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Step Up: Your first dance competition

Posted on January 03 2018

You’ve watched Dancing with the Stars, Les Dieux de la danse. You may have even been to a competition as a spectator or watched an in-studio spotlight show. You’ve seen the sparkle and shine and the ooh-la-la. And you may have even thought, wistfully, “I could never do that.

Stop. Right.There.

Says who?

There are a million excuses you can give for not doing something, but in the end that’s all most of them are: excuses. Think about why you started dancing in the first place. Whatever your reasons – fitness, stress release, curiosity, etc. – none of them involved staying inside your comfort zone. Dancing, by default, is a sport that takes you out of the comfortable space and challenges you to up it. That began with walking in the door of the studio. It continued when you decided to stay. And then it kicked up a notch when you went to your first group class, and again when you went to your first practice party and danced with someone you’d never danced with before. They might even have led you in a dance you didn’t know. And guess what. YOU SURVIVED.

So your lessons are continuing and you’re loving every moment…and then your instructor mentions the word “competition”.

Don’t freeze. Take a deep breath. In….and out.

Your instructor sees your potential. As teachers, they love to watch you grow and are invested in your progress. They will not suggest a competition (or spotlight or show) unless they think you can handle it. So take a minute to let that sink in.

But really, why should you do it?  Well, if you’ve been staring longingly at the dancers on the competition floor that’s one reason. For another, it’s a self-challenge. It’s a challenge to dance your best in a way you’ve never danced before and the feeling you get when you walk off the floor at the end of it is…amazing. And really? It’s so. Much. Fun. It’s the sparkle of your costume. It’s your friends screaming your name from the audience. It’s the smile on your instructor’s face after you’ve successfully navigated the grapevine through a sea of other dancers (possibly trying to do the exact same thing). It’s the smile of connection between you and your partner as you’re both just flying no matter how clean your steps are (or aren’t).

Do it for the challenge. Do it for the fun of it. Do it for love of the dance.


Because when you walk off the floor at the end…you will have done that. And you’ll be stronger for it (and on a high for at least a week, trust me).

See you on the floor.

About the author

Anna Humphrey
Author and Dancer
Anna thinks she might have been born dancing. She spent several years as a ballerina and is now in love with ballroom dancing...and just a little obsessed with tango and bolero and peabody and...all of it, really. Her studio is her home away from home. When not dancing, she can be found reading, writing, and traveling. And drinking copious amounts of tea.

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