Forum: Advice / Ask a Judge

"Stolen Choreography" Update
By aparent
On Mon Apr 13, 2015 08:14 PM

In case anyone was wondering, here is an update on my daughter's first solo experience. The original post is under "Stolen Choreography" and contains a lot of posts.

The dance teacher and I agreed to chalk all of this up to a communications failure, put it aside and go on with working all together on the solo for the benefit of my daughter. The teacher was surprised that I was willing to put it aside as other disagreements with parents have turned very ugly in the past.

My daughter never found out that we had a disagreement.

Starting with the next solo practice and beyond, the teacher told my daughter that some changes needed to be made, started explaining how to listen to the music/lyrics and then gave my daughter options to choose from and also asked her what it felt/sounded like to her.

I stayed in the room and also offered my suggestions, some of which were accepted by my daughter, some were not. Contrary to some people's comments that I would have been a "nightmare" to work with, the process went quite well for all of us. We are all closer than ever and get along better than before the long discussion.

The finished solo was what my daughter felt comfortable with and included her favorite flexibility moves/positions. We all spent a great deal of time working on the solo and also got some cleaning tips/floor usage tips from a competition style coach during the last few rehearsals. After hearing from the competition style coach some of the same things that I had been telling her about floor usage, my daughter made some changes that helped her to use more of the floor space.

It wasn't a perfect solo, we knew that it was deficient in the number of turning sections and she didn't include a many leaps, either. But my daughter was happy with her finished product.

My daughter also "designed" her costume. She found separates in a dance costume catalog and put them together to make her costume. She wanted a particular effect, a particular color and a style that suited her body type and music choice. She wanted a lot of rhinestones put on her costume, so I learned how to do that! She told me what she wanted and I figured out how to make it look like her vision. It turned out really pretty.

My daughter did not attend one of the competition studios and has not caught up yet with turning. She has motion sickness and has grown quite a few inches in the past few years and there are a few other things which have contributed to her lagging behind in performing multiple turns. but she is getting close to being able to crank out multiple turns. I keep telling her that turning is like riding a bicycle, there are a lot of different skills involved, but eventually it just works. And then you don't have to think about it and you can add embellishments.

She doesn't have the experience or the muscle memory from multiple repetitions that the competition studio girls have right now, but she is fast approaching their level and they have nearly 10 years head start on her as she is a teenager and other girls have been dancing solos in competitions since they were in Kindergarten.

All that I hoped for my daughter was that her first solo experience would be an enjoyable experience, that she wouldn't forget it, that she would not fall or get hurt and that the overall experience would be a positive one for her.

In the very first time in her life that she danced a solo, my daughter placed 3rd in her age division for the school district competition, with a score of 96.3, outscoring almost 40 other dancers in her age category and only being outscored by competition studio girls. She danced with a lot of confidence and sparkle, and I was the only one who knew that she was rushing a little at the end, because she covered it, improvised and finished with the music. She received some great judges comments and made a few changes for the next competition. She also got full marks for and a lot of compliments on her costume.

At the second time that she competed with that solo, she was scored against her grade plus two higher grades by size of team and she tied for 4th place with 95 points and was only tied or outscored by competition studio girls from her own team. She outscored over 30 girls, most of whom were older and from competition studios. And again, the judges liked her costume.

At the last competition, with a score of 93.3, my daughter did not place, but neither did anyone else from her team. This competition was huge, some of the teams were extra large teams (100+ members) and there were probably over 100 or possibly 150 solos being competed without being split into divisions based on team size. But they still really liked her costume!

The last competition was also my daughter's "worst performance" in her words, as she rushed a bit in a few places, but she still finished with the music. It would have fit the lyrics better if she hadn't rushed, but she was tired, stressed and everyone has a bad day, occasionally. She still received some very helpful and very complimentary judges comments, and it was still a good learning experience. But she is hardest on herself.

The solo was ultimately my daughter's choice, suggestions were given but she made the choice as to what she wanted to dance. She learned that in order to have a solo that she can feel confident in, she needs to work on it over a period of several months, not wait until the last minute. Some of her teammates just threw something together at the last minute and did not score well. She was proud that she she had a finished product to show several weeks before the first competition. She is still learning how to listen to the lyrics and the music in order to tell the story and she knows that next year she needs to incorporate more jumps and turns and work on the transitions from one section to another.

Before her first competition, I really did not know if she had the potential to place at any competition this year. I knew that she had worked really hard, that her solo told a story, that is showed off her favorite moves and that she had some spectacular moves, but it wasn't a particularly well rounded solo and some of the transitions were weak. But she was happy with the finished product and that was what was important.

I only watched a few other solos in her age group at the first competition, so I had no idea as to the level of the rest of the competition and was thrilled when it was announced that she was in the finals. When watching the other dancers in the finals, I thought that perhaps she would place fairly high and was so proud of her for finishing in third place.

During the competition season, my daughter started planning her solo for next year. She has already decided on her music and costume. She has a list of skills that she plans to acquire over the Summer which should make her next solo more well rounded. We have plans for her to attend intensive sessions at a few places in order to expose her to other styles of dance and other teachers. Sometimes all it takes is someone saying something a little differently for it to finally click.

She is continuing with her ballet teacher and will have a great part in the recital at the end of the year. She is looking forward to continuing with the ballet studio next year.

My daughter would not have placed with the "original (stolen) choreography" as it did not fit the music, nor my daughter's body type/dance style and she wasn't happy with that choreography.

I am glad that it all turned out well.

1 Replies to "Stolen Choreography" Update

re: "Stolen Choreography" Update
By Sumayah
On Mon Apr 13, 2015 10:18 PM
Thank you for the update! I'm glad it turned out to be a positive experience!


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