Need advice for my first Swing competition!

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by SPratt74, May 26, 2006.

  1. SPratt74

    SPratt74 New Member

    I am so excited that I finally get to go to my first Swing competition! I'm also nervous, because I don't know what to expect. I just know what our instructors have handed out. So, I need advice for everything from what to wear to cost to what to bring with me. It's not until July though, so I have plenty of time to learn from you all!

    Oh and what do they mean by like Pro-Ams? It says on the flyer: Jack & Jills, Strictly Swings, Pro-Ams, Workshops, Lots of Social Dancing, and Late Night Dancing. It does say that the first night is free, and that there will be a Pre-Party. What's a Pre-Party though? Is that like a class or just a party?

    So, thanks in advance for any advice! I'm really glad that I've been learning Swing from my instructor lol! And I know that I've complained that he's to technical for me, since I am just a beginner, but it might pay off since they say that there will be cash prizes at this event lol! Next time just tell me to shush if I start complaining about my instructors lol! ;)
  2. randomMysh

    randomMysh New Member

    Is it a Westie comp? Sounds like it...hmmm, July...Phoenix??

    Okay, assuming it's a Westie comp indeed, here's what you want to know:

    Pro-Am is when an instructor competes with a student. Only the student is judged unless the instructor messes something up, and then that is factored into the student's performance. ProAms are much more popular in Ballroom than in WCS for some reason.

    If you are going to a Westie comp, you absolutely want to compete in Jack and Jill, 'cause that's how you get points, and also 'cause that's what WCS events are all about. Even if you don't do well, it doesn't matter, do it anyway. Hey, you're there, might as well, right?

    Pre-party is just a social dance before the comp officially begins. It's always good to go 'cause that's where people first meet and start socializing. You will remember people, people will remember you, and hopefully you'll have a few go-to's you'll meet at the pre-party for the late night dancing all weekend.

    Most importantly: make sure to go to all the late night dancing. The best dancing happens late night, from around 1am-6am or so. Sounds crazy, I know, but it's absolutely true. All the pro's come out and dance, and not only do you get to watch some *amazing* social pro dancing, you can come up to anyone and ask them to dance, and they'll dance with you no matter how newbie you are. I love WCS for that!

    Have fun at your first event and good luck!
  3. chandra

    chandra New Member

    What event? You will probably meet some of your fellow DF'ers there!

    First off all, thats so exciting! I think you'll really enjoy it. I second marias advice GO LATE NIGHT DANCING. If you tell us the event, we can suggest which workshops to take etc. If Myles Munroe and Tessa Cunningham are there, take any workshops they teach!
    I also second that you should compete JnJ... Its allot of fun! I would also suggest going to the Pre-Party, cause yah- awesome dancing. My advice would be to dance with as many people as much as you possibly can!
    Also, I (underlined and bold, this is just me) like to take a private at events. You may love your local instructor, but I think it is fun to branch out and see what another instructor can tell me, just in a one time lesson. Sometimes a new prospective on your dancing is really helpful. Again, if I know what event you are talking about, and what you want to improve about your dancing, and waht style of teaching you like, we can probably suggest a teacher!
    In terms of cost, that should be available on the event website, including hotel cost, comp fees etc.

    Also, about pro-ams, although I have never done one before, I think it would be fun! If your instructor wants to compete pro-am with you it might be a fun thing to do. (im doing my first pro-am in august probably... I just never end up at an event that has pro-am, that my teach is at, that we both no about far enough ahead of time to plan...)
  4. randomMysh

    randomMysh New Member

    Uh huh, look who's talking! ;) You're gonna come out and be social at Liberty, right? Right?? :lol:
  5. SPratt74

    SPratt74 New Member

    Wow! Thanks to all of you for answering. The competition is in Kansas City. It's expensive, but I think I have thought of ways to cut down on cost. Like if more than one person goes and they don't mind sharing a room, then that would cut the cost of the hotel expense. Also, when I was little, we used to bring our food with us on our vacations. So, I'm thinking I could pack a cooler and bring some food and pop or something and that would cut back on going out to eat.

    Now, I'm not to sure what I want to participate in if I go. I sort of want to take this first one as a learning experience. I mean I may find that I don't like competing I don't know for sure. I would like to know what workshops to attend, because I don't have a lot of money and I would like to pick the best ones.

    The instructors are going to be: Mario Robau / Angel & Debbie Figueroa, Matt & Crystal Auclair / John Lindo / Jeanne DeGeyter / Austin Murrey / PJ Fritzler, M.C. and Mark Harris is the Head Judge it says on the flyer. I'll have to check their web site to see if anyone else is going to teach etc.

    And I don't mind asking people to dance, but how do you know if you should or not? I mean is there some sort of etiquette or something that you should follow? I don't want to make someone's wifers mad or something if I were to ask someone to dance with me lol.

    Oh and do any of you have any more ideas how to cut down on cost? And I also wanted to ask you all if you have to buy competition dresses for this? I have practice wear but that's it for right now. I figure that I have a month to get a dress if I need one. Thanks all again! I'm really excited if I get to go that is lol!

    Oh and is anyone else going to this? I think that it would be fun to meet some of you at these events! ;)
  6. SPratt74

    SPratt74 New Member

    Oh I just looked at their events page. It looks like Thursday night is just free dancing until midnight. Then the workshops start at 4 p.m. on Friday night and again at 9 in the morning on Saturday. Do you think that's wise after a long night of dancing to go early in the morning, or should I wait until the afternoon?

    It also looks like all of the competitions are in the afternoon starting with Pro-Am female at 4:30 on Saturday. They have other things but all of that is earlier in the day, because the advanced competitors perform at night. Anyways, it looks like Saturday would be the biggest day with Sunday only having a few workshops. (Actually, there are 11 workshops in all.) It's nice, because they are only an hour long, and you don't have to be there the whole time. And since they have broken down the workshops into different dance levels, I don't think that the cost would be as expensive as I thought it was going to be. Oh and I was going to ask if you can watch the others dance though, or can you only be at your workshops at your level?
  7. chandra

    chandra New Member

    You kidding me maria? I late night dance! When was the last time I was at an event with you... uhh... MadJam... I was out till like 6 both nights... I just wasnt doing pickle shots cause Im under age... you guys totally cleared the ballroom friday night! That sucked!
  8. chandra

    chandra New Member

    alright Spratt, I will be at that event! Grand Prix of Swing right? LOL! Hey, need a roomie?

    Ok, about workshops: (Whoa, Grand Prix has 11 workshops? Crazy.) It depends just how crazy you are... I PERSONALLY dont wake up for 9 am workshops, unless its someone incredible. Even then I dont. ussually.
    Workshops at events are totally not strict! If you know all of the basic patterns, then you can do any of the workshops, im guessing without looking. At an advanced workshop recently, Kyle Redd the teacher says "Are you all familiar with whips?" If there is one you would like to participate, but not rotate, Id be happy to lead you, and stay out of the rotation.
    As for late night dancing, grand prix doesnt really have it, not like Maria is talking about. Its not a top heavy event, meaning there are alot of novices that go, 6 or 8 intermediates, and 10 or 12 advanced dancers... That means late night social dancing is A. hard to get anyone to dance with you, and B. doesnt go very late. its still an incredible oppurtunity to watch pros playing around, and I would absolutely have to stab you if you went to bed before 2 am.
    Ok, the thing I HATE about grandprix, is that the workshops arent included in the event pass. And yes, you have to pay for a workshop to be in the ballroom when it is offered.
    Incidentally, Grand Prix was my first event too!
  9. chandra

    chandra New Member

    ok, you absolutely dont need a dress! Black pants and a fancy shirt is more than adequate! (Black dress pants, and a sparkly, shiny, or attention grabbing shirt, generally in a solid colour. Long sleeves are recommended for novices, cause they hide bad shoulder stuff...)
    As for what to compete in, ABSOLUTELY go for the Jack and Jill! Ok, my first event, I competed, and even though I had no chance of making finals, Its kinda like getting the fear out of the way, you know... So it was never a choice of when to start competing, I was always competing...

    Ok, as for workshops:
    Anything Mario Robau teaches (he is incredible, one of the best teachers in the WCS world). John Lindo is fun too. Angel and Debbie Figerouagh are awesome, Austin Murrey is hit or miss, he taught 2 great workshops last year, but apparently his workshops the year before werent that great I wasnt there, I dont know. Also, he is a hoot, and super cute.

    Again, I think Pro-Am would be fun... (its a more secure place to compete, because your dancing with someone you know!)

    PM me if you want, but where are you from, and who is your Pro? (Have you been learning WCS at a ballroom studio?) Is your pro going to Grand Prix? (Chances are, if he is, I know who he is)

    As for ways to reduce cost, absolutely, rooming with people (Im actually serious, PM me. Are you comfortably rooming with someone youve never met? I would be a great asset, for clothes advice, and to hang out with if you get bored late night!), bringing your own food, ignoring the dance shoe vendors (oooooh shooooooeeeeesss.) Oh, speaking of shoes, I would suggest wearing a low heeled practise shoe not a full heel. Your feet will appreciate it!
    The thing is, you never really leave the hotel, so you dont spend on much more than just food, hotel, and event pass.

    Grand Prix is a great first event. You will enjoy yourself.

    Oh, as for asking people etticut, its ussually pretty obvious - if they are sitting or standing near the dance floor tapping a foot, than it is ok to ask! If they are eating, in a deep conversation, running away from the ballroom, or just got asked to dance by 50 people in a row, eh... But dont sweat it, as long as you are thinking about being conscientious, youll be fine. We all make mistakes everyonce and awhile!
  10. SPratt74

    SPratt74 New Member

    Oh if you are serious about having a roomie, then yes!!!! That will sure cut down on cost on my end of things, so I don't mind that at all lol! I'll have to pm you to work out the agreement or whatever lol! ;)

    Oh that would be awesome! They actually teach WCS here during the weekday, so I know that pretty well. I forget some of the terms, but I know the steps though like if we were to just dance then I would know how to follow you that type of thing. But just to warn you that I've only been dancing for five months, so I am still just a newbie (which is why I'm still learning the terms), but I have done my first show, and I do take privates from two instructors! So, I'm a newbie, but because I have taken from two instructors has really put me in an advantage in that I'm more advanced than some of the people that have been dancing for a while at our studio if that makes sense lol.

    Lol! Well, instead of stabbing me, just load me up with caffeine, and tell me not to drink, because that makes me sleepy when I do drink lol.

    Ok, well... that gives me an idea as to what I have to pay for. Are they expensive? I don't mind not having to go to all of them, because this one is just a learning experience for me. So, if I only get to go to like two workshops (don't mind going to the one with the cute instructor lol), then that's ok too. I'm not going to get bummed out about it all. I'm just excited to have the opportunity to go!

    The reason that we are going to this is because we started a Swing Club here, and it starts this next month. So, I'm sure that you'll get to meet my instructors and possibly others that attend my studio since we might make this a group event! They are very welcoming and don't be shocked if they try to ask you to dance lol! We will dance with anyone no matter if we know their name or not lol. So, don't be surprised if you have one of them ask you! ;)

    Oh I plan on responding to your other post, but I have to go some place. I'll respond as soon as I get home, and I'll send you a pm later too! ;)
  11. SPratt74

    SPratt74 New Member

    Good to no dress, because I don't have any lol! I mean I don't have any like competition dresses yet lol. I have plenty of black pants and shirts of course, so I'm ok in that area! What about like short dresses for when we dance at night, or does everyone wear pants?

    And yes, I want to compete even if I don't make the finals just to get it out of the way like how I got through my first show! That's how I feel too! ;)

    I don't mind super cute! Sometimes having eye candy is good enough for me, because that will get me up on the dance floor in no time lol!

    That's true. From the looks of it, they only have one pro am competition for pro am female, and it's on Saturday. I would love to dance it just to get my first one out of the way. I would just have to find out if my instructor will charge me that type of thing first before I go that route. But I'm still going to go either way!

    I'll pm you about the personal stuff. But I'm sure that my pro is going and probably with his fiance. If they go, she has a van and I wonder if she'd be willing to let me ride with them. I don't mind paying for gas or whatever. But yeah, unless something really dramatic happens, I'm almost %100 sure that my pro is going. He never misses out on stuff like this unless he absolutely cannot make it for some reason or another. And you might know him! I'll pm you names to see if you do know him! Actually I should say again that I do have two pros, so I'm sure that one or the other will make it.

    I will absolutely pm you this afternoon! I have no problems rooming with strangers. It's not like I'm going to bring anything expensive with me anyways (I never do on vacations), so why not? Also, I come from a big family and we always had strangers over lol. So, I'm used to rooming with those that I don't know lol.

    I'll also bring food! (Especially plenty of chocolate lol!) I'll even bring pop and things like that. It's so much cheaper than to go out to eat every night! And since I don't have much money anyways, shoes at this time won't be a problem for me lol. But it might be at the next event I go to lol! The only thing that I'll probably buy is like a t-shirt or something that says I attended the event, because I love stuff like that. Otherwise, nah... the less money I spend the better lol!

    And any advice I get is very much appreciated! I especially love learning from those that have attended these types of events before, so I can't wait to hear advice from you as to what to wear even. That may sound silly, but you know us girls have to make sure we look right at the things we go to lol!

    Ok, then it's the same as it is at our studio! I think I can handle that lol! ;)
  12. chandra

    chandra New Member

    haha, lol, I dance with people I dont know all the time! No problemo! (Dude, I would never dance if I only danced with people I knew)
    Late night social dancing, I would opt for something comfortable. Most people all weekend will be wearing pants, you will probably only see one or two dresses or skirts... People opt for comfort, late night, jeans and a nice shirt... Preferably a COOL shirt, cause it gets DARN hot late night!
    If you have any other questions, just let me know! Ill try and think if their is anything else I can think of.
  13. SPratt74

    SPratt74 New Member

    You know that I just don't like dancing in jeans any more. I mean I do for my group lessons, but they just don't feel comfortable like practice pants. They make some nice practice pants now though, so maybe I'll buy a couple of those before this event. I'll pm you about the rest. I wonder if anyone else from here is going? ;)
  14. chandra

    chandra New Member

    well, I dont know how much he posts, but Swinginstyle will be there!
    Yah - interms of late night, whatever is comfy(but looks good ofcourse!) said jeans, cause alot of people are comfortable in them!
  15. SPratt74

    SPratt74 New Member

    Oh well you can bet that my sexy clothes will be coming out of the closet when we go dancing late night! This will be the time to shine (and to flirt a little of course lol). But of course I'll dress for comfort too though. I'm the type that doesn't like to worry about my shoes and clothes and hair all night lol. I'd rather enjoy myself than to worry about those things! ;)
  16. randomMysh

    randomMysh New Member


    LOL, I was just giving you a hard time. Obviously, it worked. :)

    Most of the people weren't doing shots on Friday, they just came up to see what the commotion on the balcony was about and ended up staying to dance. It was a lot of fun!
  17. randomMysh

    randomMysh New Member

    Hardly anyone wears dresses or skirts at westie events. The only exception I can think of is Blake Hobby, the skirt/heels combo is like her signature and she rocks it. I personally really can't do WCS in skirts, it just feels weird.
  18. SPratt74

    SPratt74 New Member

    Really? I can't dance in anything but dresses now. I just don't feel comfortable in jeans, because I can't move around as easy. I will wear black practice pants though, because those are comfortable. But yeah, I will wear skirts for WCS. That's not a problem for me. ;)
  19. Horizon

    Horizon New Member

    So slightly off topic, but who from this forum is going to Liberty? I've been seriously thinking about buying a weekend pass and driving up from the DC area... Easterns was my last comp, and MadJam before that. Unfortunately, I'm new to this board and don't actually know any of you guys, so it would nice to meet some of you at a comp. Is there much interest in Liberty? I did hear Jordan and Tat and Kyle and Sarah will be there, so it must be a good event~

    On and regarding Pro Am, I did it with my instructor at both Easterns and MadJam. It's great fun! If you only do it for the competition experience it will be worth it. The more you get out infront of people and dance, the less your nerves will play a factor in your next competition.
  20. chandra

    chandra New Member

    IM going to liberty. Should be a kick butt event.

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