The Benefits of Competition – Commitment

Making a commitment and sticking to it is a lesson that seems pretty easy to learn, but isn’t always so.  It can be a challenge—especially for young dancers—to navigate a big responsibility like that!  One of the most valuable life lessons our competition team dancers learn at Studio 56 Dance Center is following through on their commitments.  

From the start, joining the competition team isn’t something a dancer does on a whim.  There are auditions to prepare for and schedules to align.  There are team policies to consider and extra expenses to budget.  In fact, at Studio 56 Dance Center, we understand that participation isn’t a choice made only by the dancer; it’s a family decision.  

We know that our competition team requires an extensive commitment.  But we also know that the long-term benefits our dancers will experience from this commitment will far outweigh any temporary conflicts that may pop up during the season!  Below we outline the most important advantages to our competition team students when it comes to honing this essential skill:

  • Agreeing to a commitment teaches future-thinking

With a competition team agreement, dancers are looking ahead to an entire season and asking themselves, “Am I willing to give 100% effort all year to follow through on this commitment?”  Most pre-teens and teens make decisions based on how they feel right now, which is normal in adolescence.  Making a decision based on thinking ahead is a skill that needs sharpening.  Through their passion for dance and agreement to the competition team, our dancers are learning how to consider the future in their choices.

  • Following through on a commitment sometimes requires sacrifices

Though it can be an uncomfortable lesson to learn, sometimes making a commitment to the team means that it overrides other opportunities like parties, travel, or school social events.  Our students may find themselves feeling tested by their competition team commitment—and that’s OK.  We understand that it will happen and have built our attendance policies with it in mind.  It’s not easy, but standing by their commitment teaches our dancers to act with integrity.

  • Abiding by a commitment shows reliability as a team member

As a team, our competition students form close bonds and learn to depend on each other … sometimes emotionally andphysically, depending on the choreography!  Becoming a reliable teammate shows each team member that they respect each other and value each person’s contributions to the group.  They share in this commitment together and learn to appreciate the effort everyone makes to achieve success.

We hope you’ll discuss with your Studio 56 Dance Center team dancer all the positive ways they are growing from following through on their commitments.  We’re grateful that they’ve chosen dance to be one of their top priorities!

Healthy Priorities for the Competition Dancer

As part of the competition team, your child is logging MANY hours at the studio at this time of year … plus school, plus homework, plus life with family and friends.  They are juggling all the important things in their lives, gaining valuable life experience on what it’s like to balance their responsibilities.  Sometimes (OK, maybe a lot of times!) they are so busy that they also need a reminder on what it takes to stay healthy.

Your dancer’s well-being is a top priority for us at Studio 56 Dance Center, just like it is for you at home.  During this busy competition season, we’ve put together some tips to help your dancer optimize their health and perform at their peak:

Nutrition and Hydration

A dancer’s body really is their instrument; it’s not just a common saying!  Proper nutrition literally fuels their bodies so they can do their best work.  And of course, water is THE essential element of the body … it can’t be underestimated.  Not being well-hydrated can contribute to muscle cramps, headaches, and fatigue, which no dancer wants to encounter during a competition.  

To feel their best during the event, we recommend that dancers have a small carbohydrate-rich meal a few hours before taking classes or performing (a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread or cup of oatmeal with fruit are good options).  A snack that combines carbs and protein can help with muscle recovery afterward (think cheese and fruit or hummus and veggies).  And of course, drinking water frequently throughout the day is a given! 

Sleep and Rest

We’re sure you know as well as we do that the two key ingredients of sleep and rest sometimes get skimped when it comes to adolescents.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, most pre-teens and teens should be getting 8-10 hours of sleep each night.  While that’s certainly something to strive for, you can also help your dancer get better quality sleep by helping them keep their room cool and dark at night, charging their phone overnight in another room (yes, that might mean buying an old-fashioned alarm clock!), and establishing “screen-free” quiet hours.  

When your dancer does have downtime, encourage them to rest.  Being in constant go-go-go mode means that their adrenaline is often high.  Their bodies need periodic opportunities to feel real calmness and relaxation to counteract that stimulation.  We know it isn’t always easy to encourage rest in addition to a full night’s sleep, but even half-hour intervals throughout the week can make a big difference in a teen’s physical and emotional well-being.

We appreciate ALL you do to support your team dancer and boost their healthy habits.  And don’t worry; we know that sometimes they need to hear these things from us too.  At Studio 56 Dance Center, we’re committed to keeping this topic in the spotlight.  Expect for your dancer to continue hearing reminders at practice!

The Benefits of Concert – Creating Lifetime Memories 

The concert is known for creating special memories—both for the dancer and for their family and friends.  It is a sentimental moment in time for many parents, watching their child perform in front of an audience!  For most of our dance families at Studio 56 Dance Center, it marks the closure of one year’s journey in dance and “sets the stage” for the next.

After the concert, costumes become special mementos, programs become keepsakes, photos become scrapbook centerpieces, and DVDs often become your household’s most-watched entertainment!  The time may have passed, but the souvenirs remain … along with the personal growth each student has achieved.

One comment we often hear from parents after the concert is how their child won’t stop talking about it!  The excitement lifts them up long after the curtain has come down.  We love hearing about this kind of enthusiasm, and we hope you’ll keep the dance conversation going at home.  This is an excellent time to listen to what your child has to say about what they liked best or what was challenging.  Being able to reflect on the experience and communicate that to others is another awesome skill to develop!

Sometimes the memories made at concert aren’t the ones you’d expect.  Maybe your dancer became distracted at one point onstage and made a silly face that made everyone laugh, or maybe they forgot a step during the dance and seemed discouraged.  Live performances can be a little unpredictable like this, but with a growth mindset, you and your child can still choose to see the positive outcome.  Like how that silly face was sweet and entertaining, and grandma loved it.  Or that forgotten step?  What a way to show perseverance!

The lifetime memories made at the concert enrich our students’ knowledge and understanding of what a performance encompasses.  They create context for other performing opportunities, such as in theater or music, and they build the kind of confidence only experience can deliver.

Performing onstage is an incredible opportunity for dancers to share what they have been learning in class, and to showcase their progress from the beginning of the year to the end.  Learning how to dance is a gradual process, and some skills take years to fully master—but however big or small the steps are, it is a major accomplishment for anyone to perform in front of hundreds of people!  All the hard work is worthwhile when a dancer experiences the high fives and smiles and congratulations that the concert brings from classmates, family, and friends.

Whether it’s a young dancer performing for their first time or a teen dancer performing at the end of her senior year, concert achievements are incredibly special to celebrate.  Lifelong memories are made from those achievements—and for many dancers, a true passion for dance is ignited!