Have you ever wondered what it is like to perform your dance?

Even if you are just starting out, there might be one day you will be dancing in front of a large audience. It is unsettling, yet thrilling. You must have dreamed about it at least once.

Although the two are the same in terms of performing in public in front of the stage, attributes are largely different in contests and showcases.

It is as different as all the smartphones out there.

If you are a viewer, this difference if the stuff you are watching is a show or a contest is irrelevant. But it will be completely different from the performer's point of view.

I am certain it is really different.

I wrote it twice because the distinction is important.

Contest = Competition. A world where winning or losing occurs

First of all, if you summarize what dance contest is, it is the competition that decides the first place.

Some key attributes are:

  • Entry has conditions such as age, sex, number of people
  • There is a time limit to the performance such as less than 2.5min or 150sec
  • You must submit the sound source in the specified format such as "CD" or "MP3".

Following this rule, we create works and sign up, and the judges evaluate the performance, deciding the first place.

The first prize, the second place, and the third place are honored. Depending on the contest, there are also "Special Prize" for the jury award.

Picking the first place and deciding winner/loser type of contest is no doubt that it is a converted version of dance performance into a competition like the Olympic sports games.

Also, having consume that fits the atmosphere of dancing and songs is an important element in the contest. Dance performance is nice, but if something like clothes is uncool (poorly-made), depending on the jury it can become negative. As you can imagine, chances of winning in the reverse situation (dancing is crap and costume is good) probably is not however.

The balance between dance quality and costume is important.

Lastly, since the time is short and limited, there is no need for a sloppy solo turn. The story is inevitably compact.

Showcase = Performance to be done in public

On the other hand, the dancing in showcase has no winning or losing. It is a show that you can do whatever you want to do as it is.

In many cases, you will receive a request for a specific time window from the event organizer and let the performance be done within that frame. Or, if it is a local dance classroom, it is common to participate in the local festivals that are held every year.

It is roughly 3 to 4 minutes of performance material. The show has no rule whatsoever like a contest.

However, those who started dancing teams and not yet built their career or reputations could be charged with ticket quota from the organizer. They would be playing a part in attracting customers.

"I'm dancing at this event! Come!"
"Hey! I have advance tickets, will you come?"

Interaction like this must be part of everyday life for university student dancers.

Like a musician or a comedian's live show, dancing also has an aspect of attracting events that you attend.

If you win the contest, your name will be spread. Such team will soon start to receive invitation to appear as guest dancers from the management side. At that point, there is no more ticket quota, and financial reward will be granted towards your performance.

If you win a nationwide famous contest, your fame will will shoot up to the sky.

Depending on where you live, there might be active dance events. You will find it easy to find a performance opportunity. In other area, however, several teams would be competing for a spot inside showtime events such as DJ, rap, singing, or other art concerts.

The result of the contest depends on the judges

The contest is about turning dancing into competition deciding winners and losers. That judging criteria are quite distinctive.

It is unlike tracking and swimming where the result is obvious to anyone. It is not like figure skating and gymnastics where the technique difficulty and composition of skills are quantified either.

Criteria are abstract.

Although each tournament might have a judging item, judgement for performance is done on the spot, and there is no video playback.

It is common when the team you hope for is not winning, or the team you think no-way wins the championship.

At the same time, there are times when the 1st place is obvious to anyone's eyes. It is really difficult to know in advance.

It all depends on the judges of the day.

I have witnessed many times the pattern like the one from the same studio as the judge ends up winning. The result is decided by very uncertain criteria based on that judge's preference.

Some judge comments include things like "I liked this and that of the team". Well, this "like" at this time is stronger in terms of GOOD than LIKE though.

To the performance of break dancing, people who specialize stand up style may judge the power mover, and vice versa. Evaluation often happen beyond genres.

Even if you gain the internal confidence from your performance without any mistakes and capability beyond your ordinary, it depends on how the judges of the day feel after all.

It can go in both hands, but I tend to think judges go evaluate severer on the same genre. It is truly special.

In order to aim for the absolute victory, your piece must be the 1st place regardless of who look at it. It has to be off the chart.

Contest & showcase help you become a mature dancer

The dance contest provides you many aspects; commendation if you win, satisfying the approval desire; if you lose, disappointment fills you in. It is an indispensable step to grow as a dancer.

However, it is not intended to enter with a easy show feeling.

Because the contest is a competition.

Some well-known dance teams that win in the kids category are already next level. You will be shocked.

They endured tough practice, cut down time to play, and pour everything into dancing... It is an extraordinary preparation.

Having said about the endorsement towards contest, I do not mean to say you can take it easy on the showcase.

In both the contest and the showcase, the audience who have come to the event is using their precious time.

  • Forgetting routine
  • Unsmooth move from nervous tension
  • Untied shoelaces
  • Downwards faces
  • Mistaken transition move

They are all due to the lack of preparation. It is not only bad appearance for the audience, but also sad for your fellow dance members. Let's put in serious effort at any time.