Sometimes I have a parent at the studio constantly comparing their child to others in the class. This is a guaranteed way to turn your child off to dance. Or at the very least take a little of the joy out of it.
It saddens me when a student tells me all their family could do was talk about how good another dancer was after a show. They don’t praise their own child. They simply note that they wish she could be like the other dancer in some way.
I know the parent is doing their best to get their child to do better. But this is not the best way to do it.
Being set up in life to constantly compare yourself to others is a sure recipe for unhappiness. There will always be someone better. It’s a no win game.
The best at anything in the world is in competition with one. Themselves.
I can tell when a dancer is hearing this comparison at home. They are always looking in the mirror to see if their leg is higher than another dancer. They check out all the other dancers in the room to make sure their technique is better.
I make it a point to never let a teacher compare one student with another. I have strict policy against a teacher saying: “Susie, why isn’t your leg as high as Cindy’s”
Yes, that does happen from time to time in the professional world. In a children’s dance studio this is not necessary. There are healthier and more positive ways to motivate students to do their best.
Teaching them to only judge their progress against themselves is one of the best skills we can give them. It is a skill that will lead to a healthy, happy and successful life. It is one of the many values of a dance education that is priceless.