How old do you think children should be before participating in dance competitions?
Many dance studios are 'competition' based. What are your feelings about this and do you think there should be a mandatory age before competition begins?
Old enough to understand life outside of competition...
I started at 7, but I think that was a little early for me, I had trouble not blaming myself if we didn't win.
Since competitions are businesses, it's pointless to rely on them to set a cut off age, they just want your money. It's up to the studio to set a minimum age for competing. As a dance teacher, I've found that usually by age 10 the kids are aware enough to understand what they're doing and why. We have suspended kids from competing because of their school grades though and that's something else studios should consider. Not all kids can balance competition life and academic life, that doesn't mean they're bad at either but they have to have the discipline to do both.
Solos and duets can be a kicker though, kids should definitely be older (14/15) before taking on a solo, it can be really hard to deal with rejection/failure of such a personal nature before that.
No to a mandatory age. I would say it depends upon the child. Some children are eager at four years old - as soon as they are able to grasp the concept. But ensure that it is a matter for fun, enjoyment. If they do enter a Comp., it should be thoroughly emphasised that the actual act of 'entering' means that they are good! If they win, fine; but there is only one Winner! But in future they will be able to say 'I was a Competitor'! and that alone is a matter for pride! Most children absolutely love it!
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