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Four Essential Things, to Be a Great Ballroom Dance Competitor


KNIGHTtime by Stephen Knight, FADS Vice President and Executive Dance Director


A few years ago, at Fred Astaire Dance Studios’ 70th Anniversary celebration during National Dance Championships in Orlando FL, it hit me that we have so many new and talented couples on the competitive dance floor! After I returned home from the competition, I thought it would be a good time to familiarize our newer dancers, and remind our seasoned competitive dancers, what it takes to be a great Fred Astaire Dance Studios’ competitor.

  1. “Good Rehearsals”. This means working positively alongside your dance partner as a team, and not spending time dwelling about what either of you might have done wrong. Remember, people make mistakes and that is why we rehearse and practice. Treat your dance partner well, keep a sense of humor, and STAY POSITIVE – and you will reach your goals faster.
  2. A Super Support Team. Your support team may consist of the team at your studio, your dance coaches, your costume designers, a personal trainer, even friends or family members who motivate you in word and deed to keep moving forward, etc. Accept help from those around you who are vested in your success – because “it takes a village”.
  3. Great Grooming. Great grooming is so important because of the impression it makes on judges. Costuming can make or break a couple in the competition. Make sure that you invest some of your time and money into your appearance with top-notch costumes, makeup, hairstyles and manicures. It pays off in a grand way!
  4. Sportsmanship. In my opinion, the final thing that makes a great competitor is good sportsmanship. I have seen cases where couples acted inappropriately following the announcement of a result, and believe me it does not sit well with the judges. Do yourself a favor – act with grace and class on the dance floor, win or lose. If you need time to compose yourself, go up to your room or find a private space. There will always be winners and losers, but remember that the players and the results will change every time, so learn from your mistakes and move on. And always remember, that your goals should be to become good dancer, and a good person. That my friends, will take you a long way in the ballroom industry, and life in general.

Stephen Knight is Vice President & Executive Dance Director with Fred Astaire Dance Studios. He also serves as Dance Coach and Regional Franchise Director for the FADS Wisconsin Region. A National Champion during his competitive years, Stephen is most well-known for his choreography, and for creating a large portion of the Fred Astaire Dance Studios Silver Syllabus. For more information on the members of the Fred Astaire Dance Studios International Dance Council, contact us. And to get started on YOUR dance journey, contact Fred Astaire Dance Studios today.