Why enter competitions?

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#1
I recently read some of the posts about how much you should spend on participating in competitions, and it made me wonder...
Why do you enter Country Western dance competitions?
And, if you would, please share with us what stage of life you are in. In other words, give us some idea how long you've been around. Or, to put it bluntly, "how old are you"? (Hey, that's how we say it in plain English.)
Thanks in advance for sharing your motivation and thoughts.
 
#2
Steve Pastor said:
I recently read some of the posts about how much you should spend on participating in competitions
Where there actually posts implying that you should spend a certain amount? (implying you are not serious if you don't) Or where people simply relating how much they had spent at certain competitions?

Note that pro/am competitions are greatly more expensive than dancing with another amateur. You have both now in CW right?
 

pygmalion

Well-Known Member
#3
But C&W tends to be much, much less expensive than ballroom. Not quite sure why. I'd have thought the math would be the same or similar. *shrug*
 
#4
I might be completely wrong, but I've gotten the impression that maybe people involved in CW don't depend on it as a significant source of income to the extent it is in ballroom. My sister has competed in CW and her pro instructor, who is highly respected and placed, works a full time non-dance job and teaches and competes in his "free" time.
 

pygmalion

Well-Known Member
#5
waltzgirl said:
I might be completely wrong, but I've gotten the impression that maybe people involved in CW don't depend on it as a significant source of income to the extent it is in ballroom. My sister has competed in CW and her pro instructor, who is highly respected and placed, works a full time non-dance job and teaches and competes in his "free" time.
Or maybe the whole financial model is different? *shrug*

(btw... I didn't know you had a sister. Wow. Cool. :) )
 
#6
pygmalion said:
(btw... I didn't know you had a sister. Wow. Cool. :) )

Yeah, she started in ballroom, but switched to country because she lives in a town where there wasn't really any good ballroom teaching, but a big country and WCS scene and good instructors.

I went to one of her CW competitions once, and the differences from a ballroom comp were very interesting. Only 3 couples were ever on the floor at one time; they did as many heats as necessary for everyone to dance (which also allowed the instructors to dance with multiple students at the same level). So your competition at a given level might not be on the floor at the same time you are. I'm not sure what kind of scoring system they used, but the results are all announced at the end of the comp.

They also used the same song for all heats of the same dance. Everyone from beginners to the most advanced danced to the same song. And they played the songs during the warmup before the heats so people could practice to them. I guess that makes it fair for competitors who aren't in the same heat, but as a spectator, listening to the same song over and over and over drove me NUTS!

CW comps also enforce rules about competitors' level. You only enter one level and when you've achieved a certain success at a given level, you're not allowed to continue competing at that level and must move up to the next level. No "dancing down a level" like at pro-am ballroom comps.

Watching the top two couples was fascinating. The current champion lady had great movement, but, from a ballroom perspective, a really loose, floppy frame. You could tell from their frame that the other couple had some ballroom training. My sister was shocked when the other couple won.
 

Vince A

Active Member
#7
Less expensive??? Who have you been talking to??? I personally know individuals who spend between $4,000 and $5,000 a month for lessons, events, entry fees, Pro fees for the comp, etc., not counting hotel, food, and flight fares. Hell, my wife flys to Arizona on weekends (Saturdays) just to practice, then flys home that evening. It's all in "HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT!" "It," is for you to figure out!

It really depends on who you are . . . what division you compete in . . . how fast you want to get to being a Pro, or should I say, get to being a "great dancer." Not all Pros are great dancers - my 2(ents!

As far as the "three couples on the floor" goes . . . again it depends. Most of the events that we attend . . . most competitors have their dances recorded by camera crews. Some camera crews have three cameras, some have five. And if there are three cameras, and every competitor has paid for a DVD recording of their dancing . . . ONLY three couples will be dancing in that heat. If every competitor wants a DVD, then there will only be three competitors in every heat.

Same song??? You bet. At most Pro-AM events, competitors get their music first thing in the AM . . . 7 to 8 AM. Every Pro gets up to 30 thirty seconds with each Am, so that the Am hears and feels the music prior to dancing - it also helps each dancer to get the initial timing of when to begin the routine.
If a Pro has 25 students, then, yes, you may hear that intro plus a few seconds 25 times. Seems only fair. We wouldn't want you to complain, saying, "Oh man, I lost because you had a better, more danceable song." WHich, I indeed. have heard. That actually happened to me in a Hustle contest. Twenty competitors, split into two groups of ten. I was in the first ten, and the song was extremely slow . . . I almost could have Waltzed to it! The second song was right up there in tempo where a Hustle should be. I won't say who actually won though!!!

Now remember, at some of the C&W events, Swing, Hustle, and Salsa is mixed right in. You don't even have to hear C&W music, nor do you have to wear C&W duds. I'm one that does not . . . baggy jeans and Bloch's for me!

So, for all of you who have a pre-conceived notion that C&W events are not all that great, you owe it to yourself to attend one . . . and stay for the whole thing! It's not all about the competitions. There are great workshops for all levels, including entry! There is C&W social dancing and Swing, Hustle, and Salsa rooms for social dancing. Who knows??? You might want to try it! And don't say never. . . there are plenty of crossover dancers in the varied dance venues!!!!

Thanks for reading . . .
 
#8
VinceA, I hope you didn't think I was criticizing the CW comp I attended. Actually, most of the things I mentioned were things I thought CW did better than ballroom (at least ballroom pro-am).

As a dancer, I'd love to be able to warmup to the music I'd be competing to. And if the number of couples on the floor were limited, I'd feel like the judges would have a better shot at really evaluating my dancing, rather than making a snap decision based on a five-second glance. (That was the reason for limiting the number of couples on the floor at one time that I was given when I asked people at the comp.)

I also would like to have results held til the end of the comp. Sometimes when there's an award ceremony in between heats I'm dancing, I leave the ballroom during the ceremony. If my results in an early heat are disappointing, it affects my confidence and dancing in the later heats, so I prefer not to know until I'm done with all my dances.

I've only attended the one CW comp, so I wasn't trying to generalize, just report what I saw. There's so much discussion here about problems with ballroom comps, I thought it would be interesting to share a bit about how another dance style does things. Thanks for amplifying on what I described.
 

Vince A

Active Member
#9
waltzgirl said:
VinceA, I hope you didn't think I was criticizing the CW comp I attended. Actually, most of the things I mentioned were things I thought CW did better than ballroom (at least ballroom pro-am).
Sorry . . . I read what I wrote, and I did sound "defensive," didn't I. I guess some of it comes from some other threads I've read saying similar things.

Many times I hear how C&W can't hold a candle to a ballroom event . . . well, I've been to both, and I think it's the other way around. In fact, we annually have a "Country vs Ballroom" comp in the Bay Area . . . many ballroomers sign up for lessons following that comp - and not the other way around. Ballroom feels "boring" in comparison, as does being tin the audience watching.

waltzgirl said:
I've only attended the one CW comp, so I wasn't trying to generalize, just report what I saw. There's so much discussion here about problems with ballroom comps, I thought it would be interesting to share a bit about how another dance style does things. Thanks for amplifying on what I described.
You have to realize I'm a moderator, and most times I do come back with a challenging response to purposefully stir up "talk."

Thanks for your input . . .
 
#10
Vince A said:
Sorry . . . I read what I wrote, and I did sound "defensive," didn't I. I guess some of it comes from some other threads I've read saying similar things.

Many times I hear how C&W can't hold a candle to a ballroom event . . . well, I've been to both, and I think it's the other way around. In fact, we annually have a "Country vs Ballroom" comp in the Bay Area . . . many ballroomers sign up for lessons following that comp - and not the other way around. Ballroom feels "boring" in comparison, as does being tin the audience watching.


You have to realize I'm a moderator, and most times I do come back with a challenging response to purposefully stir up "talk."

Thanks for your input . . .
No problem. As I said in my first post, the only problem I had at the CW comp I went to was as a spectator. That comp's schedule had all the heats of each dance before moving on to the next dance and played the same song for all heats. Because of the schedule, I had to hang around all day to see all my sister's dances, which meant listening to the same song dozens of times in a row. But maybe they don't all work that way.

By the way, a non-dancing friend came to both the CW comp and a ballroom comp I was competing in (they were the same weekend)---and after the weekend she signed up for CW lessons!
 
#11
I started competing in C&W because that's what my pro is active in. I started 5 years ago at age 48. I do it mainly because it gives me an opportunity to perform that I wouldn't have otherwise, and it's a great way to improve your dancing. I do pro-am and will compete with my husband for the first time next month!

By the way is anyone here going to the ACDA comp in Ft. Worth at the end of March?
 

Vince A

Active Member
#12
Hiya SuzieQ,

Nice young age to start dancing. Good for you!!!

Good luck with your Pro-Am comps . . . what level are you?

Also, good luck dancing with you husband . . . is this in Classic Divisions?

Not sure I'm going to the ACDA event in Ft. Worth, but I know my wife is.
 
#13
We will be dancing in the silver novice division (age 50-60.) ACDA has different divisions than UC-doesn't have classic/? (don't remember what the other one is called.)

In Pro-Am I dance in silver intermediate. So I will be dancing on Friday night and Saturday afternoon, I think. I'm looking forward to it. We have about 12 people going from our studio.

Would love to meet up with you and/or your wife. Will you be competing?
 

Vince A

Active Member
#14
SuzieQ said:
We will be dancing in the silver novice division (age 50-60.) ACDA has different divisions than UC-doesn't have classic/? (don't remember what the other one is called.)
UCWDC, and h-m-m-m-m, I though that they did, but I haven'd read the rules and the changes in years! Anyway . . . good luck.

SuzieQ said:
In Pro-Am I dance in silver intermediate. So I will be dancing on Friday night and Saturday afternoon, I think. I'm looking forward to it. We have about 12 people going from our studio.
Wow . . . your Pro will be busy if you all compete. Who is your Pro?

SuzieQ said:
Would love to meet up with you and/or your wife. Will you be competing?
Not sure if I'll be going . . . can't swing getting away from work at this time.

Would love to meet you too . . .
 
#15
My pro is Don McCarty--best in the business!
We have quite a combination of "couples" competing. Don will have me and I think 3 others as pro-ams, and my daughter as pro-pro. Then my daughter is competing with her partner in Div. 2, and with at least one pro-am, her partner has one pro-am, and some of the other pro-ams are competing together. Plus my husband and I. So it should be a fun weekend.
 

Vince A

Active Member
#16
SuzieQ,

Wow, you're going to be busy. Are you doing eight dances?

Your Pro will be busy too!

Best of luck to you . . . let me know your results??? All gold or better I hope!
 
#17
I have always done all eight dances in pro-am, but since I'm going to be competing with my husband I am doing polka, cha cha, 2-step, and ECS with Don and NC2, waltz, 2-step and WCS with my husband. At least for this first time. I hope to also do a Spotlight later in the year. I did one last year but haven't had time to work on a new one because we were getting ready to have a show at the studio.
 

Vince A

Active Member
#18
Good show . . . you know you could also do the same dances in Showcase . . . just longer routines . . . and you could compete in the Open Division, although not sure if the ACDA does that as the UCWDC does.
 
#19
Thoughts and motivations

I have danced most of my life. I competed in Disco back in the “Saturday Night Fever” days and minored in modern dance in college. I hated CW music! After my divorce and becoming a single mom, I went dancing with friends and was introduced to CW music and dancing. It looked like great fun and challenging. I love challenging myself. I met some wonderful people in the dance groups around town and started learning how to dance. Eventually I wanted to challenge myself further and started taking lessons from a Pro and doing Pro Am competitions in the beginner then novice level. I was hooked. Competition gave me a reason to perfect my dancing and not just be lax about my footwork, frame etc. I then decided I wanted to get a Partner and started dancing in an age division. I was 40 at this point, but joined an age division that allowed 30 year olds and above. We won the World Championships in our second year! I decided that I wanted to further challenge myself and try competing in the “Open” division which means all ages 18 and up. I started with another partner much younger than me and more experienced than my last partner. We have been competing for the last two years in Division II and have been winning! Age does not matter!! It is a lot of work and muscles will hurt. It takes dedication, but the results are worth it. At the level that we are dancing these days, I will admit, the majority of out coaches are ballroom professionals. Our Waltz, East Coast and Cha Cha are going more that direction. So, cost is becoming similar. We will pay a pro on average $65 an hour. Our comps are less expensive than ballroom. Usually $60 - $70 entry fee and $10 - $15 per dance. Hope this answers your question. Happy Dancing!
Swirl
 

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