Decisions, Decisions… Making it Worthwhile
My last blog, “Where have all the Competitors Gone?”, seemed to evoke a lot of discussion in and amongst the dance community. It was great to finally have some thoughtful comments on the blog! I was actually a bit surprised, as my original intention was merely to help motivate those dancers out there who needed a little jump start. My aim was to show the value of competing in an out-of-town event, even in a rather small but pleasant one, like Dance Pacifica. But regardless of my initial intention, I was happily surprised by the interest that had been sparked!
From the comments posted on the blog, as well as on Facebook, it seemed that there were different views on whether or not the competition was actually worth attending. Everyone made valuable points of their own. Although the discussion seemed to be in search of some common ground to ‘agree’ on, I really don’t that there is a need to do that. Everyone has their own unique situation in life and must deal with things in their own individual way.
My sincere hope is that some of the comments on the blog helped give people information and suggestions that they might not have considered before; it may have helped convince some of you to consider going next year; or at the very least, the discussion hopefully shed some light on other people’s situations, and not just your own.
Life is full of choices.
Because there is indeed limited time, energy and (for most of us) money, we need to prioritize what we do from day to day. The choices that we are faced with can be as small as “Do I buy this red pepper for 3.99 a pound at Capers, or do I walk down a few blocks to Kins Farm Market to get the same thing for 1.99?” They can be bigger decisions, such as “Do I stay at home and live with the parents for another couple years, in order to save money for a down payment in the future, or do I rent an apartment so that I can get the freedom and privacy that I need?”
Whichever way you decide on any of these issues is totally up to you. The choice is yours. No one has to agree or disagree with you, as everyone has their own unique situation and their own values. There is no right or wrong. Each of us has to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each situation carefully to come up with a decision that is ‘right’ for us.
Rather than trying to get everyone to ‘agree’ on something, I am more interested in whether we can make a positive change. Sometimes the choices in life are very black and white, and you can make your decision very easily. But other times, you can be in that grey area, flipping back and forth, not knowing which way to turn. It’s in that latter situation that I believe we can indeed make a change.
What is going to make something more worthwhile for you? Definitely, we’ve seen that financial viability is a big determining factor, as always. Perhaps the suggestions of billeting, sharing accommodations and rides will help alleviate the financial burden and allow some of you to attend next year. But perhaps for others, that’s not enough. What else can we possibly change?
Adding Value, Adding Events.
To increase participation in competitions, not only can we try and make things more financially feasible, but we can also try and add value to the situation. I’d like to suggest adding more Adult syllabus events… and this suggestion is not just for Dance Pacifica, but for all competitions in general. Perhaps if there were more events for Adult competitors, it would be more worthwhile for them to participate in a given competition.
The dancers at the Senior level these days are very fortunate, being able to dance in up to 3 different age categories: Adult, Senior I and Senior II. In addition, they can do up to 2 consecutive levels, which means they can enter up to 6 different events in one discipline. The poor Adults, on the other hand, can only enter the one age category, for up to 2 consecutive levels. This means that for those competitors who dance in only one discipline (either Standard or Latin), they can only enter 2 events per competition.
In Calgary, many of the competitions offer 2 different events for each level. For example, there is a Bronze Standard ‘Block A’, which may require Waltz and Tango; as well as a Bronze Standard ‘Block B’, which requires Slowfox and Quickstep. In that system, an Adult competitor can enter up to 4 events per competition.
Similarly in Seattle, as a lot of you know, there are Pre-Novice, Novice and Open Novice events. These events also allow the Adult competitors to dance more events, in addition to the Newcomer, Bronze, Silver and Gold categories. Although they are grouped a little differently, they also (like Calgary) require different dances in each event, which I believe makes it more interesting for everyone, competitors and spectators alike. I know that many of my students are traveling to the Seattle Star Ball in August, prepared and excited to dance in multiple events!
Perhaps if some of the local competitions started to adopt these additional events, there may be more participation from the local and even out-of-town dancers. Who knows? By adding value to the situation, we may be able to change people’s minds about whether or not something is deemed worthwhile.
Do you have any other ideas or suggestions on how to add value to an event and to make a positive change??? If so, I’d love to hear from you!