23 Ways To Look At A Competition

Photo courtesy of Jerry Almonte.
Photo courtesy of Jerry Almonte.

I’m going to go out there and…

(1) …win, so that I can get more teaching gigs. And thus travel more. And maybe do this full time someday.

(2) …get some outside proof of where I am compared to my peers.

(3) …work on the next thing on my competition skills practice list.

(4) …just have fun. And try not to care about the competition aspect of it.

(5) …just have fun. And try not to care about the competition aspect of it, but do so by secretly thinking that by not caring, I’ll dance better and
will place higher.

(6) … see what happens.

(7) …do what others before me have done to win.

(8) …beat my nemesis.

(9) …win, so that I can get some new confidence and self-respect.

(10) …try not to lose, so I won’t lose confidence and self-respect.

(11) …see if any of these judges know my name, so I have a hope of getting into finals.

(12) …try to get to a place where I can compete and not care what anyone else thinks.

(13) …actually get some floor space to dance, unlike during the social dances. This is an expensive way to go about it, but there you go.

(14) …win at this game called Modern Lindy Hop Competing by figuring out the rules and secret codes you need to beat it.

(15) …try to actually listen to the music and my partner — and actually listen.

(16) …try to smile.

(17) …try not to throw up.

(18) …look passionate and try to show my emotional investment in swing dancing, because I think I will place better if I do so.

(19) …look passionate and try to show my emotional investment in swing dancing, because that is what I feel about the dance and that is what I want to express.

(20) …let the alcohol relax my fears and inhibitions.

(21) …show them all.

(22)…not allow myself to get caught up in them. Competitions get a great deal of attention, but I will not allow them to pull my heart away from the incredibly powerful and rewarding experience of social dancing.

(23) …try to relax. Because it’s just a competition, right?

The goal was to simply and objectively give examples of the ways people approach competitions with no judgement on whether those ways are healthy or not. People can even be thinking of several of these or other approaches at the same time. They can even juggle both unhealthy and healthy attitudes. I think for most people, though, there is one or two dominant ones that really shape their competition experience. Further comments, including additions, welcome in the comments section.

30 responses to “23 Ways To Look At A Competition”

  1. A little of 1, with a lot of 20. @ my comp last week:
    Me – “This is going to be AWESOME”
    Her – “You’re certainly excited”
    Me – “And drunk! :D”
    Her – “Me too!”

    Huzzah :)

  2. the few times I have competed I try to think of something emelie decavita once said: It’s more fun to be in it than to look at it. That put’s me in a relaxed mode of just enjoying it all.

  3. -Get some YouTube glory.
    -Represent my city so more people will move there.
    -Show off a new air step.
    -Boost my ego by dancing near the Baltimore crowd.
    -Share some art we’ve created on a large stage.

  4. A mentor once told me I should always compete or perform when the opportunity arises because I will learn something. I’ve found this to be true every single time I’ve put myself out there…

    Thanks for giving me new ways to think about it Bobbie….

  5. …try to authentically express my dance values and 1)see if I succeed and 2)see if anyone shares them.
    (To be honest, I’ve usually got at least six of these in my head before a competition)

  6. [13] plus, why would I want to sit around for 40 minutes getting cold and stiff when I could be up there dancing? :-)

  7. I love the journey it takes to get to the performace! I just go out hoping to do my best and entertain who evers watching! and hope that the parts of the performance that make me buzz stands out to the judges/audience too!

  8. I would add a #24: To meet new people. Some of my favorite dancer friends are people whom I first met as Jack & Jill partners.

    #25 might be to get some exposure – not necessarily for professional reasons so much as that I find that after competitions more people come to me for dances, regardless of how I actually performed.

    Straight-up thrill-seeking is also in there for me – dancing is really the only realm in life where I feel comfortable showboating a bit.

  9. I did my first competition recently, and I did it to try the competition scene. you must try it to know if you’ll lovin’ it.

    It was also the first time, I got video-tapped. I found hard to look at it. But I learned few things, I need to correct.

    And now I know more follows to dance with :)

  10. Regarding (1) …win, so that I can get more teaching gigs. – A good dancer is not necessarily a good teacher. But a good teacher is usually also a good dancer.

  11. It’s nice to be a little altruistic- how about wanting to promote balboa in a largely lindy dominated scene? How about wanting to put on a good show for the audience and be entertaining/expressive/inspiring? If musicians and actors try to please the audience, why can’t dancers? And why should the fact that medals get handed out at the end interfere with this process? Hopefully we social dance with a kind heart- in competitions we bring the audience in to our shared joy. As for the prizes…well sometimes it’s obvious who should win, other times it seems a lottery. We should just try and be better versions of ourselves.

  12. N+1: …to see what all the fuss is about?
    I think too much focus on competition will promote the ‘ I am better than you ‘ mentality. If I want that there are much more dances to choose from. I think lindy is unigue for it’s inclusiveness.

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