Swing Discussion Boards > Need advice for my first Swing competition!

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

  1. SPratt74

    SPratt74 New Member

    Oh girl... I'm just teasing you! That's the type of person I am though lol!;)
  2. randomMysh

    randomMysh New Member

  3. leftfeetnyc

    leftfeetnyc New Member

  4. and123

    and123 Well-Known Member

  5. SPratt74

    SPratt74 New Member

    Ok, well I found out that I don't get to compete this time around. My instructor says that he wants me to come and watch first before I do anything at all. He says he wants me to buy a pass to the events though, so I get to go to everything else. Oh well. I guess that takes the pressure off me though, so I don't have to worry about cost and things like that!!! Plus... I still get to dance and have fun with all the cool dancers! I can't wait for that! ;)
  6. chandra

    chandra New Member

    Cool, yah, going to an event and not competing can be relaxing, and fun!
  7. Dancelf

    Dancelf Member

    That's novel.

    (A friend of mine was encouraged by a couple instructors to enter a jack and jill at her first event. Since I was the one likely to have to deal with the fallout, I thought it wise to loan a video of the event from the previous year. After watching the first heat of newcomer prelims, she was ready to demonstrate significant violence on corpus instructi.)

    Look first, leap anyway.
  8. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    Great advice . . .
  9. SPratt74

    SPratt74 New Member

    Yeah, I agree with you guys. I asked my instructor if I could watch last years show before I performed my first one, and he gave me the videotape. That's what relaxed me though, because I was able to see that the students didn't have like really outstanding performances unless they were the competitors. That helped me with my confidence, because I knew that we were all pretty basic and casual at that point.
  10. leftfeetnyc

    leftfeetnyc New Member

    When you're coach tells you not to compete does he mean in the pro/am or the Jack & Jill?

    As a competitor...I would say do the J&J. This is not like putting together a routine and going to the US Open where you have to compete against the best of the best...

    Most people do J&Js for the fun of it. Go back and watch the DVD again, watch Prelims. You'll see a huge scale of skill level in Novice. From people who've had 2 dance lessons to people who have been doing it for years.

    I did my first J&J after three months of class and a month of social dance. I was horrid. And I got that first nerve wracking bad experience out of the way. I love them now and do really well (can't deny it, I'm super competitive).

    Grand Prix isn't one of the elite events. There will be a mix of good and bad dancers in novice and you might get paired up with someone great, or someone terrible. But go in with a "this is a fun experience" and it's a lot of fun.
  11. MrPlow

    MrPlow New Member

    Here are some jack and jill judging tips I copied off the net about 10 years ago. Since then I've seen the same ideas in different form, so it appears they are still valid. My notes are in brackets [].


    The way to win one of these is to first elevate your social dancing to the level of competition dancing! This means always dancing as if you were in a Jack 'n' Jill or draw for music contest! You dance high intensity, concentrating on your appearance, etc. Project to the people who are watching you - it's OK to show off a little. Dance at the maximum level of difficulty your partner is capable of - challenge them but don't dance beyond them. Do this and you'll: have a MUCH better time when you social dance, tremendously improve your ability to do Jack & Jill and draw-for-music contests, develop quite a reputation as a social dancer, and spending most of your dances being the ask-ee rather than the asker.

    What are they judges looking for? Good dancing. I have a mental checklist that I use whenever I can't get out of judging. This isn't my own invention but is an amalgamation from other folks whose opinion I respect. Here are the most important things in the order I PERSONALLY look for. Overall, I start at the bottom and work up:

    1 Rhythm Are they on the beat? Can they stay there? A failure at this level puts a couple almost completely out of the competition. (Yes, it has happened it to me!) [Sonny Watson once said that when looking at the first round of a Jack and Jill were many couples are dancing at once he looks at each couple for a few bars of music. Couples that get off the beat don't make it to the next round]

    2 Footwork (Mostly WCS and Latin) You can't syncopate when you are off balance, so this is a good indication of whether they are keeping their center under control and their feet under their center.

    3 Is he leading? Is he indicating moves with his center, or his arms or not at all? Is he breaking his frame? Is he putting her off balance? Does he adjust to her while he spins her?

    4 Is she following? Is her frame pointed at him or is she ignoring him? Is she putting him off balance?

    5 Together Are they relaxed? Eye contact and smiling? This is the non-physical part of connection. If they are making faces, I don't like it.

    6 Do they feel the music? Are they accenting and counterpointing the music with their dancing? Or do they look like metronome dancers? This is the "catch the eye" type stuff and it can be done while dancing nothing more than basics.

    7 Beyond the basics - Finally! I've usually sorted out the competitors by the time I get to this level, so I'm just watching for neat stuff and/or mistakes. If there is a close decision between two couples, I usually end up spending the rest of the song waiting for eye-catching moves or mistakes by these couples. Below the bottom half of the competitors my judgment is almost entirely whim. So if I gave you last place don't quit. Rhythm changes like struts or extended syncopations are challenging to lead and follow, massive wrap moves usually stop the couple from dancing while they negotiate the intricacies. Many women go stone rigid in a wrap; most men plant their feet. You are living dangerously if you go with the killer moves.

    Given two or more technically equal couples, the judges will look at other aspects of the dancing, like musicality, feeling, expression, etc. Otherwise, a technical but "boring" couple is supposed to beat a lesser non-technical couple that puts on more of a "show". [First WCS Jack and Jill I saw was won by a couple that did nothing flashy, fancy or difficult, just quietly went about being technically excellent in their moves and connection. That made a lasting impression on me.]
  12. SPratt74

    SPratt74 New Member

    MrPlow - Wow! You have pretty much answered all of my questions as to how to do J&J's!!! I have done a couple practice rounds at my studio. The first one was horrible, but we thought we did pretty well the second time around. However, one of the instructors said that you want to keep it simple, and we added a few things like kicks and stuff like that. But now I know not to do that. However, it's hard when the guy is leading you and you have to follow his lead! So, it's like I may know what to do, but what if he doesn't? That again is why that type of dancing is so hard, because you might not end up with someone that knows how to dance that kind of competition, you know? Then you are bound to lose either way.
  13. SPratt74

    SPratt74 New Member

    He just meant that he didn't want us competing pro am yet. But I can do everything else though! He just wants me to watch it first to get the feeling for it all. That's actually kind of refreshing in a way. Then I can see what level I really need to be at in order to compete the way that I want to!
  14. MrPlow

    MrPlow New Member

    Yep, that's both the core problem and the biggest joy of Jack & Jills: it's the form of competition that's closest to social dance. I've always (ok, mostly always) approached competition with the attitude that I'm here to dance my best and have fun. If 30 seconds into the song I'm sure we're going to finish at the bottom, I just keep on doing my best and having fun. I find when I can keep that attitude regardless of the competency of my partner it leaves me relaxed and in the moment, which can be priceless for when I get paired with a great dancer.

  15. SPratt74

    SPratt74 New Member

    Well, I think that speaks high volumes of you. I will tend to joke around about placing last when we do our practice J&J's lol. Like I'll make jokes about how next time I'm going to be the very bottom etc. like how that's a good place to be lol. It usually lightens us up, because then I tend to smile and things and they know I'm joking lol. I know that my partners all know that I'm actually competitive, but still... I do think that it's important to show a positive attitude no matter how badly you want to win! ;)
  16. chandra

    chandra New Member

    (Hi from Vancouver)
    How is the planning going Spratt?
  17. SPratt74

    SPratt74 New Member

    Oh I've been meaning to write to you. I will pm you. I have been working over time and things a lot lately, so this is why I haven't been online yet! I'll write to you in tomorrow!!! ;)
  18. chandra

    chandra New Member

    My plane ticket is bought. Im flying in thursday at 6:30 pm!

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