First Ballroom Dance Competition: Checklist to Success.

First Ballroom Dance Competition: Checklist to Success.

First Ballroom Dance Competition: Checklist to Success.

At one point or another, we all are involved in important events in our lives: birthdays, sports tournaments, wedding anniversaries, vacations…  A common thread between these events is planning:  what do to before, during and after the event.  And ballroom dance competitions are no different.  

I would like to share with you my personal ballroom dance competition checklist, so that you will feel comfortable and confident throughout your competitive experience.  

Before the Competition 


  1. Set a realistic goal

Setting a goal sounds easier than it actually is.  There are several aspects to consider when creating a goal.  I like to refer to this S.M.A.R.T approach when establishing goals for myself and others. 

Here is an example of a S.M.A.R.T goal: 

Specific:  I will smile for 50% of my routine. 

Measurable: My routine is 2 minutes and 30 seconds long, so I will smile for 1 minute and 15 seconds of the routine. 

Achievable: Smiling is something I can see myself achieve. 

Relevant: Smiling during the routine will help improve my routine. 

Time-bound: I will achieve smiling for 50% of my routine 1 week before my ballroom dance competition, which is on _____.  


2. Bet on your strength

Help set yourself up for success and rely on your strengths.  Think about what dance you not only love but one that you know you are good at.  It makes the most sense to showcase what you are good at! Here are some common dances people perform for their first ballroom dance competition: rumba, cha-cha, swing, waltz, fox-trot hustle.

3. Set the date, and lock it in your calendar.

While this may seem like a very obvious step, it is still necessary.  Mark every single calendar, whether paper or phone, with you ballroom dance competition date! 


5. Practice!

It is important to think about how you are going to practice.  A great way to rehearse your competitive routine is to attend as many social dance parties as possible.  These parties are often held at a dance studio, which means you can practice your floor craft and dance in front of fellow party-goers –or in other words, an audience! 

6. Prepared vs. Ready

To help you begin successfully preparing for the dance competition, take advantage of the times you can effectively practice dancing.  And as I’ve shared, practice parties are a fantastic way to do so!  

To help you make that shift from being physically and mentally prepared to being ready, practice at the studio, as you would at the competition.  By adopting that attitude, it will keep you on the track of success and you will feel ready for your competition!  

7. Floor Craft & Backup Plan.  

Floor craft is a set of rules, often unwritten, of how to manage and adapt your space and dance in relation to other dancers and objects on the dance floor.  While a backup plan, is how the performer will react to any changes on the floor.  Whenever I explain floor craft and backup plans, I tend to visualize a jar that is filled with rocks and sand.  The floor craft is the main components of the routine (rocks), while the backup plan is how I plan to fill in any unexpected gaps (sand).  

8. Pack ahead of time