Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Carried Away by Excellence

This post, in no way, is intended to make light of the hard work by all of those who are involved in the Candance and American Dance Awards (ADA) competitions, from the dancers, the choreographers, the judges, to the administrators of the events. If any offense is taken, remember: most of the time, I don't know what the hell I'm talking about.

For the past three years, I've had the honour of taking my two kids to dance in competitions in our province, neighbouring American state, and in Florida. It's a treat to see them and their peers do what they love best, and to showcase what they have worked so hard to achieve.

It's also great to see kids from other schools in other parts of Canada and the U.S. do the same. There are some amazingly talented performers out there who, if they so choose to pursue this path further, will have wonderful and rewarding careers.

As a proud dance dad, I like to watch not only my kids perform on stage, but also watch the expressions on their faces as they win their awards. For myself, I don't care how they place; I only want them to have fun and be happy with the performances they give. But because we have such an excellent dance school with amazing instructors, the girls always do well at awards time.

The awards in themselves are something, in that it is sometimes hard to explain how well the kids actually did for their dance numbers. And it all comes down to deciphering the medals.

In the Olympics and other sporting events, the awards are clear: you receive a bronze medal for finishing in third place, a silver for second, and a gold for first place. Not so in dance, and not so for all dance competitions.

For Candance, the awards are distributed this way, on a percentage basis:
  • If your dance number achieves a score of 79% or less, you earn a bronze award.
  • If your dance number achieves a score of 80-84%, you earn a silver award.
  • If your dance number achieves a score of 85-89%, you earn a gold award.
  • If your dance number achieves a score of 90-94%, you earn a platinum award.
  • If your dance number achieves a score of 95% or higher, you earn a diamond award.
Earning a diamond award brings you back for the final evening, where you face other teams in a dance-off. To me, that means you stay longer for the competition, possibly for an extra night.

I encourage my girls to go for platinum.

Judges also award a first, second, and third place for the top dance numbers in a category.

For ADA, there is no dance-off. There is no diamond or platinum award. But there is also no easy bronze, silver, and gold. I don't remember how the points are distributed, but the medals are distributed as follows:
  • Bronze
  • Silver
  • High silver
  • Gold
  • Ultimate gold
With both dance organizations, I have to laugh to myself. For me, bronze, silver, and gold is like saying the contestants are good (bronze), better (silver), and best (gold). In splitting some of the awards, I feel it's like saying: "You were good" (bronze); "you were better" (silver); "you were a little better" (high silver); "you were the best" (gold); "you were the best of the best" (ultimate gold).

It's a little much, don't you think? I think it puts too much of a gap between those who earn medals on the extreme ends of the spectrum.

And all of the dancers, regardless of the piece of metal that is placed in their hands or around their necks, are exceptional.

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