What do you think of when you hear the word eisteddfod? Does it impact you negatively or positively? Do you think of a few dance studios sitting in a school hall in the bush competing for trophies? Do you think of the dance community coming together in one great place with enthusiasm, an infectious atmosphere where dancers from across the country get the opportunity to showcase what they love doing and receive helpful tips on how to get stronger and what to improve on?
I’d like to think that you all thought of the last one but I’m sure this isn’t the case. At the end of the day a dance eisteddfod, competition, festival should be about celebrating dance and improving your craft, your skills as a dancer and your skills as a collective (dance studio). After running a dance competition in May, DanceLife Unite I was truly impressed with the energy, passion, determination and responsiveness from all studios that participated in the competition.
Over the two months I have received emails and had many conversations with dance studio owners, parents, dance teachers and adjudicators about ‘eisteddfods’ on a range of topics from students dancing out of their age group to adjudicators being blast, unfair or insulting. Today, I want to focus on the last bit… the adjudicator.
As human beings we all have opinions on every facet of our lives and other people’s lives. What I think is good or even great you might think is poor. Last week I went to watch a dance show with a friend (dancer). I loved it and thought it was cutting edge and moving with amazing dancers and she thought it was complete rubbish. Who’s opinion of the show is right and whose is wrong? Is her’s right because she has 20 years more experience in the industry than I or am I right because I’m much more involved in the current dance community? We rarely question our opinions in this type of situation and seem to easily except peoples point of view, yet when it comes to one persons opinion (adjudicator) at a dance eisteddfod who doesn’t have the same opinion as us, our brain for some reason doesn’t process this as an opinion or as something positive to take on board and improve us as dancers or as business owners but as an attack. There have been many times I have disagreed with an adjudicator, as a student, as a teacher, as the other adjudicator next to them but one thing I have always remembered is that we all see things differently and like different things. I was recently at an eisteddfod where I had students compete that didn’t do as well as I expected and thought they should have done better but remembered the whole ‘opinion’ theory and could easily accept the adjudicators decisions while others from our team were quite disappointed and frustrated. A fortnight later we did extremely well with a different adjudicator yet the same schools.
My point here is about remembering that anytime you compete in an art form that the results may vary due to the basic fact that we all have different opinions. Want to improve your skills as a dancer or a dance studio? Learn to take on the feedback that will assist you in moving forward and don’t event take on the feedback that is highly negative or not helpful. Next time you’re at a competition try and focus on each positive that has come from that experience and don’t even mention any of the negative points! No matter what result you get see how this strategy builds even a stronger community within your dance studio. You as a studio owner select the mood that your studios leaves each and every competition, exactly the same as teachers create the mood of their students once they walk out the class room door.
Clint Salter

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