The difference between reality competitions and televised dance competitions.


Competitive dancing is an art form in which dancers rehearse and train their routines before going out to competitions. You can watch competitive dancing on the two hit television series Dance Moms and Dance Moms: Miami. The shows demonstrate what the life of a young dancer is and how stressful it can be. But, as with most of what is on TV, not all things shown are true. Dancing can be stressful but what is displayed on the TV screen has nothing to do what dancing is truly about. While TV shows like Dance Moms and Dance Moms: Miami draw attention to the competitive dance world, competitive dance is not all about winning. Unlike what is seen on TV, Competitive dancers experience having fun, creating family type bonds, travelling and experiencing new cities, and of course being able to play different roles and routines.

Dance Moms airs on TLC and Lifetime. Its plot is dedicated to a specific competition team in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. The team only has a few days to rehearse dances before going out to compete. If they do not win overall or first, the coach, Abby Lee Miller, shouts, screams, and pushes her students until they receive a suitable ranking. She sees it as a sport rather than a fun extracurricular activity for children. The show displays children crying due to stress, mothers fighting for their child to become number one, and the brutal schedules dancers must face to perfect their routines. Each dance receives a medallion listed from low to highest. The rankings are BRONZE, SILVER, GOLD, PLATINUM, DIAMOND, and EMERALD. Abby Lee’s Dance Company has never won less than third place, though being at the top is priority for this team. The routines that receive lower than first, overall, and sometimes second, do not appear on air and are edited out of the episode.

The show became successful for the sole purpose of drama like any scripted soap opera on TV. This doesn’t make what appears on TV true, but it does make it look believable for the audience watching. Dance students learn how to manage time efficiently. Lasting friendships can be made and social connections formed. Losing weight is another benefit and it also could help with the eating habits of children from working out to eating healthier snacks.

Dancing gives children a chance to express their creativity socially with friends and during school. Dance gives dancers the knowledge to follow rules and follow-up with skills later in life. It improves muscle tone, corrects posture, increase balance, and overall cardiovascular health. Dance can become stressful due to balancing with school and homework but the amount that is shown on the series and the abuse these children face verbally isn’t what real competition is about.

Preferring a dancer to another, shouting at them until corrections are made, and verbally abusing a child for what their parents have done isn’t competitive dancing. These are acts displayed for entertainment. True competition is about fairness, fun, being on time, and being devoted. An article on a dance centric blog wrote that dancers could improve their social and communications skills, learn how to work as part of a team, make new friends, and helps with anxiety surrounding new people or places.

If you want to learn, want to succeed and have fun doing so then there is nothing else needed. Being a dancer makes many happy memories and creates opportunities that aren’t properly shown on TV. Dancing is about creativity and acquiring new skills, not about placing overall to please one person. For children dealing with self-esteem issues, dance can boost confidence. EduDance, a dance magazine, says lessons can give students positive attitudes and explore their own self-expression. Mentally or physically impaired children can be given an opportunity to deal with emotional problems through dance and can help aid them socially, physically, and mentally. A positive extracurricular activity such as dance shouldn’t be shown in such a negative light on TV. With all the benefits it brings physically, mentally, and socially it’s safe to say the competitive dance world is a great way to extend your social circle. Acquiring new skills and becoming confident while doing so is the main purpose of dance, being able to express who you truly are as an artist and as a person.