Collegiate Competition Stereotypes

#61
My team, being a college team, goes to a lot of collegiate comps. That's one of the things I enjoy about collegiate ballroom: you have a team. Everyone is cheering for everyone else and you're a part of a close-knit community.
Agreed. The team aspect also provides a good safety net in case of a missing pair of pants or tie or somesuch.

One of the issues I have with collegiate comps is that some dancers aren't as "into" the competitions as others by which I mean, they don't appear to be making an effort. Hair/make-up is sloppy as is costuming and this is a performance art, looking good is a factor. I frequently have to push teammates at competition to even put on make-up, much less the amount of makeup that serious competition requires and it is irking since I am much more intense in those regards.
With regard to level of dedication, it's a club sport; not everyone is aiming to be in the open [insert style here] final by the end of the year. Yes, there is some amount of minimum standard of appearance to be taken seriously, and you should educate your team on that (perhaps hold a hair and makeup workshop before a comp), but you should not expect everyone to be as serious as you are. Regarding sloppiness in hair/makeup/costuming: some of this will boil down to level of dedication, especially on the costuming front. Costumes are expensive; if you are not super dedicated, buying a costume that fits you properly may well turn out a waste of money, so dancers who are not sure how much time and money they are going to be able to dedicate to dance are unlikely to spend a lot of money on costumes. With hair and makeup, the aforementioned workshop idea can help. You can also offer to help do your teammates' hair and makeup if they need the assistance.

Costuming is also frequently an issue. The costume regulations change from competition to competition in collegiate ballroom (or at least it feels that way). This is less of an issue at higher levels but some comps change regulations from year to year...While movement is the main focus, presentation is important too and the ever-changing costume regulations make that difficult.
This is a legitimate concern, and one that extends beyond costumes to all rules. It all stems from a lack of centralized organization on the part of most college comps. Every competition decides what the rules will be for that competition- will costumes be allowed in bronze? What is the policy on dancing in the opposite of one's normal role (that is to say, can a gold smooth follower lead in silver smooth?) How many levels can a dancer span across styles? While keeping track of which comps do not allow costumes is definitely important, especially if most of your schedule allows costumes, in the event you find out that costumes are in fact allowed at such and such a comp, and your dancers have none, it's not the end of the world - they'll still be able to dance, and they still have the chance to make recalls and finals. Yes, a uniform policy would be helpful, but if they publicize incorrect rules (or none at all), that is a separate problem.

Another issue with the collegiate circuit is the time-out at lower levels, as a few of you have mentioned. There are a number of people on my team who will be forced up to a silver level and they're struggling at a bronze level still. They need more time. On the other hand, I moved up a year early because my coach and I agreed that I was more than ready for it. That said, it is less intimidating for newcomers to know that they will move up to bronze even without placing.
As one of those people who was kicked into the silver level by the calendar, I think there are benefits and there are pitfalls. Regardless of where it is, there is going to be some point at which the flow stops, and people tend to stagnate. If only newcomer had a time limit, that level would be bronze. If all of syllabus had a time limit, that level would be prechamp. Ultimately, the benefit of making bronze a competitive field, I feel outweighs the issue of it often bumping people into a higher level then they are perhaps ready for. After all, a point-out system like we have (especially one as fast moving as the YCN system used in the Northeast) does not tell you "you have 7 points in silver foxtrot; you are good enough that you are ready for gold". It tells you "you have 7 points in silver foxtrot; you are too good to continue dancing silver." Note the difference between "too good for silver" and "good enough for gold".

TBA has also been problematic in the past. I danced TBA for one collegiate comp last semester and it was poorly organized. There were not enough TBA leaders so several silver followers and I did not dance at that competition despite having paid the fee (all dressed up and nowhere to go etc).
I am seeing more and more comps go the route of Facebook groups for TBAs to congregate and find partners before even arriving at the comp. This is really useful, as it can allow couples to actually register together, minimizing the number of TBA listings. I know my first year dancing, due to internal communication issues within my team, the entire bronze cohort had the International events at MIT fill up before we could register, meaning that we were on a waiting list. Having no partner for those two styles, I needed to match myself up with a TBA follower in order to secure my spot, so I went down the list of ladies registered without a partner, and ended up finding a partner by connecting with her on Facebook. I have been on the other end too, where someone has seen my name registered TBA and asked me to dance with her. When push comes to shove, when you arrive at a competition in hopes of finding a partner, you are not so much dancing TBA as you are dancing on standby. It's not ideal, but c'est la vie.
 

Joe

Well-Known Member
#62
The dancing just needs to be there, all it takes is the desire and motivation. Although presentation is important, I think people are too focused on having sparkles at a competition than having their dancing up to par.
This. 99.9% of the time judges don't care how fancy the clothing you're wearing is, as long as it's appropriate for you. Obviously someone wearing a practice skirt to compete at Blackpool isn't going to get marked as well as someone in a ballgown, because certain things are expected, but 99.9% of comps aren't Blackpool. Someone like Katyusha might even make the finals in a practice skirt. :)

If your clothing is presentable, and your hair and makeup is well done, as long as the dancing is there, you'll win.
 

fascination

Site Moderator
Staff member
#63
agree...but it is so much easier to waste time obsessing over that stuff than it is to practice, that most folks opt in that direction...I learned this lesson the hard way before I switched pros and really knew how to practice alone....and watched someone with no focus on appearance routinely kick my butt....certainly got me to thinking :)
 

smidra86

Active Member
#65
yeah hes pretty good;)

referring back to smidras partner
You sound like you know him.... (its awkward because I honestly don't know who most people around here are.... :) )

agree...but it is so much easier to waste time obsessing over that stuff than it is to practice, that most folks opt in that direction...I learned this lesson the hard way before I switched pros and really knew how to practice alone....and watched someone with no focus on appearance routinely kick my butt....certainly got me to thinking :)
Yeah, I've seen that happen and it would happen to me too, until I also switched partners (to the current one) and learned the value of working hard on your own and together.
 

danceronice

Well-Known Member
#66
This. 99.9% of the time judges don't care how fancy the clothing you're wearing is, as long as it's appropriate for you. Obviously someone wearing a practice skirt to compete at Blackpool isn't going to get marked as well as someone in a ballgown, because certain things are expected, but 99.9% of comps aren't Blackpool. Someone like Katyusha might even make the finals in a practice skirt. :)

If your clothing is presentable, and your hair and makeup is well done, as long as the dancing is there, you'll win.
Blackpool's a bad example. I've been told if you have to wear Christmas-tree lights and tinfoil with a bird's nest in your hair in the first round, you do it. ANYTHING to grab the judges' attention for two seconds. It can be the most hideous color known to the sighted but if they notice you, it's good. Otherwise you're a lump in a big crowd. But rarely are you ever going to be fighting to get past 200 other couples.

For a little comp (ie, almost anything else where you're not dancing open), ideally, it shouldn't matter (and given the clown makeup some people still do-for heaven's sake, learn to BLEND if you're going to use white highlighting--it doesn't) but sometimes if you're in a black cocktail dress with a ponytail and everyone else is in costume, you had better BE Yulia or they're going to just not notice you. I think nitpicking on "is a strand of hair a bit frizzy" is overkill, but flopping in your face bangs, off-the-rack dress that rides wrong for dancing and isn't in a bright color, no makeup so you basically have no face...that's as bad as dressing for OSB finals when you dance like Crazy Uncle Eddy drunk at the wedding. No-costume only works if it's enforced for EVERYONE.
 

dlliba10

Well-Known Member
#67
No-costume only works if it's enforced for EVERYONE.
Slightly OT for a sec, but my partner and I did our first NDCA comp this past weekend, and she checked with the powers that be on whether she can use her silver-fabric, purple-stoned dress for Syllabus Gold. She was told no, which is totally fine because she had her syllabus costume with her, which is just a very plain yellow and green skirt and top, no stones or volume or anything. We were up against one other couple in Gold whose girl was wearing, you guessed it, a fully decked out dress with stones and volume in the skirt and I think some floating fabrics off the shoulders and whatnot. We ended up winning, but for the ten minutes leading up to getting out onto the floor, I was worried we'd get lost in the crowd (two other levels were dancing on the floor at the same time, and their girls also had stones and eye-catching accoutrements). I know that it's the dancing and technique that matters and that I shouldn't have worried, but that's kind of the point of the costume rules -- to even out the playing field. The reflection of light off stones just catches the eye. There's no way around it.
 

smidra86

Active Member
#70
Slightly OT for a sec, but my partner and I did our first NDCA comp this past weekend, and she checked with the powers that be on whether she can use her silver-fabric, purple-stoned dress for Syllabus Gold. She was told no, which is totally fine because she had her syllabus costume with her, which is just a very plain yellow and green skirt and top, no stones or volume or anything. We were up against one other couple in Gold whose girl was wearing, you guessed it, a fully decked out dress with stones and volume in the skirt and I think some floating fabrics off the shoulders and whatnot. We ended up winning, but for the ten minutes leading up to getting out onto the floor, I was worried we'd get lost in the crowd (two other levels were dancing on the floor at the same time, and their girls also had stones and eye-catching accoutrements). I know that it's the dancing and technique that matters and that I shouldn't have worried, but that's kind of the point of the costume rules -- to even out the playing field. The reflection of light off stones just catches the eye. There's no way around it.
Congrats my dear. The couple you danced against prob didn't read the rules.... nd unfortunately didn't have a backup
 

Larinda McRaven

Site Moderator
Staff member
#71
One of the biggest stereotypes (and not without good reason) is the poor costuming. As a judge, or even a spectator, a very tasteful classy inexpensive practice dress is FAR superior to a dirty out of date ballgown. I HIGHLY encourage collegiate dancers or teams to invest in some good quality practice wear.

This little number is $89 . And it will server a dancer perfectly well.
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And I would so much rather see the above instead of a miniskirt, safety pinned to some fishnets or underwear, that still rides up WAY to high, and a top like this with dirty bra safety pinned to the sides.
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or even just as bad, a costume so foul and dirty and left over from 1985
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dlliba10

Well-Known Member
#75
It happens. A guy on my team last year forgot to pack a pair of dress pants. I happened to wear his size and had an extra pair.
When I was on the NYU team, I brought my tie collection to every comp to help out guys who didn't bring their own. Heck, I'm not at NYU anymore and I still do it for the team whenever we attend the same comps.
 

raindance

Well-Known Member
#76
One of the biggest stereotypes (and not without good reason) is the poor costuming. As a judge, or even a spectator, a very tasteful classy inexpensive practice dress is FAR superior to a dirty out of date ballgown. I HIGHLY encourage collegiate dancers or teams to invest in some good quality practice wear.

This little number is $89 . And it will server a dancer perfectly well.
View attachment 1903
Can you please tell us which company/vendor this is? Similar outfits that I have found were about twice that price (e.g. around $89 or more for the top and another $89 for the skirt, or similar combined price for a dress). Thanks.
 

Joe

Well-Known Member
#79
Can you please tell us which company/vendor this is? Similar outfits that I have found were about twice that price (e.g. around $89 or more for the top and another $89 for the skirt, or similar combined price for a dress). Thanks.
Dance-America dot com

S24 SM Lace Asymmetric Flounced Skirt
 

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