via Instagram / @comfortfedoke
If you are a young dancer, chances are you have found many of your favorite dancers through competition shows like So You Think You Can Dance or America’s Got Talent and others like them. Because of this, many young dancers aspire to follow in their idols’ footsteps (or dance steps) and find their own fame on competition shows. Unfortunately, the world of entertainment can be a disappointing one. This is especially true when it has the reality aspect present in many televised competitions.
Comfort Fedoke competed on Season 4 of SYTYCD and is now one of the show’s All Star mentors. Despite being eliminated in the end of the season, Comfort went from being one of the Top 8 to an Emmy Award-winning dancer, choreographer, actress, and singer! Comfort’s talents cannot be measured only by her time on SYTYCD, and neither can anyone else’s. This is because, like any competition, you only get one chance, one score, one moment to impress the judges, and beyond that, you have to impress a worldwide audience who is voting on your personality more than anything else.
We talked with Comfort about what it takes to make it on to competition shows and how to handle the spotlight. These are some of the major things she notices as one of our favorite faces on SYTYCD:

Don’t Be Stagnant

As a dancer, you are probably used to the arrangement of competitions. These competitions have rules, patterns, and social cues that you understand. Competition shows are a bit different. They make you leave the comfort of the dance competitions you attend with your studio. In those competitions, you can be a member of a whole, part of your studio or your performance group. On a television show, you don’t always get rewarded for being there.

You are also under inspection by a wide audience. The world rarely cares about one thing. This means that you have to be dynamic. As a dancer this means evolving your style and technique. It also means revealing your personality. When you are on television, you have to put forth everything you have because you are competing with more than just your abilities as a dancer.

Be Yourself

Everyone has a story to tell. Know who you are and develop that. This is important because individuality doesn’t come from your dance studio. In the studio, you learn technique and vocabulary and exercises, but you cannot be taught to be yourself. You have to bring yourself to the stage. This means combining spontaneity and your understanding of technique with your style and talent. Comfort sees this as the “organized chaos” of being an individual. She says that dance is escape, and no two people can escape the same way, so don’t try to be anyone but yourself.

Focus on Your Talent

Ultimately, every competition show is a competition about your talent. Before you get to the point where the audience has influence over your progress, you have to impress the judges. To do this, focus on your talent. Being dynamic and showing who you are as an individual is important, but layer these things with your talent. This creates an image of who you are as a talented individual that stands out from the crowd for all the little things that make you who you are. That’s what people want to see – you being a talented individual.

In the end, competition shows can be an amazing opportunity to bring your talents to the world’s attention. However, they are not the only way to begin your career, and they aren’t the easiest way to begin you career either. Whether you want to try to make it on one or not, just remember that it is you that will put yourself where you need to be to succeed.