We don’t always think about ballroom dance as being competitive, but at Fred Astaire Franchised Dance Studios, our students love the regional, national and international Pro-Am and Professional dance competitions we run, as inspiring opportunities to compete, travel and hone their dancing skills in a supportive and exciting environment.
Just as athletes play to win, dancers dance to win. They prepare, practice and perform. They need their minds and bodies to be right to succeed. Because dance competitions are judged and scored, every aspect of the dance routine must be properly executed.
As our competitive dance events grow in popularity and more and more FADS students and instructors take part, the standards by which excellence is gauged also become elevated. So, as a competitor, how can you get ready for such scrutiny and pressure? What will keep you calm and relaxed as your big moment approaches?
Here are some tips that can help you be your best at a dance competition:
- Leave no aspect of preparation to chance. Make lists. Nothing can frazzle a competitor like finding out at the last minute that shoes or wardrobe are not in order. Tend to details. And in the bigger picture of preparation, work carefully with your instructor to smooth out your routine and build confidence in your skills. Judges know which performers feel comfortable with what they are doing. Exude that aura of mastery, and let it shine through.
- About those judges … Watch them as the competition unfolds. What do they seem to respond to? Judges can sense confidence, mood and attitude. Have your mind right and build a sense of what the judges are most closely watching.
- Looking good. Appearance is very important at a dance competition. And when we look good, we feel good. As the event nears, wear your competition outfit and shoes to some of your practice sessions, to feel completely at home in it. You may even want to style your hair for practice sessions. The fewer surprises sprung at the competition, the more at ease and relaxed you will be.
- Focus on dancing. Once you are in the spotlight, nothing else matters. Keep your mind uncluttered and your feet light. Engage the judges and your audience. Breathe, and enjoy your time on the dance floor. This is what you have been working towards!
- Stick to your plan on the dance floor. Consider how important choreography was to Fred Astaire. He left no steps rehearsed and was tireless in his efforts to perfect what he planned to execute. Go with what you know, even if something unexpected happens. Don’t overthink this. The confident performer is the cool performer.
Your instructor will have more helpful advice as you prepare for your upcoming Fred Astaire dance competition. It’s hard work, but it is fun work. To quote Fred Astaire himself: “It takes time to get a dance right, to create something memorable.”