Q: Some of my competitive dancers want to pick and choose what genres they train and compete in.
A: At our studio, we address this problem by having different levels of commitment for different teams. Our part-time team trains for less than six hours per week. They must take ballet and jazz, but whether they take hip hop, tap, contemporary or acrobatics is their choice. They have leeway when it comes to missing classes, and they only compete at three competitions.
Our full-time company dancers are a different story. These dancers must take advantage of all opportunities offered to them. They are required to take all genres of dance, including ballet, jazz, acro, hip hop, tap, contemporary (lyrical for the younger dancers) and production. They’re only allowed to miss class once from the start of choreography until the last competition, and they have to attend two conventions and four competitions a year, as well as a Nationals every other year.
Whether your dancers fall into the full-time or part-time competitive level, it’s important to set class commitment standards and stick to them. I don’t think the days of fully committed, well-rounded dancers are gone. But I do think there’s room for the part-time dancer, too. Either way, you need to decide what works best for you and your studio.