Whether you’re a seasoned dancer or new to the stage, you’ll find that every competition holds surprises. Some of these are avoidable, others are not, and others are more like rewards. The best you can do as a dancer is to keep with the tempo and to rise and fall with grace. Of course, having a few tips about what surprises you might be in for certainly won’t hurt. So, here are a few that I’ve encountered.
Some surprises are the blessings of Murphy—that pesky law which lets you get all the way to Florida, the day before nationals, without your make-up. This happened to me in 2012. Careful attention to packing everything you need for a competition is important, but sometimes when your anxious or even excited you overlook things you normally wouldn’t. Fortunately, make-up is something that is easily replaced. I would not have been so lucky had I left my dress at home, or had it not arrived because I did not pack it in my carry-on luggage! Don’t let such a surprise get the better of you!
Other surprises you only run into once you’re out on the floor, like when the girl dancing next door isn’t so neighborly and rams right through your personal space. If you have the sudden urge to yank out her pretty little locks, don’t worry you’re not alone! However, brawling is not the best option. Rather than presenting her as beauty while you turn into the beast, take your rage and channel it. Let it be your momentum, like a wave that radiates energy and pulsates through any opposing force.
The best kind of surprise changes the rhythm of your heart. It might be nailing a routine or getting an unsolicited compliment from a judge. It might be recovering so swiftly from a slip-up that nobody but you noticed or noticing a judge groove to your mambo out of the corner of your eye. These are the moments that quicken your step and that give you a spirited cadence. Take them in! Enjoy them! Then, prepare for your next dance!
Manager and student at Ballroom & Beyond