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So, you think you can dance? Why not take those talents where they belong—to the big stage! Ballroom dance competitions are a great way to show off your skills, become a better dancer, and earn some confidence. If you think you’re ready to enter into a ballroom dance competition, this post will help you go over everything you need to prepare.

Ballroom dance competition

How ballroom dance competitions work

There are a few different types of dance competitions, but what we’ll be focusing on is ballroom dance competitions. These are partner dancing events and are typically either team matches or DanceSport competitions. Team matches are usually one-day events, whereas DanceSport competitions often last the whole weekend. You find a ballroom dance competition for just about any of the dances we teach, so if you want to compete with the tango, we can help make that happen!

To compete in a ballroom dance competition, you must first ensure you sign up in time! You can sign up (or start training) well in advance so that you have plenty of time to grab your dance partner for practice.

Types of ballroom dance competitions

In addition to the categories of dance competitions explained above, there are also two divisions: professional and amateur. Dividing the competitors into two groups allows the competition to be fair and encourages amateurs to keep practicing. Though in later years both divisions have comparable dancers, what sets the “pros” apart is their approach to dance and attitude. The dance styling shifts, too. However, your first dance competition will more than likely be amateur.

How to prepare yourself for competition

Ballroom dance competition 1Ready to show everyone what those legs are made of? It’s time to start preparing for your first ballroom dance competition. Here are some of the most important preparation steps.

Find the right partner

Ballroom dancing is all about the social aspect, which means you need a partner that will balance you, challenge you, and make you better. You cannot win a dance competition by yourself. Read our tips for finding the right dance partner.

Dance classes

Once you have your dance partner, it’s time to get to grooving! Dance classes are a great way to learn tough techniques from professionals. Although you could try to find tutorials online, there is no better way to learn how to dance than in person. Plus, classes will force you to have some accountability!

Practice, practice, practice

Ballroom dance competition 2After you create your routine, you should try to practice it as much as possible. Record yourselves if you need to in order to spot mistakes and mismatched steps. Once you feel pretty confident in your moves, start practicing the routine to your actual competition music. This way, you’ll never miss a beat.

Get the look

All that work, and now you get to play! Dress-up, that is. Ballroom dance competitions are known for their bold fashions and flashy outfits. Don’t be shy to get all dolled up for your first competition—makeup, hair, a dress, and shoes are all items that will help you rise to the leaderboards. For more tips on the types of gowns and shoes to wear, see this checklist.

Train your mind

Just as much as you’re training your muscles, you need to be preparing the muscles in your brain as well. Don’t wait until completion day to start getting in the right headspace; you should be amping yourself up well before the event. No matter how great your skills are, getting in your own head is one of the biggest ways to lose. Try listening to other dancers talk about overcoming their problems. Riccardo and Yulia  (Professional World Latin Champions) talked about focus, for example, after one of their many competition wins.

Go to group classes

Ballroom dance competition 3If you’re having trouble loosening up and being around other talented dancers, chase those timid thoughts away by attending a group dance class at AMNJ. These classes foster a group energy that helps you get more comfortable, and the instructors will guide you to help pinpoint your weaknesses. Those little details are what can cause you the win in close ballroom dance competitions!


Ready to show everyone you’re an undercover dance star? Check out our events page for upcoming AMNJ dance competitions, or sign up for lessons today.

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