I think it is a big deal and can make all the difference in a competition. My coach drills it into us before every competition. One problem though, the "fight" for the center spot, can only be won against dancers from other teams.
Being a bronze level dancer, I don't seem to use the whole floor in latin styles, and I like being able to have floor area rather then fighting over the center. A corner area gives space and is less likely to encounter other couples. I don't know how this effects the judging, but I hope they have enough experience and sense of fairness to give us an appropriate score no matter where we are on the floor. The smooth styles certainly tend to travel more so hopefully I move past each judge at some point giving them a close view, and hopefully they look beyond that to see how other moves are being accomplished when I am further from them.
It would be interesting to know how the judges do their jobs. Does floor position really matter?
Do we have any judges in the house? In the meantime, I'll try to google. In the judge's comments I've read, I don't remember anyone mentioning floor position. Of course, looking at that center spot might be unconscious. *shrug*
A lot of the time, it does seem like the judges all bunch up on one side of the floor. But, I guess the goal is to be good enough so that doesn't matter, especially when you end up needing to start on the opposite side due to crowding or it may just be a better starting position.
I hope to start the judging classes this year - in May! Although I want to specialize in "teams."
Postion is just as important in a competition as is your dance abilities.
I have actually been told . . . "your Pro took you to the back of the floor . . . we couldn't see you . . . I couldn't score you well . . . just average . . . you need to be right in fronto of the judges, or as close as you can get, without being on top of them."
This was from two judges, who I approached after the competition to ask how I did - which we are encouraged to do!
Position is critical . . .
Starting right as the music starts and not holding for 2 to 8 counts - is also very important . . .
Staying away from other couples is important . . . no bumping into them, as you will lose points!
Lastly . . . how well you dance is important . . . duh. Sounds like a given, yes? But if your feet "ain't doin' what they're supposed to be doin" the judges won't look up any further . . .
Latin dances, near the center of the floor. Make sure you can be seen 40 feet away from each judge, because closer than 20 feet, the closest judge will actually overlook you.
Standard/smooth, since there is so much progression, middle track of course, but don't cut corners. If you can do something "cool" in the middle, great... but do it well. As long as you are clearly diagonal wall or center, progressing in LOD.
The one thing I know I have to work on is "showmanship." That's the daily mental exercise while I practice this week.
Being in the center of the floor is nice, but only one couple usually gets that spot.
My partner and I never worried which spot we had on the floor. But when we were called to the floor..."We Took It". Walking out with the attitude that you are there to dance and kick it, made a huge difference for us.
It is also important that your routine moves and rotates...you want every judge to be able to see your number clearly.
Having just been to watch my first major competition, I was amazed at the position on the floor that the dancers took. Latin was pretty much spread all over the floor, generally if the judges were congregated towards one end, the dancers would usually head towards that end as well.
However with the standard categories, I was amazed that all the dancers seemed to congregate in the two diagonal corners. I first thought why would they do this? Wouldn't it be better to start away from everybody else. Then it dawned on me that that is probably where their routine starts from!
This was a bit of an eye opener for me, as our in studio comps are all freestyle and not choreographed.
My coach frequently judges some fairly major competitions, and she's always saying that she hates it when couples get up and dance right in front of you. According to her, it's better to be about 20ft away or so so that the judges can see your lines and movements as well as your feet. Also I get the impression that it's good to be near a group of dancers - not in the middle of them so you can't be seen or all by yourselves where you might not be noticed. It's definitely something to think about . . .