To Compete or Not To Compete
Ballroom & Latin Dance Competition
Philadelphia area contains a large dance community who regularly enjoy some of the benefits of social dancing. The Philadelphia area dance community also contains a large portion of dancers with an aversion to competition. The mission of USA Dance is to promote quantity and quality of partner dancing. If you visit their website or read their magazine, you can count the benefits they list for participants in social and competitive dancing. I think USA Dance has it figured out just right.
I have always loved dancing. I love social dancing. I also am in love with competition dancing.
On March 15, 2014, I judged at the Baltimore Dancesport Challenge, an NDCA sanctioned dance competition for juniors and adults. It's less than 2 hrs from Philadelphia to Baltimore. The venue was beautiful and new. The ballroom was very attractive and inviting, the music terrific, the floor perfect size, shape and surface. The awards were the most beautiful I have EVER seen at ANY competition in over 40 years of competing, spectating, organizing and judging dance competitions.
What would entice an enthusiastic dancer to prepare for participation in a competition of this sort?
I would say, the excitement and shot of adrenalin you know will hit you when you walk into the ballroom and see all the other dancers decked out in their dance attire and all psyched up to dance.
Proof that people experience same, is the nervousness displayed by some of the competitors: Dancing out of time, forgetting routines, going against the traffic, doing tango while foxtrot is playing, not being able to find the beat and get started, going on or off the dancefloor at the wrong time.
Those are all the same things that keep people from participating in competition. It's not fear of failure--it's knowing that without proper preparation, one might feel inadequate or that one might disappoint one's partner.
The frequent response/answer is to avoid competition dancing. A better response/answer is to get prepared physically, mentally and emotionally. It's worth the effort and the planning. Take lessons with a teacher who will arrange your routines into what is called "invigilator friendly" if you are entering a medal level. Be sure to comply with any dress codes that affect your age category or skill level. Join the appropriate dance organization (NDCA or USA Dance).Be sure to choose the proper age category and the best skill level for yourself and your partner(s), then jump in with all four feet! The results go far beyond improving your dancing.