Hi everyone, this week one of my students (Jennifer Zaragoza) wrote about her California Open Pro/Am Dance Competition experience. Thank you Jennifer for the entry!!! Hope this entry brings some perspective to those of you who are interested in Pro/Am Dance Competitions. Enjoy~
In Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, one of the habits is to “begin with the end in mind.” It was with this sentiment along with my teacher’s voice in my head telling me how dance lessons are most productive when you are working toward a goal that prompted me to enter the Pro/Am competition at the California Open Dancesport Competition. It was quite an experience and there are several lessons to take from it.
First and foremost, it is very true that the nature and productivity of your dance lessons improve when you have a clear idea of a goal you wish to achieve!! I recommend filming the different dances you are learning so that you can review it both on your own and with your teacher. This allows your lessons to be more focused.
Second, trust your teacher! They may decide that in order to help your nervousness you should compete at a lower level than you anticipated, or they may even feel that you are better than you think you are and choose a level higher than you thought you were ready for. Just know that whatever the level, your teacher knows your abilities and you will be competing against other couples that are at the same level you are. Also, trust is important because once you step on that ballroom floor it is just the two of you.
Something that you may not think is so critical, but believe me it is…your costume. In this department men have it fairly easy, but ladies, not so much. Ladies the most important thing is that you feel good in the dress that you are wearing. You will be distracted enough by the amount of hairspray in your hair, the layers of makeup on your face along with your nerves, that the last thing you want to be stressing over is the fit or feel of your dress. Speaking of hair and makeup, it is a good idea to have an experienced person do them for you, because no amount of my theater experience prepared me for ballroom hair and makeup!
At the competition there are professional photographers and videographers. I absolutely recommend purchasing a DVD of your dancing. Not only will you be able to share the moment with friends and family, but you can review it with your teacher to help set the next goals and it is a wonderful tool to go back to later to see how much you have improved!
Before the competition, make sure you visit their website so that you can get an idea of the costs associated with photos, DVDs, hair and makeup.
Take in every moment of the competition!! It is both a terrifying and exhilarating experience. Don’t worry about how you place, that is not what is important (although it is pretty fantastic when they call out your name for first place). What is more important is that you take the time to celebrate through your performance, the hard work that you put in and the time spent preparing for that very moment. No matter how nervous or frightened you are, if you don’t take the time to enjoy dancing with your teacher in that moment you will regret it. So allow yourself to truly discover the joy of dancing and talk to your teacher about competing. Trust me, you won’t want to miss this thrilling experience!