How to prepare for a Dance competition (Ballroom)

How to prepare for a Dance competition

A lot of new dancers get really nervous about their first competition because they don’t know what to expect. Materials in this chapter will give you an insight of how competitions work, so you can stop worrying and focus on your dancing. But let’s start from beginning.

How to prepare for a competition?

The most important thing is to prepare your costumes and shoes. Double check all the items to ensure you’ve got everything. Pack your garment bag the night before the competition. If you don’t do this, you will forget something.

I remember my first Pre-champ level competition. It was a really big deal for me and I wanted everything to go as smoothly as possible. First, it turned out we were the only couple registered for Pre-champ Latin, so instead of a competition we basically had a performance. And on top of that, for the first time in his lifetime, my partner didn’t check his garment bag to ensure he got all his costumes.

When he came up to me and said he forgot his Latin dancewear, I couldn’t breathe for a moment. Did it mean we couldn’t dance Latin? I have to give my partner a credit for finding a way out of extreme circumstances – he managed to turn his Standard shirt into a Latin one by unbuttoning it and rolling up the sleeves. It actually looked quite good. Now we get a good laugh every time we talk about it, but when this happened it was pretty stressful.

Second important part of preparation for a competition is to get as much sleep as possible. A lot of people have hard time falling asleep before competitions. I sometimes wake up several times during the night, thinking it’s time to go. If you have this problem too, drink some chamomile tea, listen to some relaxing music or watch a movie, and try to go to bed as early as you can.

Competition checklist

Before going to my first competition in the USA, I made a list of items I needed to bring with me. And let me tell you, it was very long! I am the kind of person that likes to be prepared for anything.

When going to a competition, make sure you have the following:

1.Costumes and accessories

If you have several costumes, bring only the ones you are going to wear at this competition. Make sure they are clean and in good condition (nothing is ripped, there are no stains). Girls, check all your jewelry, headpieces, etc. Guys, make sure you bring your tie or bow tie, and a pair of black socks.

2.Shoes, a shoe brush, heel protectors

You cannot dance at a ballroom competition without ballroom shoes and heel protectors (for ladies). Those are the rules and you won’t be allowed on a floor without these items. Bring your shoe brush with you. You might have to brush your shoes multiple times throughout the competition.

3.Food and Beverages

Although many schools have a cafeteria or some kind of sandwich place nearby, a lot of dancers bring their own food to a competition because it is easier – you don’t have to worry about finding the food you like, or missing your dance event.

It will take you some time to figure out what food and beverages work best for you. You need something that will help you sustain energy throughout the competition.

I usually bring 5 or 6 bottles of water, a turkey sandwich, some bananas and a coconut water. Some people like to have granola bars or small snacks like nuts and dried fruit because they give them energy. My personal solution for energy is chocolate truffles. It is hard for me to make myself eat in the day of competition but I can always have a piece of chocolate.

If you have a sensitive stomach, stay away from coffee. It is generally not recommended to have coffee before competitions because it can make you dehydrated.

If you can’t wake up without caffeine, try green tea as a healthier alternative. Even better is Guayaki Yerba Mate tea, which is meant specifically for energy. You can make some tea at home and bring it in a thermos with you.

4.Breath fresheners

Your partner will appreciate it if your breath is fresh when you dance with him or her. Always bring some mints or a chewing gum. You can also get a travel size mouth wash, a toothpaste and a toothbrush. Drug stores sell small toothbrushes that already have paste on them and don’t require water.

5.Antiperspirant, cologne, perfume

You are going to sweat a lot, so bring some deodorant and perfume (cologne) with you. Be mindful that solid stick deodorants (also called hard deodorants) may leave white marks on your costumes. Clear gel deodorants work great and don’t leave any white residue on clothes.

6.Hair products and make-up

If you don’t dance in the morning, you will have plenty of time to do your hair at a competition. Bring some hair gel and hairspray, along with other items you might need, like hair brushes, elastics, bobby pins, hairnets, etc.

Even if you do your hair before a competition, it is still a good idea to bring a travel size hairspray with you, and use it for touch ups in between the dances.

7.A small towel

Bring a small towel to wipe sweat from your forehead. Do it after each round.

Other items you might need: safety pins, bandages, liquid bandage, a nail file, a lip balm, a tampon, tissues, hand sanitizer, Advil, Tums, a glue (for shoes, rhinestones, or eyelashes), and a sewing kit.