What Competitions Are Your Favorites?


Staff member
Porfirio’s post regarding the recent USABDA Nationals got me thinking…what are your favorite competitions to go to and why?

Do you like the smaller ones or the bigger ones? The local or the “oops, got to make a vacation out of that” ones? Do you generally prefer NDCA, USABDA, FADS, AMI, or collegiate comps in particular? Is it the same or different if you’re going to compete or only as a spectator? How much do various factors, such as level of competition, location, venue, facilities, price, etc. factor into your preferences?

[Some related topics that may also be of interest include Judging Changes? and Franchise Experiences.]
While I haven't been to more than about 40 comps, my best experiences were at the USDC in Miami (moved to Hollywood, FL this year) and the Heritage Classic at the Grove Park Inn (includes a haunted section) in Asheville, NC.

This year is seems that comps are down a little and they seem to lack some of the excitement of previous years, but I'm hoping things will really heat back up as the economy gets going again.

I'll always love anything in Miami Beach!
Vegas, Baby.... Yeah!

I've done between 8 to 12 comps a year, for the past couple of years, ranging from collegiate, to USABDA, and of course NDCA. I think it's pretty safe to group these comp profiles into categories of what I'm looking for when I go to each one.

For example, if I'm looking for a comp where I can try out my new routines, not spend a lot of money, and not have to travel, the local annual comp at UCSD is excellent. It's called Day by the Shores, and aside from having rounds and rounds of collegiate one-dance events, they have open multidance events. The crowd is very lively, and you really get the feel that you're doing a sport, as you're competing in a university Gym.

Now, if I'm looking for glamour and fun, I prefer Las Vegas competitions. Travel is inexpensive, too, whether flying or driving. And rooms are cheap if the reservations are made well enough in advance. My favorite Vegas comp is the Holiday Dance Classic, as it is always held in a nicer/newer hotel (Venetian, Luxor, and this year at Paris). When in comes to the competition, my event (Championship American Smooth) has never had more than a final, but it's great to take a few days off from work to enjoy Vegas, be a spectator to some great pro shows and competitions, and get some competitive dancing in.

Now, when it comes to my amateur career as a competitor, the comps that count are the USABDA regionals (semi final event) and as I found out this year, USABDA Nationals (quarter final event). I've been to the western regionals both in Anaheim and in San Jose. I have to say that I enjoyed the San Jose version a little better because of the size of the venue and the nice hotel. I know they're going to be in Anaheim next year, so I'll go because it counts, so we'll see if there's any improvement on my last Anaheim experience, which had a VERY small floor (even if it was technically regulation size).

So, to break it down:

Collegiate: UCSD's Day by the Shores (March)
USABDA: San Jose's Western Regionals (June)
NDCA: Holiday Dance Classic (December)

If I could combine my preferences all in one, I'd say have all major championships in Las Vegas!
I guess the answer to this is:

It depends....

As an amateur competitor, I tend to favor the larger USABDA competitions where a semi-final is danced.

As a spectator, I enjoy watching the larger NDCA events where some of the best couples are competing.

As someone simply wanting to enjoy an evening at a competition, I tend to favor the banquets held at the end of a Fred Astaire competition.

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