A small competition might seem like a waste of time and/or money because you might not have a lot of competitors to compete against. But not so fast! In this episode I want to share just 4 reasons I love small competitions.
While I wouldn’t do exclusively small competitions or make that the main gig that I do, there is a lot of value to be had in a small comp and you can totally leverage it and use it as a tool to benefit you.
Reason #1 I love small comps is small and/or uncontested rounds. Uncontested rounds give you the opportunity to let go of the result and experiment. This is a great time to test out some techniques you have been working on, trying to be more expressive, or just letting go, because we don’t have to worry as much how it will affect our score or result. See podcast #18 for more about uncontested rounds.
Reason #2 that I love small competitions is that you get more exposure to judges–or rather, they get more exposure to you. They can watch you for a longer period of time (maybe a whole minute rather than a fraction of that) per round, plus more of the day. In a large competition where there are multiple couples and even semi-finals to finals, you are one of many people they have to watch and consider. In a round with just a few competitors, a handful at most, they get a better idea of you as a dancer. If by chance you DON’T want that, we need to talk on a Dance Strategy Call because we might need to bolster your confidence and comfort with being seen!
Reason #3 to love a small comp is that it’s great for relationship building. This is partially about exposure, like in point two, but also, there is just more opportunity to talk to people–judges, organizers, other studios, other dancers–simply because there isn’t the distraction of SO many people. At a bigger comp, judges may socialize and spend more time with people they know and are excited to see (as they should!), but at a small comp, I find they are more agreeable to chatting, having a small exchange, and/or talking with you or your teacher about your dancing. I literally had a recent multi-year national rhythm champion sitting next to me at my table last weekend talking to me about my dancing. That would not be likely to happen at a big competition. Building a community and building relationships in the dance world deepens your experience of it. These are your people. They love what you love and understand what this world is all about. It’s good to have a stronger foothold in it, if you want, to enrich your experience. That might not be true for everyone, but it is for me.
Reason #4 I love small competitions is simply that when you compete, you get better at competing. Full stop. Whether it’s small or big, you simply can’t replicate a comp in a practice setting. You have to be in that environment. You have to have those experiences. More dancing makes better dancing and more competing makes for better competing. It’s that simple. It’s never a waste. And at the end of the day, you are always competing with you and the last version of you. Use the comp as a tool for making yourself better, no matter the size. See episode #38 for more on Being the Boss of Your Comp
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