ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Preparing for a Dance Competition

Updated on April 5, 2009

Count Down to a Ballroom Dance Competition

I am specifically talking about a Ballroom Dance competition but I suspect the same basic steps will work for any type of dance competition be it ballet or tap dance! Now I am assuming that you are doing your normal routine of classes and rehearsals so this just the "extras" list!

6 Weeks Before The Dance Competition

  • Double check the events that you are eligible for.

  • Double check the dances in those events: do you have apropriate routines, do you have to use restricted syllabus steps?
  • What's the entry date and conditions e.g. do you have to pay for tickets when you enter.

  • Is your dancer's registration up to date?

1 Month before the Dance Competition

  • Enter the competition - most competitions have an entry date about 1 month or 3 weeks in advance, but major competitions may have a longer lead time.

  • Check the dress standards: street dress, competition dress, if dress is optional check that your partner and you have both decided on competition wear or not!

  • You should have all the routines for all the dances that you are going to dance in the competition sorted out by now. Especially in ballroom you should also have "escape clauses" - you rarely get to dance solo on the floor so make sure you have alternatives if your routine takes a lot of space and on the day you might have to deal with a crowded floor.
  • If you don't know the venue try to find out about it - someone else who has competed there perhaps? Find out the shape of the floor - most dance floors are rectangular but a square or even circular floor is not unknown and it is a little different especially for standard dances, though it does make the Viennese easier to dance.

IDSF Goldstadtpokal Latin Ballroom Dance Championship 2007

1 Week before a Dance Competition

  • Get your hair cut or colored if necessary - don't leave this for the last minute!

  • Practice any new hair style you are contemplating especially hair pieces and ornaments - on the day is not a good time to find that the new bobby pins fall out - ideally dance in it - it's amazing what doesn't stick when you try it on the quickstep.

  • Practice your makeup too if you haven't done it for a while or are trying something different - again particularly anything that can fall off: eyelashes, diamante, finger nails

3 Days Before the Competition

  • Lets face it Ballroom dancing is one of the few places where white Caucasians are actively discriminated against! You really will look washed out under lights if you have a fair complexion and the easiest way to deal with it is fake tan. The only way to know if a particular product will work for you (and stay off your cloths) is to try it so hopefully you know what you are using. If like me you need 2 to 3 coats tonight is good night to start layer 1!

Day before a Competition

Or the day before you leave for a competition if you are traveling some distance.

  • Another coat of tan.
  • Check start times, door open times, make sure you have the paperwork: tickets, registration cards, directions to the venue if you haven't been there before.
  • Packing I am pretty paranoid about this so do it in advance!

The number one thing not to do - is practice - it will be awful if you do - I promise - you will nervous, stressed and probably end up arguing with your partner, it will do your confidence and your dancing no good at all - so don't do it - go out and have a drink, alcoholic, or 3 instead - at least you should sleep that way!

On the Day

  • Arrive in plenty of time.

  • Find your seat if pre-assigned - otherwise find a spot and claim it.

  • Check out the floor - how fast is it - will you routines fit
  • Get the program and check when your events are on - highlight them so you don't miss any - check that you have been correctly entered in what you want to dance, make any corrections with the floor marshall.
  • Collect your number from the number's table: usually the men but woman who are leading in novelty events might have to get a number too.
  • Check floor entrances/exits -you may be marshalled and have to enter from a certain spot, alternatively your event may just be called to the floor so think about where you prefer to start your routine.

  • Check out the change room - hang up dresses/suits if there is space.

  • Try to chill out - breathing helps
  • Have fun - remember you do this becauseyou enjoy it!

Packing List for a Dance Competition

  • shoes ballroom and latin, spare pairs if you have them
  • all costumes, remember to include underwear required. Men have the worst of this with all the bits that go with a ballroom shirt.

  • stockings and spares

  • Warm up clothing: tracksuits and/or cover up's for competition gear
  • all jewellery and hair pieces
  • hair brush, comb, hair spray, mousse, glue, gel

  • spare nails, spare eyelashes, glue

  • sewing kit
  • first aid kit: gel plaster kit, knee supports, paracetamol,bandaids, blister pads

  • registation cards, entry details, tickets any other paperwork
  • deodorant, make up remover

  • slippers - they are great when then shoes start to hurt!

  • small towel for sweat and for protecting clothing if you are eating
  • fan

  • water bottles and snacks


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image 

      8 years ago from Bournemouth Dorset U.K.



    • profile image

      Salsa Dancing 

      9 years ago

      breathmints work miracles for some people.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      hiya great artical thanks for all of the advice it really helped me so i have just won three trophys because i took your advice!!!!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Thanks for a very organized approach to preparing for a comp...

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      nice hub! it's very helpful as well. i think that the best way to win a competition is by preparing for it and that's exactly what you did for this post.

    • Lissie profile imageAUTHOR

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      11 years ago from New Zealand

      Yes excellent points Marissa - I have hooked earings into hair, and buckles to buckes together - not a good idea!

    • Marisa Wright profile image

      Kate Swanson 

      11 years ago from Sydney

      Good luck in the comps, Lissie! I'd add to your list - make sure you rehearse a couple of times in FULL costume, not just part of it. I remember rehearsing in full costume except for my shawl. You guessed it, it was the shawl that let me down on the night.

      Also - check to make sure you've removed all jewellery that's not part of your costume before you walk on-stage. Like your watch, for instance!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      11 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Lizzie! Another great HUB.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Lissie profile imageAUTHOR

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      11 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks all for the lovely comments - the dress isn't mine I found the photo on a free photo sharing site - I'm too blonde to wear white (and too messy!). Now Caregiver that's not a past tense dancer - we have just decided to go back to competitive dancing next year after taking this year off. This hub has some photos of us in this hub Iguess I am going to have to figure out the technology to upload my own video! Its interesting Caregiver that there is a fair amount of evidence that dancing is very good for the elderly - whether its the social interaction, movement, or remembering the steps its very popular in Australia socially - especially New Vogue (a form of sequence dance) and line dance.

      Oh and EA I don't recommend combining scooter riding and dance comps- we've been known to have more luggage for a 2 day dance trip than for a 2 month holiday!

    • Caregiver-007 profile image

      Margaret Hampton 

      11 years ago from Florida

      Great Hub , Lissie. You must have been a dancer! Great dress, too. The videos make me want to dance again, too... It's been way too many years. I was entranced by the National Ballroom Dancing Competition that was on Mama's TV. Even in her advanced state of dementia, she recognized it, smiled, enjoyed!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Lissie this is juuuuuuuuuuuust great!I love the dress and the way you have presented it- With a lot of warmth.Thumps up!Have you been a dancer?

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 

      11 years ago

      Wow Lissie!! A motorcycle riding ballroom dancer!! You continue to amaze!! I LOVE your dress!! The videos got me dancing again in my chair!! Thanks for sharing!! Do we get to see you on the floor soon?? Blessings, Earth Angel!!

    • Lissie profile imageAUTHOR

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      11 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks Eileen, yes MrM we have jus started competing again after a break! My legs hurt!

    • MrMarmalade profile image


      11 years ago from Sydney

      Perhaps you maybe strutted the sideboards. You definitely know what you are talking about. Thank you

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 

      11 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Great interesting article. This should help the twinkle toe dancers. Not in that league. Good job


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)