How to compete like a Ballroom champion – even if you are just a beginner.

Now, there’s no reason to look like it’s your first year of competition, with these strategies to have you looking like a seasoned pro!

  1. Fine tune your technique – Lack of, or poor, technique is a sure fire way not to get marked in a Dancesport competition, and that’s why most competitors work tirelessly to improve their technique. But if you are only working on technique – you might be missing out of the following to get yourself that all important mark.
  2. Take your eyes off the floor and focus. An adjudicator cannot mark you if your eyes are on the floor, or your posture is down. So stretch, stretch, stretch – all the time. Take your eyes up just a notch – without throwing your head back. Then stretch some more. And focus on something or someone – a vacant gaze is not conducive to a good performance.
  3. Have immaculate shoes Taking the competition floor in shoes that are dirty is simply awful and ruins an entire outfit. It’s always advisable to buy two pairs of shoes at the same time. Use a pair of shoes for practice – and allow them to get dirty. Use the other pair for competition – so that they are brand spanking new. Retire the competition ones to practice after a few comps.
  4. Show emotion Blank eye stare, frowning or completely no expression is difficult to mark. Your face should reflect the dance – so we are expecting to see joy, passion, confidence or cheekiness, or a host of other emotions YOU feel as your dance. Dance from your heart.
  5. Exude confidence One thousand small ways we move and project out body express how we feel about ourselves. And adjudicators can read EVERY one of them. If you feel you are not prepared enough – and you let it show, we won’t mark you. Analyse everything you do from walking on the floor at the start to presenting and leaving the floor at the end of each dance – and project supreme confidence from start to finish.
  6. Achieve your best posture Great dancers work constantly on their posture when they are dancing .  But what about between dances, and entering and leaving the floor? Good dancing posture is essential for being marked at any time you can be seen on the floor.
  7. Analyse your grooming Make sure you are immaculately presented. Your hair should be pristine with neat edges for the gents and no wispy or flyaway hair for the girls. Have your hair and makeup professionally done if you are not confident to do it yourself. Make sure your tan, costume, makeup and hair are perfect.
  8.  Position, Position, Position. Take note where the adjudicators are and position yourself intelligently to achieve the best result.
  9. Be musical It’s apparent to adjudicators that some competitors only use the the music as an indication for them to begin and cease dancing – but completely lack rhythm and musicality for the dance itself. Although this might be due to competition nerves, if you want to be marked you need to listen, and be musical throughout your dance. It is not dancing unless you are moving with the music.
  10. Enjoy yourself. Everyone loves to watch someone dance and thoroughly enjoying themselves in the process. It’s contagious to see the real joy that some people exude when they dance. Judges are people too. Make us smile and be a part of your dance , and we’ll find it easy to mark you.

Monica Fincham was a Dancesport Competitor for 17 years and finished her career as a top professional in Australia three years ago. She has owned and operated her own dance studio in Melbourne, Australia for the last 11 years and now coaches the next generation of champions. She is a qualified adjudicator over 3 styles for Dancesport Australia.

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