Posted by on Oct 27, 2015 in Blogs

5 Strategies to Succeed at Your First Dance Competition

So, this is it. You’ve mastered the moves, solidified your skills and conquered the choreography—now it’s time for your first dance competition. It can be nerve-wracking and physically challenging, but there are few thrills greater than turning in a perfect performance on a competitive level. Whether you are dancing solo, as a pair or as part of a group, you can benefit from Elite Dance Studio’s guide to preparing for and performing in your first dance competition. Read on below for our top five tips!

#5: MIND OVER MATTER

Butterflies, nerves, heebie-jeebies… There’s no shortage of names for the anxious feelings most people feel when performing in front of judges or an audience or both. Luckily, there’s also a wide variety of practices that can help reduce this stress. Deep breathing exercises, proper nutrition, meditation and visualization are just a few effective choices for nervous dancers.Take a look at our advice about beating competition nerves to learn more.

#4: PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS

Don’t be overwhelmed by the moves you can’t do; instead, focus on the choreography and style with which you feel most comfortable. Good choreographers will embellish your strengths, while disguising your weaknesses. If you have to tackle a particularly frustrating step or series, focus on the fundamentals: trust your training, go for it and keep breathing—no matter what happens, the show must go on!

#3: AVOID A ‘WARDROBE MALFUNCTION’

Dress rehearsals are key! Even if your costume appears to fit perfectly when trying it on, you do not know how it will react to your body movement during choreography. From props to accessories, features of your outfit might also be distracting or even dangerous while dancing. It’s also beneficial to learn the secrets of the trade: veteran dancers are a wealth of information about useful things such as two-sided tape, body glue and strategic stitching.

#2: SMILING & THE ‘SMIZE’

The face is often the most overlooked part of a dancer’s body, especially by novice dancers. Judges and audiences like to see dancers express natural enjoyment and emotion during their routines, not just technical skill. Relax and allow your face to react naturally, but avoid furrowed eyebrows and strained smiles. Many dancers master the art of the ‘smize’—expressing emotion through the eyes without drastic face movement.

#1: EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

It’s inevitable: something will go wrong. It’s not negative thinking, just a realistic and practical view on life and the challenges of competition. A missed move, a forgotten fedora, a tardy teammate—these are just a handful of the catastrophes that haunt dancers, new and experienced alike. The best approach is to accept the setback, dust yourself off and move on. Dwelling on accidents and inconveniences will only distract you from important fundamentals.

The five tips above are only a summary of the strategies available to recreational, amateur and professional dancers preparing for their first competition. Contact or visit Elite Dance Studios today to consult with our respected coaches and instructors. We can customize a training regimen for any skill level that will keep you on the right track—from your first step in the studio to the last move in front of judges or an audience.

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