Monday, July 27, 2009

What Do Judges Look For In A Competition?


If you love challenge and want to take the experience to the ultimate level, then dance competition might be for you. Whether it is the refined Ballroom or the energetic, sensuous Latin rhythm, many well-rounded dance enthusiasts literally live and breathe this delightful mixture of art and competitive sport.

Exactly what are the judges looking for when evaluating a dance competition? These highly acclaimed critics usually consist of former dance professionals and/or current choreographers. They are chosen to showcase their expertise in analyzing, evaluating and unanimously deciding the winners.

The judges' evaluation of performance is based on originality of the particular genre. Did the couple execute the dance and make it their own? Did they sell it? Was there chemistry between them? Were their respective personalities highlighted during the performance, along with their skills? Did they exude emotion? Was the performance real? Was it believable? Contenders must be actors as well as dancers.

The judges look for styling. This involves the dancers' lines which include posture, full graceful extension of their legs, arms, center balance and fluid continuity, giving the look of big, yet flawless and seamless.

Evaluation also includes the couple's individual and combined strengths as supporting partners. Did they hold their own on the dance floor, yet dance as a unit?

Musicality and Expression - The basic characterization of the dance to the particular music being played and the choreographic adherence to musical phrasings and accents.

Presentation - Does the couple sell their dancing to the audience? Do they dance outwardly, with enthusiasm, exuding their joy of dancing and confidence in their performance?

The most perplexing problem for judges is analyzing the contenders as a group while performing. It is not a one-on-one. In that one minute and thirty seconds of performing, the judges must go into multitask mode, simultaneously critiquing the contenders both collectively and individually in order to properly evaluate the performance and render the appropriate score.

Different judges have different preferences in what they want to see, and weight these factors differently. One judge might be especially interested in technique, while another wants to be moved by musicality and expression. While both factors are obviously important and need to be considered, it can result in couples getting widely disparate markings. Because the judge sees each couple for only a few seconds, anything that draws the attention, either positively or negatively, could very well be the deciding factor on how you are marked. Most judges try to do a conscientious job. And the use of a panel usually insures that the end result is the correct one.

Dancing is a process. The more practice, the better the performance. Competitions are designed to put dancers to the ultimate test.

And if you are worried that you might not have what it takes to become an accomplished ballroom dancer, consider this quote - Cannot act. Slightly bald. Can dance a little. - Anonymous studio verdict on the original screen test of Fred Astaire in 1933.

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