You Don’t Have to Win to Become a Champion

Elena Anashina

Well, that’s awkward… How can you become a Champion, if you didn’t win?
I knew you would ask that. I asked myself that same question numerous times. In fact, I thought I always chose the right answer (which was the only answer at that time) – The harder I practice, the more lessons I take, the more time I spend on this, the higher the chance that I will win! This would mean that I will become a Champion. Right? Well, it seems about right. But, in essence, it is a wrong mind set.

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Elena Anashina
Elena Anashina

Definition of a Champion

Since we’re in a dance sport industry, the first description that comes to mind – You win a dance championship, you are a Champion!
Frankly, the word Champion roots from Medieval Latin “Campio”, which back then meant – Fighter. It was later used by Old French and eventually traveled around the world to an interpreted meaning we know today. In the present days, people use this word to define an exceptional individual who surpassed all rivals and obstacles. In other words, if you successfully bypass heavy traffic, deal with angry bus driver and not get in trouble with your coach, since you made it on time for a lesson … You’re a Champion! This means that even simple dance tasks, that lead towards your major dance goals, make you a Champion.

Elena Anashina
Elena Anashina

Are You Sure You Want This?

I think, I know what you want. You want to stand on the first place pedestal with a huge trophy in your hand. You want to kiss that trophy, and raise it above your head (or maybe stand beside your partner with flowers in your hands, and feel immense pride that you both have finally done this). You see people on their feet, clapping and cheering for you. Calling your names! Numerous photographers in front of you, all snapping pictures of the lineup, of which you are the successors. Growing pride and euphoria builds up in your mind, with a funny tickle of uncertainty and disbelieve that you have finally reached your ultimate dance goal. Even though this moment lasts for two, maybe five minutes, you know it was all well worth it. And by all I mean:

Five days a week (if not more) with at least two hours of practice; constant private lessons and workshops; constant arguments with your partner; missing school; missing on getting together with friends, family gatherings, birthday parties and holidays; taking on another job to pay for lessons, competitions and endless traveling and … your time, your sweat, your tears, your disappointments.
Since you’re on this journey already, are you still positive that winning a championship will make you a Champion?

Elena Anashina
Elena Anashina

You Will Be Forgotten, Only You Will remember

I hate to say this, but it’s true. Do you remember who won Blackpool 10 years ago? How about Amateur Latin of International Championships 5 years ago? Back then dancers, just like you right now, have worked hard, fought for placements and made dance sport history. But then, time flies, people forget, and the only ones who will remember moments are dancers themselves. Different moments will be different for every dancer. And, each of us will have a choice of which moments we remember most – the good or the bad (and the ugly). So, would a 2 minute “Champion” moment overpower the tough memories of your journey to the top?

Elena Anashina
Elena Anashina

Slow Down and Enjoy

You know, tough memories of your journey to the top don’t have to be perceived as “bad”. You might not think you’re a Champion yet, but if you compare yourself, for instance, to a crippled guy you saw at a bus station the other day. Suddenly, you might think otherwise.

Sometimes, we forget that we are blessed to have what we have. We are blessed to be able to wake up, get out of bed, get to the studio, put on music and dance.

Sometimes, we forget that we have a partner, a coach and an ability to take lessons and go to competitions.

Sometimes, it’s just better to be a little Champion every day, than one big one for 2 minutes.

Author: Egor Shalvarov
Photography: Elena Anashina
Exclusively for Dance Comp Review