Stardance Studio Blog

Monday, February 16, 2009

Do You Want to Compete In Ballroom Dancing?

This past weekend, we attended a ballroom dance competition, the California Open Dance Championships. This is a wonderful event and is a good example of how a competition should run.

The organizers provide a professional staff of helpers to meet your every need, the event has a fun and friendly atmosphere, the dance times run as scheduled, the dance floor is large (as far as competitions go) and spectators are entertained to a variety of levels of competition.

So what is it like competing at a dance competition? Many students will inquire, but only a handful will commit to the task, especially not knowing what lies ahead. When I suggest the idea to a potential competitor, they usually respond by saying, “it’s too hard, I’m not ready.” Then I usually say “they all say the same thing”.

Dance competitions are well categorized in Pro/Am divisions (Professional teacher with amateur student). Competitors are categorized by level (about every 5 steps of dancing), by age (approximately every 10 years of age) and gender (male or female). This way you can be certain that other competitors in your division know roughly the same steps, are within a few years of your own age and are the same gender. The organizers attempt to level the competitive “playing field” and ensure fairness for all divisions.

Now it’s up to the student and their teacher to make sure they are ready. Rehearsal time is extremely important. You should try to take at least 2 lessons per week, depending on your schedule and budget. Costuming and grooming also play a key part, as you want to present as “professional” an appearance as possible. Knowing your steps and looking well groomed go a long way. Arrive early and try to acclimate yourself to the environment. These are just a few key points to know.

I believe the benefits gained from participating in a dance competition are numerous and recommend it to anyone considering the idea. Once you have a goal in mind, you will find that your lessons are more focused (you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared!), your movements will become more graceful and well defined as your learn more technique, and you’ll become more confident in yourself while aspiring toward a higher level of dance.

There are many steps to prepare for your first dance competition. But with an experienced and knowledgeable instructor, you’ll get off to a good start. Make sure you are working with a Certified Professional Instructor and ask them how you can get involved in a dance competition. Good luck and we’ll see you on the dance floor.

Mark and Veronica


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