What drives us to compete?
In A Look In The Mirror I wrote about the creation process of a competition piece but not about the competition itself. A few other bloggers have written on preparing for competition, competition critique and jack & jills but what about why we choose to compete?
There really are many reasons that people compete and I certainly won’t be able to explain them all but here are a few common ones.
- Personal Challenge
Recognition: This is a very common reason within the dance community to compete. With competition performance and success you are more visible than your peers that do not compete. The assignment of status to competitive level dancers pushes many people to compete. However, recognition in competition is not always positive and can bring mixed reactions from others whether due to unsporting behavior or personal opinion.
Expectation: Expectation can take the form of the expectations of peers or yourself that at a certain point you should compete. It can be the obligation you feel if a dance partner wants to compete or of a scene pressing you forward. Expectations can help push you higher than you expected or drag you into a situation you weren’t interested in or ready for.
Personal Challenge: With goals and determination come improvement. Taking on a competition as a means to push your own dancing to another level can be quite empowering. With an attitude of this sort it is more about surpassing your own limits than placing or recognition.
Fun: Getting out there in front of a crowd with your peers can be a great way to let loose and have fun. Whether you chose to do it on a whim or because you enjoy competing; going out and having fun in a competition is probably one of the best mind frames you can have. Just don’t get too crazy and lose sight of your partner.
Usually we end up competing for some, if not all, of these reasons.
As a competitive dancer, I have competed with each one of these in mind at some point. These days the most important to me are the personal challenge and fun. It is exhilarating to get on the floor with your friends and peers and bring the best you have. With the energy of a great crowd and a good jam its hard not to feel vibrant and alive.
Watch the energy in this clip from Boston Tea Party last year.
Why do you compete? Post a comment and let me know.