StEPS: Navigating the Competitive Dance Scene: A Guide to Maturity and Professionalism

National Dance Alliance , Dance Nationals

Navigating the Competitive Dance Scene: A Guide to Maturity and Professionalism

Welcome to Beyond the StEPS


Hey there, high school dance enthusiasts! Have you ever found yourself caught up in the whirlwind of competitive dance, unsure of how to navigate the complexities of teamwork, competition, and professionalism? Well, fear not! In this blog post, we're diving into the world of competitive dance and exploring how to foster maturity and professionalism in this exciting yet challenging environment.

Picture this: you're part of a competitive dance team, gearing up for a big competition. The pressure is on, and emotions are running high. But amidst the excitement and nerves, how do you ensure that you and your team maintain a level of maturity and professionalism throughout the journey? Let's break it down.

First things first, it's essential to understand the importance of aligning with your values. Whether you're a dancer, parent, or coach, take a moment to reflect on what truly matters to you in the world of dance. Is it about winning trophies, or is it more about personal growth, teamwork, and artistic expression? By clarifying your values, you can set clear goals and priorities that go beyond just winning competitions.

Speaking of goals, let's talk about measuring success. Sure, winning a competition can be exhilarating, but true success in dance goes beyond the final score. It's about the journey, the progress you make as an individual and as a team, and the moments of pure joy and artistic expression on stage. So instead of hyper-focusing on the end result, celebrate the small victories along the way and acknowledge the hard work and dedication that goes into every performance.

Now, let's address the elephant in the room: competition dynamics and team conflicts. In any competitive environment, tensions can run high, and disagreements may arise among team members. But here's the thing: conflicts are inevitable, but how you handle them makes all the difference. Instead of jumping into the middle of the drama, take a step back and approach the situation with maturity and empathy. Listen to each other's perspectives, find common ground, and work towards resolution as a team.

But maturity and professionalism aren't just for dancers; they're equally important for parents and coaches too. As a parent, coach, or mentor, your role is to provide support, guidance, and stability for young dancers, especially in high-stress environments like competitions. Remember to lead by example, practice active listening, and prioritize open communication with your dancers.

In the end, fostering maturity and professionalism in the competitive dance scene is all about creating a culture of respect, empathy, and growth. By aligning with your values, celebrating progress over perfection, and handling conflicts with grace and maturity, you can contribute to a positive and supportive dance community where everyone can thrive.

So, whether you're gearing up for your next competition or supporting a young dancer on their journey, remember to stay true to your values, celebrate every step of the journey, and approach challenges with maturity and professionalism. Together, we can create a dance environment where everyone feels valued, supported, and empowered to shine on and off the stage.

Keep dancing, keep growing, and keep spreading positivity in the world of competitive dance!



Continue your Education for yourself and your students with the StEPS Initiative Course!

About the StEPS Initiative Course

This course started in part with our charity event we created to save dance studios. Then we decided to keep it a free resource for the dance community. You can learn all about it below.

As part of our commitment to education and creating a safe space for all dancers, we are excited to introduce the StEPS Initiative Course. This has been curated by Apolla and donated from experts and professionals in each topic. 

Our goal in creating this course is to give dance teachers continuing education/professional development, give dancers the power of education, and provide parents the knowledge to see red flags. Each section has actionable items that can unite dance studios focused on equity and creating a safe space for every dancer. This course gives evidence-based information, some perspective & qualitative information, dance history, and further resources that can help you learn something new that helps progress and strengthen your studio OR solidify what you already have in place. There is something for everyone! 

This course is free for EVERYONE (Apolla has covered the cost and the presenters have donated the course content). These are meant to be introductions and actionable items for you. We know this is not a silver bullet to fix every issue or topic that needs to be addressed in dance. Each topic is deep and broad on its own. However, we aim for this to be the first step for some of us in these topics and even serves as a small catalyst for change in our industry. You will see there are also many resources that can allow you to expand your journey further in any of the subjects. With all that 2020 has thrown at all of us, we are determined to heal through listening, grow from adversity through action, and rise up by bringing everyone together. In the end, we will create a space open wide for the new generation of artists and athletes to ring in the new decade stronger and safer than ever!




Watch our Beyond the StEPS Episode on: “How do we foster a culture of maturity and professionalism among adults in youth competition?” With our hosts Bri and Melissa, and special guest Lauren Ritchie*!

*Lauren Ritchie (MEd, BA, ESFCC) is an established mental skills educator, dance teacher, and choreographer. Her areas of interest and expertise include sports and performance mental training, as well as the intersection of well-being and mindfulness. With a personal philosophy of “Choose courage; do the work”, Lauren champions the brilliance and bravery within every dancer, educator, and leader.

Her work has led to the creation of international teacher training programs, dance and sport conventions, the pioneering show The Dance Podcast, and mental performance-based curriculums for dancers, athletes, and coaches. Lauren’s proficiency in performance preparation and enhancement has led to supporting youth and professionals in dance, theatre, hockey, music, gymnastics, volleyball, and soccer. 

Lauren has been a featured speaker for the Women In Sport Speaker Series, Alberta Dance Alliance, Dance Studio Owners Association, House of Jazz (London), and the Toronto Dance Teacher Expo. She has delivered workshops to prestigious schools and programs like Harbour Dance Centre, the Alberta Ballet School, the Dancer Transition Resource Centre, Capilano University, the University of Calgary, and Stacey Tookey's The Bridge Movement.

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