I have talked many times with other Championship dancers while waiting to compete at a Feis. So many dancers have a difficult time standing out and capturing the judges’ attention in a such a way that will win them 1st place.
When I was trying hard to win into Open Championship in the past, I came to the realization that just because I didn’t win 1st place, it didn’t mean the dancers who won were better than me. Just the fact that we are competing with each other proves we all are at the same skill level. When one dancer wins 1st place out of 15 or so dancers, it only shows who gave the best presentation that day.
I’ve heard much talk about judges who possibly favor a particular element of dance, and therefore only award dancers who kick the highest, or hang their leaps the longest. I’ve even heard people say judges sometimes prefer taller dancers or discriminate against those with older styles of dresses.
The fact is, no one can prove what a particular judge likes best, so there are really only 2 things a dancer needs to focus on when performing at a Feis. The first thing is obvious: just dance your best. That’s advice that simply goes without saying. But the second thing to remember is less obvious and it took me years to realize its importance.
You must have great showmanship! Competing at a Feis is just like performing on stage for any audience. There are people who get up in front of a crowd and really catch the audience’s attention, while others don’t. The question is, how is it done? Why is the judge rewarding more points to the girl in the pink dress, rather than to the girl in blue?
Showmanship can be many things, but more than anything it’s showing confidence and working hard to entertain your audience. Yes, the judges are your audience! It really helps a lot to see them that way. They, like anybody want to see a great show. If you’re the dancer with the most attitude, the most smiles, and present shining confidence with every step, it won’t matter if the girl next to you is kicking higher. The judges won’t be able to take their eyes off you.
Be a great performer for that judge! Get them excited and entertain them with a fantastic show. If you’re looking for a real edge that can make any dancer stand out, this is it! I guarantee you will have a far better chance of standing out against the competition if you have great showmanship.
What other sort of things can dancers do to impress a judge at a Feis?
Photo credit: Shelly Allen – For more from Shelly, check out her Irish dance blog & art on www.shellyallenart.com.
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