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How do I choose the right variation?

Choosing the right variation for a ballet competition seems like it should be pretty easy—but there is quite a lot that goes into making the best choice for you. Rather than simply choosing a variation you love to watch, you and your coach will want to work together to take into consideration several important factors, such as your technical proficiency, your age, and your personality.

Our first recommendation is that you and your coach discuss your strengths and weaknesses as a dancer. Think about where your talents show in class, and highlight those strengths. Are you a natural at pirouettes and allegro? Maybe the Cupid variation from Don Quixote would be a great fit for you to demonstrate your clean footwork. It’s to your benefit to have a conversation with your coach to get his or her input on where your strengths can shine best.

Together with your coach, you’ll also want to take into consideration your age and skill level. Younger dancers should stick with variations that are not too mature or too challenging to perform cleanly. For example, the Esmeralda variation may not be an appropriate choice for a pre-teen dancer both because of the two-piece costume. Be sure to choose a variation that is the right length for you too; an overly long variation for a younger dancer can be too tiring to perform cleanly.

Your personality is one more essential factor to consider when choosing the right variation. Do you tend to be quiet or shy, or do you have an innately outgoing personality? Would your friends describe you as reserved, charming, or bold? Look for a variation that would be a good match for your temperament and allow you to play up your natural disposition.

There’s so much to think about when choosing the right variation, but don’t let the selection process overwhelm you. We hope you’ll find that using these recommendations, along with guidance from your coach, will make the decision process smooth and uncomplicated.

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