Hi everyone, Long time lurker, first time poster. I tried looking for a thread on this topic but haven't found one, so I figured I'd post and ask. I'm a big guy (and not big and tall, just big - think 5'9" and 280+). I started dancing about a year ago. My journey into this started with private lessons -- I had to learn one of the Smooth/Standard dances for a social event that I was attending. After the event, I found dancing enjoyable, so I stuck with the private lessons and sprinkled some group lessons on top. I find it fun and honestly, relaxing. (I enjoy my job, but it's all-consuming and takes up all of my mental energy, so it's nice to think about something else like figures and frames for a change.) I've probably lost some weight, too, although I really haven't been keeping track. My pro instructors recently have encouraged me to start thinking about competing. Although I'm a fairly competitive person, I'm honestly terrified by the proposition. I didn't know much about ballroom/Latin before I started taking lessons (never watched DWTS, Strictly, etc.). But when I did my due diligence and started researching competitions, I was intimidated. In my mind, ballroom dancers are tall, sleek, and elegant. I am . . . not. Even compared to amateur competitors, I just don't have the build. Plus, in my age group (I'm 29), there are probably going to be a bunch of tall, good-looking dudes. I go to a lot of formal events so I know how to look good in black tie/white tie, but for competitive ballroom, I just don't think I have the look. I've been working on Smooth routines (VW and Foxtrot are my favorites) with the thought of maybe competing with one of my pro teachers in the next few months. (I've done a few lessons in Rhythm and may ramp that up.) I can get through my routines just fine, although I am working on the little things, and some things just require a little extra effort by virtue of my body mass (e.g., "pendulum swing" action). But I really wonder whether it's worthwhile for me to compete. I'm fortunate enough to have the resources to pay for private lessons and competitions (I know they cost a pretty penny), but I don't want to go down this road if all that's there for me is a series of last-place results just by virtue of my figure and look. (And for those who are going to suggest "lose weight" as advice, please know that I've been trying for decades.) I can't tell my instructors honestly think I'm ready to compete, or if the studio (independent) is just pushing competition on me because (1) it's just what you do and (2) competition helps everyone's bottom line. For what it's worth, I've watched the videos of John Lindo doing WCS for encouragement -- he's awesome, but (a) I don't have his height and (b) I don't have his decades of experience, so I'm not going to look that smooth. Sorry for the long post and for the various insecurities. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!