As we enter the competition season I can’t help but think about the culture of ‘winning’ and ‘losing’ and how sometimes, sometimes, we as a society do anything and everything in our power to save our children from ‘losing.’ We let them win races, board games, and control of the remote. We come up with excuses for when they get second or third or . . . last place. It is true that no one likes to lose, but in reality, losing is a part of life. And the lessons learned from ‘losing’ often teach us more than anything we ever learned from winning.
I put ‘losing’ in quotations when I use it in reference to dance for two reasons:
1. Dance is a judged sport, but the scoring may be based not only on the dancer’s technique and artistic expression, but also something as unpredictable as the judges’ personal preference.
2. Every single person who is brave enough to go out on that stage and not only perform, but agree to be judged while doing so, is a winner in my books.
I think that is why dance competitions now make an effort to ensure that every dancer leaves with a ribbon, a medal or some other token of their performance. Anything beyond that, an overall award, scholarship, or prize won during adjudication is the cherry on top! That being said, we all want our kids to ‘do well’ at competition. Obviously that means ‘winning’ overall awards, but to us teachers, it also means seeing our dancers taking the corrections given to them in class over the past 6 months (or more!), and executing them on stage.
So as we begin competition season with the PSD Comp Crew, I want every parent and teacher to take a deep breath, pause, and appreciate just how amazing our kids are! Recognize how much they have learned, and how quickly they are growing up. With the joys and disappointments that are an inevitable part of each day in a dance competition, we need to try and equally embrace the ups and downs. Handle them with poise and grace and teach our children about the reality that life doesn’t always go as planned. Maybe they aren’t ‘the best’ at everything, all the time.
And that is OK! Imperfection is it’s own perfection.