Competition variations

With dance and ballet competitions constantly on the horizon, there is a debate as to whether students should get a say in choosing their competition variations, or whether it should be down to their teacher or coach to select the variation they think best suits the student.

A few parameters are clear, such as the age of the student, their technical ability and the stature of the competition. As students progress and advance in their training, it is likely that they will take part in more elitist competitions where the standard of dancers is higher. Therefore it is questionable as to whether the choice of variation they will perform should be down to either themselves or their teacher. The variation must feel comfortable for the student, but equally the more experienced eye of the teacher may have a more objective view.

Ultimately this decision depends on the coach’s philosophy. Some coaches and teachers will always give students the choice, asking them to look at different variations and decide which they feel they can handle. How feasible the variation is is then decided by them both, using collaboration in order to reach the end decision.

For some teachers, they might allow their students to give their opinion, but ultimately it’s up to the coach. Students may choose something which is too comfortable for them, or it may go the opposite way and they would like to dance something which is unrealistic. Teachers will want to show off their student in the best way, and play to their strengths, but sometimes it helps to have a dancer’s opinion too.

For some teachers, this is out of the question, believing that the student should trust their decision. With their experience and knowledge, they are able to reflect ability and taste through the material selected for a competition. As a result, they advocate that this decision must be up to the teacher or coach, having assessed the dancer in front of him.