitude is. All I know is that, after taking a year of private lessons at a studio that does social dancing only (250+ lessons), I went to a coach that does competitive training, and had to practically start over.

    Stuff like partnership, connection, balance, frame, good footwork, and a lot more things I could name weren't even on the radar scope of my social dance teachers. My competitive coach, though, requires excellence in all these things. He wouldn't even teach me smooth dancing at all until after I spent about six months doing footwork drills at home. Harsh, but true. My social dance teachers had allowed me to learn so many bad habits, that it took months to un-learn many. I'm still un-learning some.
  3. youngsta

    youngsta Active Member

    That's why I could never compete. It just seems to would take the fun out of it for me. I'm hard enough on myself as it is! :lol:
  4. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I'm with you. I don't want to compete. The problem is that social dancing just doesn't satisfy my need for excellence. I don't fit into either world. I want to have great technique, style, and skill, in a positive, supportive, non-competitive environment. That's not going to happen. I think it just doesn't exist.
  5. youngsta

    youngsta Active Member

    So why can't you do that as a social dancer? I know plenty with great technique, style, an skill.
  6. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Maybe I need to change studios, because I don't know good social dancers who have those qualities.

    I know competitive dancers, who are very, very good.
    And I know social dancers, who have fun.
    I haven't yet met anyone who could do both.

    Either I need to change studios, or maybe, just break down and compete. It's not that I don't want to compete. It's that I don't care about winning. I have a beautiful frame, long arms, and some presence on the floor (which I could develop). I could compete. I'm just not individual competitor material. Team comps are a different story. I'm a great cheerleader for the team. Just not for myself.

    Hmmm. Gotta think about this.

  7. d nice

    d nice New Member

    I'd suggest getting out of your studio and social dancing at some of the more popular clubs in Florida. Tampa has some very good swing dancers. Miami of course is all over the salsa scene. You'll find plenty of skilled social dancers in it for the fun.

    I "retired" from comps in '99. Even during my competition years I considered myself a social dancer. I still practice on technique all the time. I insist it of my students competitive or social.
  8. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I've been thinking about this a lot. As much as I trust my coach (and I do), it's my responsibility to make me happy. Which means figuring out where I can find what I need, dance-wise. And an hour or two drive is definitely not an issue.

    Thanks for the input.

  9. d nice

    d nice New Member

    BTW: When I said "get out of yuour studio" I just meant to expand your social dancing, not to stop taking lessons.

    I've noticed that a lot fo studio dancers only dance in the studio. I think it is of utmost important that dancers dance with as many people of different backgrounds as possible.
  10. youngsta

    youngsta Active Member

    I hear you Jenn. I to have thought about competing, but it just seems so cutthroat to me. I LOVE to dance and wouldn't have a problem putting in the sweat and tears. A team competition probably would be the way to go. Until I get serious though, Jack-n-Jill comps only!
  11. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    I would suggest to all of you who have never competed to give it a try . . . then you can make a comparison . . . sometimes it is cutthroat, but I'd lean more to the word "political." You have to play the game!

    I've done teams too, so youngsta, give it a try! Jack and Jills are the most fun! Here you express your style!

    I agree all the way with d nice - get out and do a lot of social dancing . . . floor time gives you experience! Experieince makes you better . . . most of the time!

    I still compete, and have competed since 1993, but again like d nice . . . consider myself a social dancer . . .

    Whenver I see a class on Technique - I'm there. Whenever I see a class on "the basics," I'm there! I work on styling by myself!
  12. youngsta

    youngsta Active Member

    Thanks for the advice Vince. We'll see :wink:

    Jack-n-Jill's are a LOT of fun. I love the randomness of it all.
  13. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    Oh, and youngsta . . . age has nothing to do with it. I recall your answer in the "How old are you?" thread . . . and I'm older. Compeition can make you a much better dancer! The private lessons involved can also get you there quicker . . .
  14. MissAlyssa

    MissAlyssa New Member

    You can always do showcases, you know, the theatrical part of dancing. You will have a routine but get to have fun with it while still showing it off.
  15. MissAlyssa

    MissAlyssa New Member

    Oh yea, and to answer your question...I feel like some competitors feel this way, but only if their time in the spotlight gets to their head (and pumps it up a few sizes). I like to social dance and am looking forward to competing but I will never look down on someone who only social dances. No dance/form of dance is better than another. It's all preference.
  16. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    For me dancing is about fun and enjoyment and not sport or demonstration. This is not saying that I'm against competitive dancing in general; just not for me personally.

    I was asked again last Friday at our dance by one of the instructors if I would do a showcase with her this next Saturday, but declined. I do appreciate that as a compliment though.

  17. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Now showcases, I love. Nothing like getting out there in the spotlight and showing off. What I'm looking for now is a good formation team to join. I think that will get me closer to that adrenaline rush I need without pushing me into competition.

    I think it's probably a good idea to try at least one competition, though, just to see what it really feels like. Don't want to eliminate it to the basis of my own prejudice.
  18. Gator

    Gator New Member

    I think it has something to do with hmm, persistance may be? What I observed, at least here in bay area is that, more advanced the dance class level is. less males are in there. If you check the beginners class guys to girls ratio is perhaps 2/1. In intermediate classes it's less than 1/1(guys/girls), in short the higher the level less guys are there. Donno, perhaps girls are more persistent ;) Based on that, it's not very surprising she asked that question. I might not be 100% right, as I don't take group classes, although I've tried, too much troubles unfortunatelly. Anyways, just my 0.02$.
  19. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Oh yeah. I understood. I will be taking lessons for the rest of my life.

    I also find your observation about dancing "in studio" to be totally on-point, although I don't think it's necessarily bad, at least at first. The studio I started with gave "soup to nuts" dance instruction -- private lessons, group classes, parties, social outings, showcases, internally administered exams. The works.

    And I found it to be helpful at first, because I was terrified to dance. At least, if I stayed within the studio, I was among friends and could take a few risks.

    After a while, the studio got to be detrimental, because everybody knew everybody, everybody danced the same patterns, everybody had the same "group think" as far as dancing was concerned. (As an afterthough, I'm modifying this post to say that not everyone has to switch studios to find a good dance experience. I do think that it's important to go out and practice dance in real-life situations as often as you can.)

    That's when I changed to a small, independent studio. Now, if I want to practice dancing, I have to go out to the public ballroom dances or local nightclubs. And I'll tell you one thing, I am learning to follow. The guys I'm dancing with now don't know the same patterns I do, so I have to follow.

    It's been quite a transition.
  20. Phil Owl

    Phil Owl Well-Known Member

    I personally have NO desire to compete at all, just too technical and takes the fun out of dancing for me in addition to the fact it's just so political and cutthroat to boot.

    I've had both good and bad experiences dancing with people who are competitive dancers, most actually were very gracious and encouraging to me (and flat out fun in a few instances!), a couple of course had that big ego as well.

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