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First festival dance


MummytoIzzy
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My daughter is doing her first festival in October.  They start rehearsals the end of August.  She is. A bit nervous and excited and I didn’t know if others who had done festivals before could share any advice.

 

She will be 8 in June and has only been doing ballet since last September but absolutely adores it.  She has previously been nervous on stage in school performances but is very confident off stage.

 

Thank you :)

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My two daughters do festivals and my youngest is 8, I have found the festivals we do to be really friendly and all the children encourage each other, in terms of what the adjudicator is looking for I have no idea! Some seem to want technique and others rather would have a lovely face and performance .

Is there a few from her school that do festivals? I would say don’t worry at all and just enjoy it, once she has the bug she will want a  whole host of dances and that’s when it becomes expensive in my opinion! X

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I think it’s more the idea she will be on the stage on her own and she’s worried she will forget her dance.  She is more a technical dancer not a ‘face’ dancer.  I’m sure this will come with time as her confidence improves.  I’ll just keep reinforcing it is about her having fun and enjoying the experience.  

 

A few of the girls are doing it I believe I will check and find out which.  They do a invite only to the festivals at the school.  She is looking forward to wearing a pretty dress :)  

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My dd always enjoyed festivals. We only did about 3 or 4 a year. Some schools do a lot more, but I don’t think we would have looked forward to them as much if they had been more frequent. She made lots of friends there and loved the whole thing of costumes and make-up and performing. There are usually separate sections for novices, and at that age several of the novices in the section will be nervous, forget bits or get bits wrong, so I wouldn’t worry about it. I would suggest arriving a couple of hours early if you can so that you daughter can watch some other sections and get a feel for how it works. As Tinks said, if she gets the bug it can become expensive - check out Ebay or ScottishBalletMum’s Facebook page for second hand costumes! Good luck!

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@MummytoIzzy

My DD has been doing festivals for about 18 months, and she loves them.

 

From my observations, it is probably the parents who stress more than the children. Once she's done her first dance, you will be surprised how quickly she gets into the swing of it. There is nothing like a festival to give you feedback on how your daughter is doing. Always keep your perspective. If your DD doesn't win medals, the written feedback you receive can be even more valuable if acted upon.

 

There are plenty of people who tend to fly in for their section, then leave. But if you have the time, I would advise on either arriving early, staying a little later or even going on a day that your DD doesn't dance - mainly to sit and watch some of the older performers. I think this is one of the most valuable lessons you can give - so they can see what they might be doing in a couple of years or so.

 

But most of all, keep it light and make sure she's having fun.
 

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mine have done festivals for a few years. One loves them, (has a solo and a duet) the other did a solo a few times but wasn't keen and now just does a duet. All children are different and often they surprise you with how they react to things so she might very rapidly become a real performer.

 

I agree with being realistic and keeping things in perspective. Some festivals do have novice sections but nearly all of ours don't. They do have to be able to handle not being "good enough" for medals but "good enough" for medals can vary greatly with different adjudicators as has already been said as they have different ideas of what they are looking for. We have been at some where technique has been the primary factor and others where it has been purely based on performance and face. Others where it has been the combination of the two which is what I would expect to be the norm. Also been at one where two of the three who placed tripped and weren't amazing to start with but they placed because the adjudicator wasn't watching at that point. So you do have to be very accepting of all eventualities but I think this teaches some amazing life skills. 

 

My girls like getting comments. their exam board doesn't give comments, just mark sheets, so to have proper feedback is lovely. In our experience the feedback usually reflects exactly what their teachers have been telling them and will include constructive comments as well as praise. The aim of festivals is to encourage and inspire I think.

 

I agree with taking time to watch some other sections, even if she doesn't know anyone in them, just to get a feel for different styles and the atmosphere of it all. We don't tend to hang around and watch too many (normally due to having another grumpy child in tow) but we do like to watch certain ones. I would never voluntarily sit through a lyrical section unless it only had a handful of entries but if there was a tap section I could sit for ages and watch those. 

 

I suspect she will enjoy it but if she doesn't then as long as she knows it isn't compulsory then nothing has been lost. 

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  • 1 month later...

Thank you for this lengthy response.  I am getting organised already! Tutu and decorations ordered already :)

 

Izzy is very excited and although nervous I think once she is up on stage she will be in the moment.  I do worry about ‘the face’ as she seems a very much feels the music and emotion dancer of that makes sense? She does show emotion but not with a beaming smile.  The silly thing is as soon as she stops dancing she has the biggest smile on her face!  It’s a mix of concentration and just how she is when she dances I guess?

 

have to see how it goes.  On the upside she’s Ben using her theraband daily and doing calf raises as per teacher guidance and her feet are looking amazing.  If they are looking at technique I think from what her teacher says so far she will do well if she carries on as she is :) 

 

i have also ordered quite a few hotfix rhinestones so she will dazzle :) in a classic way not too much :)  

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6 hours ago, MummytoIzzy said:

Thank you for this lengthy response.  I am getting organised already! Tutu and decorations ordered already :)

 

Izzy is very excited and although nervous I think once she is up on stage she will be in the moment.  I do worry about ‘the face’ as she seems a very much feels the music and emotion dancer of that makes sense? She does show emotion but not with a beaming smile.  The silly thing is as soon as she stops dancing she has the biggest smile on her face!  It’s a mix of concentration and just how she is when she dances I guess?

 

have to see how it goes.  On the upside she’s Ben using her theraband daily and doing calf raises as per teacher guidance and her feet are looking amazing.  If they are looking at technique I think from what her teacher says so far she will do well if she carries on as she is :) 

 

i have also ordered quite a few hotfix rhinestones so she will dazzle :) in a classic way not too much :)  

"Feeling" the music and showing facial expression, particularly in Ballet, is much more desireable than a silly grin, trust me !!

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In Australia, it is quite common for young students to participate in local dance comps or Eisteddfods (same thing here).  Given the cost of costumes and coaching I encourage my daughter to do a number of them a year.  This also means she sees her improvement over time.  She loves it and I find the culture to be very positive and supportive..

Her placing or comments from adjudicators can vary a lot which makes it even more important to do a number of different comps in order to get a more valid idea of how you are doing (on average) and definitely softens the impact of any one person's opinion.  I see it as training for facing more important auditions and for life as a professional dancer. Things go wrong and she just deals with it.  Stages are different sizes and she adjusts.  

 

Steven McCrae talks about his experience in this video from 'In conversation with...'

At 6:45 he explains how he started doing solo comps at 8

At 19:25 he talks about the benefits he sees in participating in competitions

 

 

 

Edited by DD Driver
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On 29/03/2019 at 11:52, Mrs Brown said:

mine have done festivals for a few years. One loves them, (has a solo and a duet) the other did a solo a few times but wasn't keen and now just does a duet. All children are different and often they surprise you with how they react to things so she might very rapidly become a real performer.

 

I agree with being realistic and keeping things in perspective. Some festivals do have novice sections but nearly all of ours don't. They do have to be able to handle not being "good enough" for medals but "good enough" for medals can vary greatly with different adjudicators as has already been said as they have different ideas of what they are looking for. We have been at some where technique has been the primary factor and others where it has been purely based on performance and face. Others where it has been the combination of the two which is what I would expect to be the norm. Also been at one where two of the three who placed tripped and weren't amazing to start with but they placed because the adjudicator wasn't watching at that point. So you do have to be very accepting of all eventualities but I think this teaches some amazing life skills. 

 

My girls like getting comments. their exam board doesn't give comments, just mark sheets, so to have proper feedback is lovely. In our experience the feedback usually reflects exactly what their teachers have been telling them and will include constructive comments as well as praise. The aim of festivals is to encourage and inspire I think.

 

I agree with taking time to watch some other sections, even if she doesn't know anyone in them, just to get a feel for different styles and the atmosphere of it all. We don't tend to hang around and watch too many (normally due to having another grumpy child in tow) but we do like to watch certain ones. I would never voluntarily sit through a lyrical section unless it only had a handful of entries but if there was a tap section I could sit for ages and watch those. 

 

I suspect she will enjoy it but if she doesn't then as long as she knows it isn't compulsory then nothing has been lost. 

Thank you.  We are only able to do the festivals the school take part in.  Will take every opportunity to help her confidence and performance though :) My daughter is also applying to audition for Elmhurst associates this summer.  Even if she doesn’t get in I’m hoping it will be a wonderful experience for her :) 

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You sound very excited. That's lovely. I hope Izzy and you both enjoy her first festival.

My DD did festivals from the age of 5 to 18. Overall we had positive experiences and i think she gained a lot from them, in terms of general life lessons every bit as much as dance.

BUT we also saw some of the uglier side of competitions and soon realised that it is very important to keep things in perspective. Always remember that the marks and comments are simply one person's opinion on a minute or two of dancing. They may seem important in the moment, but they are very transient. And that applies just as much if they are outstanding as it does if they are disappointing. 

What really matters are not the trophies and medals (pots and pennies as my DD used to call them!) but what is the dancer gaining from participation? And there are lots of things to be gained - performance experience, resilience, new friends and lots of fun to name but a few. 

My DD can't remember now what trophies she won or a single mark awarded for any particular dance, but we will still laugh til we cry when we reminisce about particular disasters that occurred and we remember very fondly time spent with good friends at festivals. Plus she can recognise many ways that her festival experiences have been of benefit subsequently. Not to mention the vast improvement in my skills as a hair stylist, make up artist and wielder of a glue gun over the years! 😂

So my advice is try it. Have fun. But be sure to always keep festival participation as your slave - dont let it become your master. 

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Completely agree with Pups mum. DD did comps age 11-15 and was happy to stop 6 months ago as she found the adrenaline rollercoaster exhausting with eight solos by the time she gave up. Do explain to your DD that the other dancers at the festivals are probably the more/most talented ones from their dance schools so it's much harder to shine.

Adjudicators can be lovely or miserable. One told DD in his early comments the he wasn't going to place her until he saw her 'connect with the audience'. She had always struggled with this and so her teacher had given her two solos where she was either in a dream or a flashback type of scenario. So she felt she couldn't do anything right! The  best adjudicators will recognise what DC did well and encourage them while also offering some constructive feedback – DD's teacher always checked the comments and they would both smile at the same corrections that she was constantly raising!

 

I think it builds great life skills too – eg DD (who is a reserved introvert) does well every time they have speeches in her class. She says that after dancing on stage on your own, just having to speak seems easy! So we never know what skills they are learning that will stand them in good stead whether they continue dancing or not. Do enjoy the whole experience – I bought 3 or 4 inexpensive replica trophies for significant things my DD won (first classical, first variation, first aggregate), so she will still have some dance mementoes on her trophy shelf even after she's returned all the real ones. But we all celebrate differently. For me it was about building her confidence, but as they get older they compare themselves with the DC who want a dance career and are training much more seriously, so the time came when it was no longer a positive experience for my young perfectionist. Others adore performing and keep going as long as they can. You will certainly find out which camp your DD is in!

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