Preventing Trophy Envy

Q: Once the awards have been handed out at competitions, my kids’ reactions are all over the place if we don’t have a clean or even sweep of awards. Do you have any recommendations on how to deal with resulting jealousy issues and self-confidence problems that pop up?

A: Jealousy and low self-confidence are definitely two negative things that can come out of competition. It is important to educate your dancers and parents on why you do competitions.

We use competitions as a learning tool so that our students grow as dancers—to teach them sportsmanship and competition etiquette, such as remembering to wish their competitors “good luck” or telling them “good job” when they come off the stage. Competitions can be used as an incentive to work hard in class and to learn to appreciate the talents of others while simultaneously building self-esteem.

Teach your students to understand that it is about their personal performance, not the size of the trophy. My dancers know that if they danced well and lost I would be more proud of them than if they danced poorly and still managed to win. Dancers should never judge themselves through the eyes of others; they must be their own judges.

Understanding this should help keep everyone in a better place when receiving awards. As a parent and a teacher, I like to make a big deal out of a great performance rather than a big award. This keeps my dancers humble and always motivated to work hard and do their best in class and onstage. Dancers should compete only with their own best performances and never with anyone else’s.

Joanne Chapman is the owner of the award-winning studio Joanne Chapman School of Dance in Ontario, Canada.

Photo courtesy of Dance Teacher Summit

Teacher Voices
Getty Images

I often teach ballet over Zoom in the evenings, shortly after sunset. Without the natural light coming from my living room window, I drag a table lamp next to my portable barre so that the computer's camera can see me clearly enough. I prop the laptop on a chair taken from the kitchen and then spend the next few hours running back and forth between the computer screen of Zoom tiles and my makeshift dance floor.

Much of this setup is the result of my attempts to recreate the most important aspects of an in-person dance studio: I have a barre, a floor and as much space as I can reasonably give myself within a small apartment. I do not, however, have a mirror, and neither do most of my students.

Keep reading... Show less
Music
Allie Burke, courtesy Lo Cascio

If you'd hear it on the radio, you won't hear it in Anthony Lo Cascio's tap classes.

"If I play a song that my kids know, I'm kind of disappointed in myself," he says. "I either want to be on the cutting edge or playing the classics."

He finds that most of today's trendy tracks lack the depth needed for tap, and that there's a disconnect between kids and popular music. "They have trouble finding the beat compared to older genres," he says.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending
Courtesy Lovely Leaps

After the birth of her daughter in 2018, engineer Lisa McCabe had reservations about returning to the workforce full-time. And while she wanted to stay home with the new baby, she wasn't ready to stop contributing financially to her family (after all, she'd had a successful career designing cables for government drones). So, when she got a call that September from an area preschool to lead its dance program, she saw an opportunity.

The invitation to teach wasn't completely out of the blue. McCabe had grown up dancing in Southern California and had a great reputation from serving as her church's dance teacher and team coach the previous three years (stopping only to take a break as a new mother). She agreed to teach ballet and jazz at the preschool on Fridays and from there created an age-appropriate class based on her own training in the Cecchetti and RAD methods. It was a success: In three months, class enrollment went from six to 24 students, and just one year later, McCabe's blossoming Lovely Leaps brand had contracts with eight preschools and three additional teachers.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.