Cheryl Burke: Entering First Competitions
Date added to ADN: Thu,
December 22, 2011
Originally Published: Sat, January 01, 2011
by Melva Smith
(About the Author)
Nationals are quickly approaching once again, and the thoughts of those new to Ballroom Dancing may be focused on questions concerning when they will know they are ready to compete. New dancers may be ready to enter their first competition quicker than they think. Here is what one of America's most famous Ballroom Dance professionals has to say about entering competition for the first time. During a recent interview, Cheryl Burke of Dancing With the Stars; shares advice used in her own chain of studios— Cheryl Burke Dance.
Question: At what point do you feel your students are ready to move on to competition for the first time?
Answer: "All our students who compete at any level find that it benefits their dancing. It helps in building confidence. However, they should have at least a few basics in a few dances under their belt. In many cases, this can be two or three months, sometimes even sooner." she said.
"After basic styles and patterns are learned, I don't think it's ever too soon to consider a competition. If a student waits too long, then other dancers who have started earlier at the same levels will have an advantage: They will be more comfortable, more at ease in a competitive environment," Cheryl tells us. "On the other hand, we have worked with students who decide to wait a year or two, and that's fine. Again, our instructors want to help dancers achieve individual goals. We try to set a pace for improvement that matches their comfort zone “.
Question: How many hours will the average student at your school practice before going into a competition, and how important is this?
Answer: "Practice is essential for competition, but how much depends on a number of variables. For a solo routine, some of our studio managers believe 20 hours is "average." Every situation is different, however. Certain patterns in specific dances are learned faster than others. Individual students may be fast learners in Cha Cha, but slower to master the subtleties of Foxtrot.
The number of hours practicing also depends on the goals of the dancer, "Cheryl informs us. Of course another huge factor is the quality of instruction. With a gifted instructor, one who is also experienced in competitive dance, a student will accomplish much more in one hour than with an average instructor." Cheryl concluded.
Walter Schultz of twosteptidewater.com leaves us with this advice for those competing for the first time. "Moving into competitive dancing is a process. A new competitor should begin by dancing Pro-Am," Walter suggests. "The professional has done it before and will provide not only the dance knowledge, but also the emotional support. I am not sure there are too many new competitor dancers who can point to a time when they feel they are ready to hit the competition floor. If anything it would be when they could dance a required routine without thinking about the steps."
About the Author:
Melva Gail Smith is a disabled dance enthusiast from Louisville, KY who enjoys promoting the health and social benefits of both dancesport and linedancesport through her writings. Melva has written for USA Dance, as well as various online magazines; and is the inspiration of dance choeographer Ira Weisburd's Breathe Freely Campaign for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Awareness.
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