Dear Katie: Should I Do Dance Competitions Even If My Teacher Doesn't Like Them?

August 21, 2019

In our Dear Katie series, Miami City Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email [email protected] for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

I really want to do dance competitions, but my teacher doesn’t like them—she says they’ll make me focus on the wrong things in my training. Is she right? What should I do?


Dear Alessandra,

I think there’s a right way to approach dance competitions, and a wrong way. Your teacher is probably worried that you’ll compete the wrong way—that you’ll focus on perfecting a single solo, with winning as your only goal. When I judge competitions, I do see dancers get caught up in the horse race, and I also see them get lopsided from rehearsing their variations over and over.

However, there are great benefits to competition: performance experience, taking classes with great teachers, and seeing other people dance. If you want to compete, emphasize to your teacher that you’re most interested in these other, positive aspects of the opportunity. And once you’re at the competition, take a proper ballet class every day. Soak up as much as you can from the faculty available to you and the great dancers around you. And really perform during your moment onstage!

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