When Should Difficulty Override Execution?
It is widely argued that difficulty should never come before the execution of a dance move or combination. Whilst high level competitions demand more and more from competing dancers, ultimately it is more important to execute the movement well and with high quality, rather than struggle with something that is too challenging.
On the competition circuit, when a dancer executes a new “trick” successfully onstage, it is something that every other dancer must then aspire to, in order to keep up with the ever-rising bar that is set. The pressure to stay current is huge, as the dancer - and dance teacher - then feels as though they may be slipping away from the current standard. With some dancers, this means they push, and are pushed, to perform movements which are out of their age, safety or flexibility range, so often pose dangers to what began as a competitive, yet friendly, activity.
On the flip side, the majority of judges and adjudicators would prefer to see simpler, cleaner lines and steps onstage in competition choreography than tricks, especially from those that are not ready yet. Lengthy and systematic training is key to achieving the impressive movements and performing with awe: dancers “faking” movements and even being injured on stage when attempting things out of their reach is not what the industry should be promoting.
Many students attempt movements before the coordination and strength to support them is properly developed, in terms of muscle recognition and faster connections between the brain and body. Dancers’ bodies need time and repetition to successfully develop and sometimes older dancers are identified has having developed bad habits and injuries from been pushed too fast or having missed vital developmental training. Their struggle means they must go back to basics and re-learn.