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Why the workshops are just as important as the competition

Photo credit: Brad Matthews

When you sign up for a ballet competition, one of the first things you feel is excitement: you now have a seriously significant goal to work towards! The effort you’ll put in to preparing for the big day is extensive. From extra classes to private coaching, your mind is probably set on honing your technique and artistry so you can perform at your peak.

But what about the workshops at the competition? What kind of value do they hold and why are they so important?

First and foremost, it’s important to remember that the learning process in ballet holds as much benefit as performing. In other words, the class experiences at a competition are full of opportunities to grow as a dancer. You are always learning and improving, and competition workshops allow you to do so under the guidance and influence of renowned experts in the industry.

Also, attending classes allows the competition judges to see your potential, not just your well-rehearsed persona. They want to see your strengths and weaknesses up close so they can imagine what your future as a dancer may look like—and recognize how they might help you achieve it. The class corrections and feedback you receive are immeasurably useful in this way!

Because workshops are often the means to scholarships, presenting yourself well in class shows that you take the opportunity seriously. That’s the type of character quality faculty love to see in students; they want to get to know you beyond your performance placement. They are looking for dancers who deserve to be recognized and who show an appreciation for learning and growing.

And although the competition will demonstrate your level of preparedness and performance qualities, your workshop participation will reflect your level of quick-thinking and proficiency in class. This allows you to enjoy a well-rounded experience at the event, and will showcase your abilities in a variety of ways—each of which shows your unique voice among all the participants.

We know that when you’re attending a ballet competition it can be easy to focus solely on the performance aspect. But by keeping these reasons in mind, you will feel more wholly prepared and open to every opportunity!

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