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Posted by glooney34
5/7/2012  10:11:00 AM
My wife and I are entering our first competition. We are seniors-age 77- and it will be a NDCA event. Our teacher says just do the steps- the grade will be based on the steps completed. The USA dance site has many criteria that determine the score. Is the competition different -USA vs NDCA? Any tips or suggestions?

Re: competition
Posted by anymouse
5/7/2012  11:58:00 AM
People write lists from time to time, but there really aren't universal, formal this many points for this and this many for that critera for judging in ballroom the way there are in skating. (Occasionally some organization - currently the WDSF - will play with the format of their championships in order to shake things up, but that's not relevant to you).

I'd say your placement is more likely to be based on how well presented you are and how well you dance your material, than what your material is. The exception to that would be if you do something clearly unsuitable, or actually against the rules (if you enter a closed syllabus event, though NDCA doesn't have as many of those). Especially for the first time out, simple and repetitive is good. You won't bore the judges, nor if you are focused on doing it right, yourselves.

Be aware that there is a high probability of there being relatively few dancers in your event - you may even end up being the only one, so you might consider entering the event for a younger age group as well or instead (you can dance all the way down to the 18-35 adult group). Sometimes you can guess from results of past years at the same competition, or you might actually know of specific other couples who are going. Also, it is a fairly common at NDCA comps to combine somewhat compatible separate events on the floor at the same time. So it might be you dance uncontested, but at the same time as a pair of over-45 couples's who are being judged against each other, but not against you.
Re: competition
Posted by glooney34
5/9/2012  12:32:00 PM
Thanks, very helpful. Our dance teacher feels we should perform the more complex steps in order to show the judges our level of competence. You seem to indicate it is better to do the the more basic steps, and do those well. Any further comments ?
Re: competition
Posted by anymouse
5/9/2012  8:35:00 AM
"Thanks, very helpful. Our dance teacher feels we should perform the more complex steps in order to show the judges our level of competance. You seem to indicate it is better to do the the more basic steps, and do those well. Any further comments ?"

Judges spend their lives seeing complicated things done badly (they teach all week after all). Give them a break and show them something - anything - done well.

But a teacher steering you away from basic elements may not be one who feels they have all that much of value to pass on about those. There's not a lot of point of putting effort into studying any particular aspect of dancing with a teacher who isn't inspired by that topic.
Re: competition
Posted by olderpartner
5/9/2012  1:38:00 PM
I concur. Keep it basic and make it the best you are able. Presentation is extremely important, far more so than complexity. In some instances my amateur partner and I repeat a sequence lasting only 20 seconds. We do use sequences to guarantee we stay in syllabus but we use lead and follow always so we can alter the sequence for floor conditions. Dancing Standard/Smooth it is particularly easy to become trapped and unable to continue a fixed routine.

I have found it helpful to "try" to judge some events then see how my rankings compare with the official judges. I have learned that couples who present well and use simple routines often score well, even when footwork or other elements of technique are only moderately well done. Great footwork without confident presentation does not seem to score as well.

I have danced uncontested numerous times in pro-am events. As an amateur couple, dancing uncontested has been a rarity for us.

Good luck and let your smile show you are having fun!
Re: competition
Posted by glooney34
5/10/2012  10:48:00 AM
Thanks for the input. You both talk about "presentation". I wonder if you can elaborate? Is it physical appearance? Or hold? Or Dress? Or?
Re: competition
Posted by olderpartner
5/10/2012  4:25:00 PM
Presentation, how to describe it. For me it begins with posture, on and off the floor. If you watch championship dancers you will see that they literally exude confidence with their upright posture and fluid motion as they walk. Once on the dance floor they add frame and expression. Their necks will seem long, their shoulders will be down and they will assume their dance position deliberately. This is all before you begin to dance. While getting this far won't win you any competitions the absence of a good start can assure you will not win.

Presenting yourselves well for a one minute and twenty seconds as you dance can seem like an eternity. The smile can disappear, the shoulders can rise, the frame can droop or compress and you can find yourselves unstable in a myriad of ways. These are all things judges can see before they even bother to check out your footwork or evaluate the complexity of your figures.

I am sure others may be able to offer a better or fuller explanation. Simply put, if you don't look great you are probably not dancing well either.
Re: competition
Posted by JonHamilton
6/4/2012  9:49:00 PM
Hello! Unfortunately I just saw your blog post for the first time, how soon is the competition if hasn't already passed?

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