Pressure. In 2009, our dance company won the Belly Dancer of the Year Competition, and we've been chasing the "1st place" title ever since. During 2010, we won awards (1st runner up, 2nd place, etc) at several events, but the winning title alluded us. Luckily, we reversed the trend in 2011 and won two big competitions -- Belly Dancer USA and Yaa Halla Y'all.
I wanted to sit down an figure out what we did differently, and here is what I think changed our trend : we had fun and really enjoyed dancing together. Okay, I'll admit it, this isn't the epiphany you were probably expecting, but I really believe that is the secret sauce for all dance groups.
I've now logged tons of hours watching performers and troupes at competitions -- the work and skill of all these dancers is always evident when they take the stage. The ones that get my attention are the ones that engage their 'hearts' and get out of their 'heads'. They also are clearly enjoying dancing together (that energy is always felt by and audience) AND you can't tell who the troupe director is which is a big plus for me. I also really like the ones that break the mold and do something unexpected.
So back to 2010 -- we had all the right stuff -- great choreography, beautiful custom-made costume, great dancers -- we performed everything exactly right, but were not dancing to have fun and entertain --we were dancing to win -- I think when you take on that type of perspective your body, your attitude and your energy changes.
As we entered 2011 -- it wasn't about the win, it was about performing our best, entertaining the audience, enjoying the dance, and sharing lots fun and laughter along the way. That attitude helped fuel the year of the Troupe-A-Doop