Ballroom Dancing Competitions: An Introduction for Beginners

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Standar Ballroom Dancing

Are you a ballroom dance student who is curious about competitions? This article is for you! In this post, we’ll introduce ballroom dancing competitions for beginners.

We’ll discuss competitions, how they work, and the different competitive levels. We’ll also give you tips on how to prepare for your first competition. Keep reading to learn more!

What are ballroom dance competitions?

Ballroom dance competitions are events where dancers compete against each other in a ballroom dance style, such as Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Rumba, Cha-cha-cha, Samba, and Jive.

Competitions are danced by couples ( danced with a partner) and can be amateur or professional.

Amateur competitions are usually smaller and less formal than professional competitions.

In amateur competitions, the dancers are typically not paid to compete and may not have as much training as professional dancers.

Professional competitions are often larger, more formal events with higher prize money.

Professionals typically receive payment for competing and often have more extensive dance training.

How do ballroom dance competitions work?

Ballroom dance competitions generally follow a few specific formats.

Typically, there will be a Preliminary Round where couples will dance a predetermined pattern or patterns to demonstrate their proficiency in various dances.

This is usually followed by eliminations, where the couples with the highest scores advance to the next round. 

The subsequent rounds often involve choreographed routines performed to music of a certain genre or tempo.

Couples are scored on their technical abilities, stage presence, and overall performance.

The Final Round is typically a dancesport competition, where couples compete against each other in a head-to-head format. 

Competitions can be local, regional, national, or international in scope.

What are the different competitive levels in ballroom dancing competitions?

There are a few different competitive levels in ballroom dancing competitions.

The first level is generally novice, where dancers who have never competed can compete against each other.

The second level is intermediate, where dancers with some experience competing can compete against each other.

The third level is advanced, where dancers with extensive competing experience can compete against each other.

The fourth level is professional, where only the top dancers in the world can compete against each other.

How can I prepare for my first competition?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to prepare for your first competition will vary depending on your personal strengths and weaknesses.

However, here are some tips that may help:

  • Identify your biggest areas of improvement and focus on improving them in the weeks leading up to the competition.
  • Ensure you’re well-rested and eat a healthy diet in the days leading up to the competition.
  • Visualize yourself winning and perform positive visualization exercises regularly. 
  • Arrive early at the competition

What should I expect at my first competition?

Ballroom dance competitions can be intense and nerve-wracking, especially if you’re competing for the first time.

Here are a few things you can expect:

1. You’ll be judged on your technical abilities, stage presence, and performance.

2. Competitions will likely be divided into rounds, with the couples with the highest scores advancing to the next round.

3. You’ll be dancing against other couples, so you must know your surroundings and maintain good spacing.

4. There may be an elimination round, so you’ll need to perform your best if you want to stay in the competition.

Ballroom Dance Competition Calendars

Here are a few websites where you can find upcoming ballroom dance competitions:

– United States Ballroom Championship Series:

– World DanceSport Federation:

– National Dance Council of America:

Top Competition Dance Styles:

Here are the dance styles that are featured at dancesport competitions:

1) American Rhythm:

  • Chacha
  • Rumba
  • Swing
  • Bolero
  • Mambo

2) American Smooth

  • Waltz
  • Tango
  • Foxtrot
  • Viennese Waltz

3) International Standard

  • Waltz
  • Tango
  • Viennese Waltz
  • Quickstep
  • Foxtrot

4) International Latin

  • Chacha
  • Rumba
  • Samba
  • Paso Doble
  • Jive

What Ballroom Dancing Competitions Mechanics Matter?

ballroom dancing competitions
Abraham Sannoh Dances With His Partner

1. Timing

If you are dancing off-time, then how well your patterns get executed won’t matter.

You’ll earn the last place automatically.

Don’t listen to the chatter in your head about framing upright and going through all the bits and pieces you practiced so many times.

Just listen to whatever music is playing and then enjoy dancing to it.

2. Posture

Have you ever sneezed with your eyes open? It’s not physically possible.

Neither is having great posture if you’re stressed out or nervous.

When you do this, you get a tight neck, your head sticks forward, your shoulders bunch up towards your ears, and your whole body wants to curl up even if you’re standing.

If you’re excited instead, your head will perk up, your spine will elongate, your muscles don’t clench, and your whole body will open up.

3. Partnership

Your energy will impact your partner, but your reactions to your feelings will also impact them.

Everything mentioned already won’t just constrict your alone, but also your partner’s movements, so avoid a stressed state.

When you have fun and enjoy yourself, you’ll support and even enhance many of your partner’s movements.

4. Expression

Dancing should be fun. So at least look like it’s happening. Of course, it’s better to have fun genuinely.

You might try choreographing various facial expressions here and there in your routine.

Then again, you might have seen other couples do that and know they didn’t get great results.

At the least, they’re trying, and judges do notice that.

5. General Presentation

You can be a perfectionist during practice, but don’t put that on yourself in an actual competition.

Being excited about dancing means looking self-assured and confident in ways that take your dancing to new places.

When you walk into a dance floor like you own it, you’ll put your competitors off their best game.

6. Skill Levels

In ballroom parlance, the term proficiency level is utilized to describe the know-how with which a permitted couple carries out:

  1. An amalgamation of their training.
  2. Competitor’s experience.
  3. And natural skill.

Depending upon the skill level, dancers will compete in single-dance occasions (one dance at a time) or multi-dance occasions (a number of dances in a row).

As the ability level improves, so does the number of dances readily available to the dancers.

Where Do Competitions Happen?

Access Dance hosts some of the most popular competitions of ballroom dancing.

These competitions are held nationwide all year long.

The prizes at these competitions include vacation packages and money.

There are three different categories – youth, amateur, and professional.

These categories allow people of all ages and skill levels to compete on an even playing field.

Crown Dance Studio in Fairfax, Virginia, is a popular ballroom dance studio that offers classes that prepare you for competition.

Crown Dance Studio has the top Studio and teacher’s award from the Virginia State DanceSport Championship 2016 – 2018.

Ballroom competitions are divided by the style of dance you wish to compete in, like the mambo, pasodoble, jive, etc.

Then, each type has two categories – beginner and intermediate.

Everyone is also encouraged to dance at the championship level.

The cost of this competition depends on the participant’s skill level and the category they are entering.

The most well-known ballroom dancing competition is Dancing with the Stars.

ABC airs this highly competitive dance competition twice a year.

Celebrities from various backgrounds, including athletes, actors, and musicians, compete in this show.

At the beginning of the show, there are ten couples. Each week, the show’s viewers vote for their favorite team.

The team with the lowest votes is eliminated.

The first season of Dancing with the Stars began a revolution of ballroom dancing.

As the show continued, the love of ballroom dancing increased.

More than 20 countries worldwide host their own televised ballroom dancing competition.

Savannah Dance Classic – Trish & Abraham

In this Video, Trish & Abraham will show some cool mambo moves at the 2017 Savannah Dance Classic.

If ballroom dancing interests you and you want to compete, do a simple internet search to find competitions near you.

There are competitions for every skill level, which means even beginners can compete.

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