Ballroom Dance > How Often Should One Compete?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by spatten, Apr 28, 2005.

  1. spatten

    spatten Member

    I have recently found myself in a situation where finances are not the limiting factor in the number of competitions I participate in. Combination of having an Amatuer partner, and a number of other factors has given me a lot of freedom here.

    If a person's goal is mostly to become a better dancer - how often should an Am/Am couple compete. For the sake of background lets say we practice about 6-8 hours a week, take coachings about 4 hours every month.

    I'm initially thinking something like every 6 weeks. This would be a much greater rate than previous ( so far I have competed twice in 4 years). Does that sound reasonable?
  2. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Well-Known Member

    I prefer to compete at least once a month, but that's just me... I think the more experience you get on the floor, the better...

    Once every 6 weeks sounds good.
  3. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    My preference would be about one weekend in three.

    Unfortunately, reality (based on comp schedules) seems to 3-4 weekends in a row and then nothing for a month or more.
  4. spatten

    spatten Member

    What are the reasons for competing so often? Do you feel that you can improve your dancing from one comp to the next with only 2-3 weeks in between.

    I kinda of go by this rule of thumb that it takes my body about 21 days to learn something *new* in dancing. Obviously I don't mean learning a new step - but rather incoporating a new technique.

    Edit - Perhaps dancing this often is just more fun?
  5. Another Elizabeth

    Another Elizabeth Active Member

    I think it's not so much that you can improve your performance significantly in 2-3 weeks, as that competing that frequently keeps you "used" to competition. Also, you can attend competitions with a variety of judges, and get more feedback on your dancing.
  6. cl5814

    cl5814 New Member

    I'd be interested in the feedback aspect of your comment. How valuable has this much feedback been to you ? Do you switch gears (so to speak) after a comp working more on the feedback issues ? Or do you just take note of it for future reference ?
  7. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    Yep . . . I agree with the above . . . at the very least . . . once a month.

    Floortime is a very key element to competiting!
  8. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Yes, in fact I think there can be substantial improvement provided there is enough time to train in between - which is why every weekend may not be optimal. The more one dances in competition, the better one gets at actually dancing in competition - the idea is to go from degrading your skills under pressure to actually enhancing them.

    In terms of time to learn something new, the first few times I tried to seriously change something (resequence the natural turn for example) it took several months to reshape habits. But with more work on those kinds of projects, they've gotten much shorter, so that I can make and imprint major changes on the order of a few days to two weeks. That means that what was a future goal at one competition could be a beta-test reality at the next.
  9. Dancing4Life

    Dancing4Life New Member

    For us (am-am partnership, after both of us dancing pro-am for a while), at first it was about getting on the floor as much as we could, sometimes even twice a month, one: to get practice (nothing like dancing your routines under competition circumstances), two: to be seen on the floor.

    Then we switched to going to key competitions depending on the goals we've set for ourselves with our coaches.

    Now we've cut down on comps - for now anyhow - to focus on other things, but we'll probably be back in the 'strategic competing' later on this year.

    As for the feedback aspect, we get pretty much every competition videotaped, and take each tape back to our coaches to see. Based on what they see we get feedback and pointers on what we need to be working on.

    I presonally like to compete about once a month, at most twice; if it is more frequent than that I get tired and household to-dos pile up :), if it is less frequent, I feel that we get kind of 'out of it'.
  10. swan

    swan Member

    I'd prefer once every 6 weeks, because it requires travelling to do once every month and that is just not feasible - even if financially permits, I have a life outside of dancing :) Work for one...Can't be taking off for long weekend all the time...

    I believe the intervals will give time to work out the kinks & set realistic goals for every comp. Every time I go out there, I want people (and certainly ourselves) to see tangible improvement. Judges also like to see progressive improvement to move you up the rank. Once a month is OK as well, but not much more frequent than that...

    Also I think it's important to pick the right comps to go. So some may be because of local convenience, some for national ranking purpose, and some may be purely to combine fun & comps together to travel to places that we have never been to.

    However with that said, I actually have a very packed comp. schedule for the summer, only because the comps I want to do are all taking place between June& August! So it'll be 1 in June, 1 in July, and 2 in August. So it is every 4 weeks & with the August one only 2 weeks in between.

    Then now, we have a big break between Sep. & Nov!

    I look forward to the 'break' already & we have not even done our first comp! :)

    I'm just struggling with schedules :)
  11. Porfirio Landeros

    Porfirio Landeros New Member

    I have witnessed the extreme case of competing too much on the Collegiate circuit. The competitors will dance 2 or three times a month, hopping from school to school, with great entusiasm, but, as the end of the term approaches, you start seeing the "burn-out" settling in.

    The dancers start to be discouraged by not seeing their results improve from week to week. Why should they? They haven't really worked on anything between the events except rehersals. Even if they have worked on technique, the mental stress and focus on trophies has kept them from really working on any technique that will create long term results.

    I believe that you have to leave enough time between comps to be able to see the wider contrast of improvement, otherwise, you can be discouraged by micro-analyzing your performance from week to week.

    I personally do about 10 comps a year, and I have taken as long as 2-3 months off to work on serious dance principles. As mentioned, video analysis is crucial, so the longer the gaps between videos, the more you should see changes in the dancing.
  12. LXC

    LXC New Member

    Just two nights ago I was bored at home and decided to watch all my comp videos from the very beginning. I haven't danced for long and live in the middle of nowhere so there's not a lot. Never thought watching my own video would be such an enjoyable, confidence building experienced! :lol: The improvement between each comp was quite striking.

    I'm not saying that's optimal. If I could, I'd compete a little more, maybe every other month or every 3 months. I'd hesitate to compete more than that because it takes me quite a while to let the new stuff I learned sink in.
  13. Laura

    Laura New Member

    When I was dancing in Pro/Am events, I liked to compete every other month if possible. That just felt like the right amount of time for me to get some new concepts down before going out there again.

    Now that I'm dancing in Amateur events, I like to compete once a month if possible.
  14. Another Elizabeth

    Another Elizabeth Active Member

    I think the way you prepare for competitions has to change if you compete frequently. You can't be trying to get stuff in shape for the upcoming competition, because there's always an upcoming competition, and you would never be working on fundamentals. Instead, you have to treat competition as a different kind of practice. You might have a couple of "special" competitions each year that you're using as "targets" for integrating certain improvements, but you can't do it with every comp.
  15. Nik

    Nik Member

    In 2-3 weeks you can become a totally different kind of dancer with the right coaching and enough practice.
  16. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    I agree that competing frequently does affect how you would train. When I've done it though, it's tended to mean establishing a queue of things to be accomplished, and developing the ability to a take a lesson the night before a competition (if that's when you can schedule it) which involves both resolving simple things from the near end of the list and putting new things into the far end of it. Instead of a cycle of {idea, experiment, application}, training and correction become a continuous pipeline.
  17. standardgirl

    standardgirl New Member

    I would love to compete on somewhere between once a month or once every other month depending on comp and school schedule in am/am. The problem is that I go to a really good school, and most of the students here are just too worried with academic works, and the majority (with one, or two exception) of them just don't compete more than twice a semester....hum.....

    As for pro/am, if I have the money, and if the competitions are all big enough (I want at least a semi, better if there's a quarter), I would like to compete every other month or so. But since there just aren't that many big enough competitions plus I am away for summer months (I still dance, but with a different teacher), and I don't have that kind of money, my plan is to compete 3 times a year.

    I think, even if one competes every weekend, there is still small thing that one can improve from week to week. The result however, mostly likely won't change from week to week, but that doesn't mean you can't change anything in a week of time..... :D
    I remember the last time I had a coaching session (60 min), the second day, my teacher felt the difference. Another time I danced with my teacher right after he had a coaching, and I was able to feel the difference, too.
  18. LXC

    LXC New Member

    Probably only once in a while. Otherwise you'd wonder why it took so long for the likes of the Hiltons to become Champions.

    Elizabeth is right that the small comps are more of a practice; I guess that's what happens to people who have the opportunity to compete that often.
  19. macha

    macha New Member


    You SHOULD brush your teeth regularly.

    You SHOULD not pattern your eating or shopping habits after mine.

    You SHOULD... not have to rely on comps to validate you as a dancer.

    It leads to burnout and psychosis. To this day when I pop across a showjumping comp on TV, My palms get sweaty, my butt clenches, and I have flashbacks of everything I did right or wrong for the past twenty years in every show, and how I can still hear my dad yelling at me in my head "You stupid dumb@$$! Why didn't you pay attention to that So-And-So girl? SHE did it right? What, are you retarded?"

    But anyway. I just hate to see people think they "have" to do something other than breathing or eating Krystal bacon cheeseburgers, vidalia rings, and sweet tea.
  20. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    once every 6 weeks sounds perfect. Anywhere between that and once a month.

    In my 7- month long partnership we have competed 6 times... so thats about right...

    When I come back from a comp sometimes I want to take few days off, and sometimes I am eager to practice the next day. I think depends on how worked up I was about it. when I have been stressing a lot before and at a comp I need a break afterwards. also after big comps I really need to have a break from a comp.

    With comps spaced by at least 4 weeks I can aim at making major fundamental changes to my dancing. there was one small comp this year though only 2 weeks after a ig one... I did prepare for it, but did't aim at fundamental changes:just wanted a second chance to dance my best (as I thought I didn't dance my best at the bigger comp before that).

    If I compete less than once every 6 weeks, I start stressing about comps more... I really need at least that frequency to be able to stay calm and not to freeze on the dance floor.

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