First Competition! ....aaack....

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by Fretful_Porpentine, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. Fretful_Porpentine

    Fretful_Porpentine New Member

    Alrighty, so, after about 6 months of dance, I'm finally entering my first competition! Yay! Except I'm really, shall we say, fretful. Boo.

    I have no idea what I'm supposed to do, besides dance. How much time should I spend preparing beforehand? Should I squeeze in an extra private lesson? What do I wear (I don't have any ballroom gowns or anything...eek!)? Should I leave my hair up or down? Should I tan? Should I wear crazy makeup? DO I HAVE TO WEAR SEQUINS? Because I don't do sequins.

    Any advice and/or encouragement would be really appreciated right now.

    Thanks!
  2. Laura

    Laura New Member

    Yay! But don't fret! We're here to help!

    That's pretty much all you need to do at your first competition.

    As much as possible without stressing yourself out mentally or financially.

    It depends on if you are dancing Pro/Am or Amatuer. One extra lesson won't make or break you, but if you are doing Pro/Am and can take a bunch of extra lessons then that might help, because at this point the extra lessons are an opportunity to practice with your teacher. If you are doing Amateur, too many extra lessons might stress you out, and you should just practice with your partner as much as possible.

    That depends on the rules of the competition. Your teacher should be able to give you advice on this. Some competitions don't allow costumes. Some do. If the event does allow costumes, keep in mind that since it's your first time out no one actually expects you to have a full-on ballgown. If you can borrow one, great, if not, don't worry. Think about being clean and neat and appropriate. Wear the right kind of skirt. Wear a top that won't show your tummy when you lift your arms into dance position. If you need breast support, wear bra that gives it to you, and make sure your top covers it no matter how you move.

    UP! And with about five times as many bobby pins and hairspray as you think you need so that it doesn't fly away or stick to your face. Practice doing your hair now, and wear it that way to your dance lesson so you can see how it holds up in action.

    In my opinion, only if it won't stress you out. It's your first time, after all. However, if you are completely pasty white and are wearing something revealing, then some self-tanner might be a good idea, just so you don't look ghosty.

    No. You should wear makeup that makes you look polished and glamorous, as if you were going out to a fancy New Year's party or something else special like that. Make sure to use plenty of mascara and lipstick. Put on foundation, blush, powder, and dramatic eyeshadow. But there's no need to go super nutty your first time out -- especially if you aren't wearing a costume. Choose richly pigmented shades for your makeup (I swear by M.A.C., but Lancome or L'Oreal will do in a pinch). Practice your makeup at home and wear it to your dance lesson so you can see how it holds up. The ideal is to be able to stand about 15-20 feet from the mirror in the dance studio and be able to see your features. You want to look pretty and a bit sophisticated, not clownish and definitely not like your features are fading away.

    I hate sequins too. They look cheap. Rhinestones, however, are another matter. First off, you might not even be allowed to wear them, it depends on the costuming rules for your competition. If you are allowed to wear them, you don't HAVE to. After all, it's your first time out, right? I'm assuming you are dancing in the "Newcomer" level.

    If you are dancing in Silver or Gold or one of the Open levels your first time out, then talk to your teacher about exactly what is expected in terms of costuming.

    One question: what are you wearing for dance shoes right now? Do you actually have the appropriate lady's shoe, or are you taking lessons and practicing in lace-up low-heeled practice shoes or dance sneakers? If you aren't wearing real dance shoes, get a pair and break them in and wear them at the competition. Get them in tan satin, and keep them nice to wear for other competitions. You can spray the brand-new shoes with Scotchguard to help keep them nice, and use a spot remover (I like the one that comes in those Dryel home "drycleaning" kits) when needed.

    It's just a pet peeve of mine to see women, even newcomer women, going out on the competition floor in those black lace-up practice shoes....
  3. skwiggy

    skwiggy Well-Known Member

    Excellent advice. Trust Laura. She knows what she's talking (or, writing) about. :)
  4. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    yep...this is probably why few others will chime in...because Laura has nailed it;)
  5. alemana

    alemana New Member

  6. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    yes it is a great idea to look at the past threads too....but I am really glad you brought the subject up again....sometimes its really good to have something this relevant up on an active thread where lots of new people can see it easily and benefit from it...I am sure that Fretful and Laura have done lots of new competitors a favor with this thread....
  7. alemana

    alemana New Member

  8. wyllo

    wyllo New Member

    I am also in the Midwest and if its an amateur comp there's a good chance I've been to it and can give you some competition-specific advice (or point you to someone who can help). Feel free to PM me.

    Whatever you are going to wear, be sure to give it a trial run before the competition. Lately, I've seen a number of women in strapless dresses they *thought* would stay in place stop to hike the dress up during a dance -- you definately don't need distractions like that! And Laura gave great advice about staying stress-free. Your first comp is about the experience and having fun -- good luck!
  9. caityrosey

    caityrosey New Member

    Yeah that's good advice...make sure to practice not only your dancing but your clothes, hair, and makeup etc...that way you won't have to think too hard about it the day of. As wyllo says, test drive the outfit you plan to dance in to make sure that it behaves...at competitions I've seen a lot of traveling hemlines (in latin mostly) and drooping tops--you don't want that! A lot of people wear their old prom dresses to comps...at least for standard/smooth...nothing wrong with that as long as you can move in it and it doesn't drag on the floor.
    If you haven't already, take a look at the rules for costumes for this competition to see if there are any special restrictions...if it's a USABDA sanctioned competition they might be following the new stricter costume rules--most prom dresses and other such outfits should meet these regulations but check them out just to be sure.
  10. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    yep...lots of us are in the midwest ...you can pm me too if you like
  11. Fretful_Porpentine

    Fretful_Porpentine New Member

    Yeah, I'm dancing pro/am, but in Bronze and Associate Bronze, not newcomer....which kind of intimidates me, since I've seen lots of bronze dancers who are significantly better than me, although most of the best ones aren't in my age group.

    I think my shoes are appropriate, though fairly low-heeled. I believe that they're the Tanya design from Freeds. It's a latin shoe (and black), so should I get a different pair for my smooth dances? Also - and this is kind of a weird question - but as far as dresses go, how low-cut is too low-cut? I have a really nice dress that I was thinking about wearing for my latin dances, but it shows quite a bit of cleavage. I don't think it's skanky, but then again, I'm a teenager so my opinion on skin flaunting is probably a little different from the norm. ;)

    Since she heard of the competition, my mom has found her inner stage mother (you know....the obsessive, slightly smothering type) and insists that I need to get my makeup and hair done professionally. I really don't think its necessary, but then again my hair and makeup skills aren't particularly impressive. Any suggestions?
  12. alemana

    alemana New Member

    if you can afford the professionally done, go for it (if your mother wants to pay for it, take her up on it.) you can always learn how to do it yourself later and save some bucks.

    your coach should be your sounding board for costuming questions. have you not discussed this with him? many coaches do nothing short of dictate what the student will wear - mine certainly did, he outright vetoed my first couple suggestions (i rented a dress from rhythmic rentals.)
  13. Fretful_Porpentine

    Fretful_Porpentine New Member

    No, I haven't asked him, but I will tonight. He's never mentioned anything about it.
  14. alemana

    alemana New Member

    every single question you asked in your first post in this item (except maybe the "should i take extra lessons" one :) ) you should ask him directly and make him respond. it's part of his job to guide you through this process. talking with us is, of course, another way you can get input, feedback, thoughts, advice - but it's part of his responsibility as a pro-am teacher to guide you very strongly with all this stuff.

    when's the comp?
  15. Fretful_Porpentine

    Fretful_Porpentine New Member

  16. mamboqueen

    mamboqueen Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure what age category you're competing in, but you should probably check the competition's website and make sure there are no costume rules that apply to you.

    I agree - if Mom wants to pay for the make-up and hair, go for it. I wouldn't turn it away. But, I don't think it's a necessity at this level. Are there other competitors from your studio going? Ones who may have competed before? They're always a good source for advice, too. And you can always get one of them to give you tips on hair/make-up.

    Good luck to you, FP. I hope it's a great experience for you.
  17. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    since it is as you say with your mom, I would reccommend you strike while the iron is hot and get a court shoe for smooth...it just looks more like you know what you're doing...re latin outfit...if you are young and you look good and it isnt skanky, use your assets....btw....while I am sure youre latins are fine as black shoes.....in the future if possible you might want to look at a bronze colored shoe for latin....my pro thinks the leg line looks better when shoe is same color as leg...and hey, if she wants it, do the hair and make-up .....
  18. Fretful_Porpentine

    Fretful_Porpentine New Member

    Yay!
    There are few things I love more in life than shoe shopping (except dancing, of course), so I'll definitely get on that. :D

    And, yes, there is a woman at my studio who competes a lot, so I'll ask her advice as well.
  19. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    look at clearance shoes at your comp...there should be good deals from the vendors who are there....with the hair and makeup, I can do my own pretty well...b/c I used to be in some theatre stuff, but honestly they did wonders on my hair in ohio....I felt like a queen....
  20. chica latina

    chica latina New Member

    and black shoes will show easily any mistake . I was told by a top pro "unless you have perfect feet, don't wear black shoes". So, whenever you decide to buy a new pair, I will recommend them tan colored.

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