Why do you compete?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by SwayWithMe, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. SwayWithMe

    SwayWithMe Active Member

    Coach asked me a few days ago to think about exactly why I compete. She wanted a specific list of the things that draw me to competition so that we can plan next year in a more targeted manner. Interesting question that has led to hours of contemplation. I'm finding it easier to come up with the things that *aren't* all that important to me than those that are.

    So why do *you* compete?
  2. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    this is shifting for me dramatically...and it may even change the nature of whether or not I compete....

    originally

    1) I competed because my first pro " felt it was the best way to work toward a goal"...and what did I know?
    2) I liked the idea of buying a pretty gown and going to the ball...never even went to prom
    3) I have always enjoyed the spontaneity and performance aspects of comps


    eventually

    4) I wanted to be someone who was considered really good and thought results would be a measurement of that
    5) I was fearful that I would not be put on a serious learning tract or even be taken as a student by my second pro if I didn't compete...he never said that...but I feared it

    now

    6) when my pro is of a mind and we are in a good space, I find the spontaneous exchange to be delightful (that would be a repeat of number 3)

    number 3 is mainly it....there are still some little bits of 1, 2, and definitely 5...but I feel far more jaded about number 4...and number 6 is elusive because, well, rapport is elusive and I am only in control of half of it....

    so, I am taking a 6 month break from competing because I am not certain that the cost benefit analysis works for me anymore...one of my sadnesses is that it seems impossible sometimes to dance really well with someone with whom I have a mutually enjoyable relationship for a price I can sustain with outcomes that seem objective....so, for now I just want to see if I can continue to get better
    Loki likes this.
  3. middy

    middy Well-Known Member

    I never loved performing before, but competing has made me really enjoy it! I think it offers a safety net, because while people are watching you, you aren't the only couple on the floor. So if something doesn't go quite right, it's okay.

    I like the continual drive to improve my art/craft/sport. Competitions offer that concrete goal/deadline/thing to strive towards. I like winning and beating other people, but it's not what it's really about. It's about continual improvement. If I win or do well but don't feel like I danced my best, then it's not that rewarding for me. Also, it's just plain fun. It's a chance for me to act in ways that are rather unlike me, but still own it, if that makes any sense. I like getting all prettied up, too.

    I've gotten to the level where social dancing isn't as enjoyable for me, though I still like to from time to time.

    Also, the people I've met through competitive ballroom are great. :) Including DF members!
  4. dlliba10

    dlliba10 Well-Known Member

    One of my majors in college was theatre. We all started out as actors in my program. And I realized I really sucked at it, after a long time of working on it and trying to get better. Eventually I became one of my program's directors, but a part of me always wished I could be an actor.

    The only sport I'd ever done officially was volleyball my freshman year of high school. My nickname was "Special Delivery" on the team, supposedly because I had a wicked spike. (Spoiler alert: I didn't. The boys were making fun of me and I tried to pretend I didn't notice.) I got cut from the team my sophomore year.

    Ballroom is the first activity I've ever tried where upper level members of a team and coaches thought I had talent and potential. It's the first activity where someone's come up to me afterward and told me that they really enjoyed my performance and how into character I got. It's the first activity where I won ribbons and felt validated that 1. I can be a good performer, 2. I have potential for something physical.

    I originally started competing to try to impress a romantic prospect. But as I got better (and sucked more deeply into the ballroom world), I started to realize all of what I've typed above, and now it's something I can't give up even if I wanted to. And everything is telling me I should -- bills piling up, trying to survive on a grad student's stipend, trying to survive my program and get all my work in the midst of traveling for competitions and practicing. But if I gave up competing, I would miss out on seeing some of the best friends I've ever made, and I don't feel I'd have the motivation to continue to take lessons and to try to make myself better and better.
  5. llamasarefuzzy

    llamasarefuzzy Well-Known Member

    I got into ballroom because my roommate wanted to go to the club's first event my freshman year. I thought the people were nice, so I stuck with it. When I found out that competitions existed, I was super excited because 1) I'm are really, really, really competitive person. About everything. 2) In grade school through the beginning of high school, I figure skated a lot. My parents weren't too thrilled with it though (I was really involved in music, and you can only do/pay for so many activities), so I never really competed very much. I was always sorta bummed that I didn't do that, and ballroom seemed like a good venue to live out those dreams.
    I"m glad I did- like Dillba, it was the first sport I was really good at. I was okay at skating, but never a very strong jumper, so that didn't help. I like being good at things (and sparklies, lets be real) so here I am now :)
  6. bia

    bia Active Member

    This is me, too. If I didn't compete, I don't think I'd know nearly as well what to work on or why. And having that focus, and a reason for it, is good in itself, but also as a sanity-maintaining distraction from the less sanity-inducing parts of my life.
    dancelvr and chomsky like this.
  7. suburbaknght

    suburbaknght Well-Known Member

    I started because I liked having the goals and feedback that competition provides. I've found it focuses me as nothing else, even certification exams, can do. I continue to compete, however, because the real competition isn't what happens on the floor, it's the weeks and months of preparation before we go. When we show up it is the visual representation of a competition that has already concluded. That culmination to months of hard work is cathartic to me.
    Dean, Sania, 5678dance and 3 others like this.
  8. latingal

    latingal Moderator Staff Member

    Up until this last year, I've always said I don't really like competing, but I did it anyway because:

    1. A drop dead date of when I'll be on the competition floor helps me set intense short term stretch goals and spurs me to work harder (read that as - practice like a crazy woman) to improve my dancing in a shortened time frame. The comps are stepping stones to my ultimate goal of quality of dancing. Personally, if I did not have competitions coming up, I could wander aimlessly on for years improving at a much slower pace.
    2. Dancing under pressure is different then dancing on the practice floor. And if my goal is to be able to communicate and convey things to others with my dancing (in performance), then I need to be able to do so under the pressure of watchful and critical eyes.
    3. Competing challenges one to grow in life skills that relate both to the comp floor and life outside of the ballroom. To compete well, with grace and longevity, it can require one to face their demons. Competitions give me ample opportunities to face and practice defeating those demons.
    4. I get to meet new dancers and see many of my dance friends who do not live in my local area at comps.

    After years of competing and making peace with those things that were difficult for me, I have finally begun to enjoy dancing on the competitive floor. So I have added more reasons why I compete:

    1. It's actually fun out on the comp floor now because I can relax and enjoy what my body can do.
    2. It has become a reward for doing the work and accomplishing my goals related to the quality of dancing. I get to share my dancing with the audience and the judges.
    3. It's nice to be able to talk to and share experiences with other dancers - to be inspired by and to inspire others on their journeys.
    4. A little bit of positive external feedback is always nice now and then.
    chomsky likes this.
  9. Gorme

    Gorme Active Member

    1. Dress up
    2. I want to see where my dancing is relative to my peers.
    3. Adrenaline rush
    4. Performance
    5. Fun
  10. vit

    vit Active Member

    My opinion from the different angle:

    I was competing when young, for about 10 years. Fell in love with ballroom standard after dancing one waltz in beginner ballroom social dancing class with my lady dance teacher who was ex competitor. So I started with ballroom training - it was the only way to get proper technique. I liked dancing (and still do) but was actually never very 'competitive' type of person. So I eventually quit

    Continued occasionally with social ballroom, but its level was technically very low, so moved to salsa and some other dances being danced in that community, later also continued with ballroom, attending various hobby classes. All teachers tried to convince me to continue competing, but didn't see a big purpose of that. If I go along the same points given by latingal, my opinion is like this

    - it's actually fun on the social floor because I can relax and enjoy what my body can do. I can't do that on the competition, but I have to do what I think that adjudicators want to see from me
    - I'm sharing my dancing with other people on the same floor, some of them dancing and some of them taking the rest and watching what's happening on the floor
    - I can also share experiences about dancing although I'm not competing
    - I get enough feedback about my dancing from the girls I'm dancing with (their level is in range from beginners to ex top class dancers in various genres) - I can feel how they feel about my dancing, from the way how they respond to my dancing and leading, so I don't need them or adjudicators to tell me
    - I'm meeting and dancing with much more people than when I was in competitive ballroom
    - don't like dancing under pressure
    - etc

    And - everything is way cheaper. And - I probably got a bit more complete picture about dancing overall. Dancing only one genre is - well - a bit one-sided
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2013
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  11. chomsky

    chomsky Well-Known Member

    I utterly love what you said, particulrarly the sanity bit of it!!!!
  12. chomsky

    chomsky Well-Known Member

    wow, thanks for the inspiration. I've had the same thoughts in my mind the past years and I always thought I was weird to be thinking like that...then I am not!!!!if someone else is thinking alike, I'm plain normal!!!!!!!
  13. chomsky

    chomsky Well-Known Member

    It's funny you made it attractive to me too, I had never thought of competing under that perspective!!!!
    latingal likes this.
  14. vit

    vit Active Member

    Well, I don't claim I'm normal :) It's just how I feel about it now
    chomsky likes this.
  15. chomsky

    chomsky Well-Known Member

    I'm stealing this, and I'm going to have a chat about it with my hubby a friends cos it's a nice way to put it; it's what dance does to me.
    latingal likes this.
  16. chomsky

    chomsky Well-Known Member

    :rofl:
  17. Lioness

    Lioness Well-Known Member

    Dressing up in sparkly dresses
    Getting to know my dancing peers-social dancing you don't meet a whole lot of young people.
    Something to aim towards in terms of achievement-a sort of "I have improved since the last comp"
    A way to structure lessons-"for the next comp we need to work on..."
    A motivation to improve, get new routines, and learn by watching others.
    Sparkly dresses.
    Comps are exciting! I love the feeling of being on a floor with so many other dances, knowing that once you get dancing, a floor full of ball gowns looks wonderful to watch.
    Comp photos
  18. Janson

    Janson Active Member

    I just see competing as the natural thing to do as a ballroom dancer. The fact that you can do it at any level is very encouraging; I sometimes liken it to football as in the local Sunday pub league. It's a 'competition', you're trying to beat the other team - but it's more about the fact you're playing (or in this case, dancing). Of course good results feel fantastic, and a trophy is very much appreciated. And who can complain about looking dashing with a beautiful woman on your arm!
    The social side of practice, training and competition is also amazing fun.
  19. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    I could echo many of the comments stated above!

    I compete because....

    It gives me a goal to strive for... 'By the next comp I want to be able to do x, y, z etc'

    It has shown me a side of myself I didn't know existed. Although I am very outgoing, I actually am quite self conscious in front of a large group of people and working through that on the competition floor has changed me for the better. I never would have believed that I could do this, and now that I can, it has opened up a whole new way of looking at myself.

    It is lots of fun! Traveling out of town, dressing up, dancing on the floor the best I can, seeing ballroom friends, enjoying the pro shows in the evening and being part of an amazing community of people is one of the best things in my life. I am so glad I discovered it.

    There have been times when I felt like stopping, but I have found that altering a few things helped me to continue to enjoy the experience. Now I give myself an 'off season' where I am dancing, but not competing; and I have set more specific goals of what I hope to accomplish in my dancing.
    chomsky likes this.
  20. scullystwin42

    scullystwin42 Active Member

    I compete because I actually prefer it to just performing - as I get a few chances just in case I mess up one :) - (although, as I've done more small studio performances, I'm starting to like just performing more). I agree with the people above that it gives me a goal to strive for in my dancing; and also, I have a bit of competitive spirit, so I like the idea of competing in general. And I love the "uniform" of it, the makeup, the hair, the tan, the dresses... That is definitely part of the allure of competing for me too.

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