Last week I took part in a ballroom/latin dancing competition in Miami. It was a Pro-Am event, meaning amateurs dance with their professional teachers, and we’d been preparing for months. I’d never done anything like it before, and I was ridiculously excited.
I entered a bunch of single dances. In Latin, the rumba, cha-cha and jive. In ballroom, the waltz. In each you can dance in up to three difficulty levels, based around bronze, silver and gold – I danced in three subcategories of bronze. I also danced in two different age ranges, which basically meant I’d entered everything I possibly could enter for a single dance. So: 24 dances total, and once there I signed up for the viennese waltz, making it 30. I figure, if you’re going to go all that way, you might as well make the most of it.
But perhaps the bigger deal was the other competition we entered: the showdance. These are one-time-only anything-goes spectaculars, so are obviously right up my street. You’re marked by ex-world-champion judges, who also give you feedback and comments. Not something you can get every day.
All the dances went pretty well. I took first place in, um, all of them. Necessary qualifications: in eight of the dances I was the only competitor at that age range and skill level, so inherently came first; and in the showdance you’re graded rather than placed. But still, I was obviously very pleased with this 🙂 I was also the top bronze-level male in the competition, which meant I was awarded a trophy in front of everyone. Eep! Wasn’t expecting that.
I had various of the dances filmed, and they’re all online here. This was our showdance:
and here’s the Viennese Waltz, which people seemed to like:
I like how we catch the cameraman off guard. By this point I’d realised that everyone else stands around for a bit waiting for a neat bit of musical phrasing. This isn’t so important in the Viennese Waltz as in some of the others, though, so I decided to just go for it.
The experience of entering competitions was quite odd. Firstly, I was bizarrely serene the entire weekend. I was just not frightened by it, which is weird, since I should have been frightened by it! This was something to do with being a long way from home, I think. Secondly, it was really difficult to remember the routines. We’d been practicing for a long time, and beforehand I was more concerned about remembering the technique of the steps than their order. But on the floor, under the lights and the judges’ gaze, I found that even the smallest bit of doubt was magnified tenfold. There’s a step at the end of our waltz routine that I just didn’t do. Next time I’ll know to properly drill them into my subconscious.
Overall: totally hooked. The team and fellow students from the Karen Hardy Studios were great, and much kudos must go to my teacher, who due to my entering everything ended up dancing 30 times in 40mins – as well as putting a huge amount of work in beforehand. There are more competitions coming up, and we’re already rehearsing.