What are competition judges looking for?
After speaking with many competition judges I can tell you they are not looking for more “tricks”. While they can be impressive, IF executed correctly and even add to a piece, most judges are looking for those transitional movements and artistry. Adding “tricks” into a piece that the dancer is not executing properly can often do more harm than good in the eyes of a dance judge. It pulls focus from the piece as a whole and does nothing to show the audience who the dancer is as a person.
The beautiful thing about dance is that while you do need to be an athlete to dance it is NOT a sport and there are no requirements for “tricks”. So, if the “tricks”are solid and add to the piece, great, throw them in, but if not, focus on the dancers best qualities, truly listen to the message of the song, figure out what you want to say, and go from there.
What seems to move the judges and the audience is story telling and beauty in the movements. A simple tilt of the head can say more than a flip or crazy turn combo. I can also tell you that not every dance calls for the same turn sequence or leap combo.
Judges want to see every dance showcased as an individual idea and expression of art that the music dictates. After all, our dancers are individuals and do offer something unique and should be encouraged to showcase that.