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First competition -- freaking out!
Posted by Lauren Paul
8/13/2018  11:12:00 AM
So I began with ballroom dance lessons in March and did a showcase with my pro. It hurts now to look at that video but I hear that's normal!

I would say I am learning and progressing on a regular basis -- two coaches and three lessons per week -- but that I am slower to learn/not as agile a dancer as most women (that is my observation).

I'm about a month out from my first competition and I am freaking out! I worry I will be the worst in my newcomer/pre-bronze category. I feel like this fear is now preventing me from making the progress that I need to make.

Once I get unnerved at a lesson I find it hard to absorb new information. Once I make mistakes I start to give in to self-doubt. If I were not looking the competition in the face, I would be able to brush off my mistakes more easily.

I watch videos (but it's hard to tell exactly which ones are using the same steps) and the videos of my coach seem to confuse me more (is he doing my steps? his? which foot again??)

Does anyone have any advice for me? Once i start the downward spiral, I don't do well. When I can suspend my mind/fear I do better.

Thanks in advance.
Re: First competition -- freaking out!
Posted by Ladydance
8/14/2018  1:29:00 PM
The thing about learning to dance is that you don't keep prgressing at the same rate. You peak, then plateau and for awhile it will seem like you aren't improving at all, then you take off again. You may the worst in your newcomer category but you can't worry about it. You have to do the best you can. At the end of the day, no one remembers who won and everyone goes home with the same bunch of stickers for their plaque (or whatever). If you can come away and say "I'm pleased with how I danced" then that is good. I was a mess after my first comp ( I threw up when I got home). I thought, "this is ridiculous, it's supposed to be fun." I am not a natural dancer so I decided to be proud of the fact that I get out there and do it. Two coaches and 3 lessons a week might be too much information to absorb. I know they aren't going to tell you that, they want the money, but right now you need to practice your routines and I think you should be doing that with one coach only. Do not forget dancing is your decision, your money and you have to take charge of your life. Talk to your instructors if you feel you are moving too fast. However, I bet you'll be fine. It is just first comp jitters. Try to have fun!
Re: First competition -- freaking out!
Posted by Lauren Paul
8/16/2018  8:58:00 AM
Thank you so much for the encouraging words, Lady. How long have you been at it? Are you still doing comps?
Re: First competition -- freaking out!
Posted by Ladydance
8/18/2018  9:07:00 AM
Hi, yes. I 'm still doing comps and I no longer get nervous. I just go out and have a good time. I was dancing standard (Gold level) but I no longer have a competitive partner so I switched to pro-am latin. I haven't done latin for years so I have a steep learning curve. I haven't competed in latin yet. I know I'm not ready. My technique is not where I'd like it to be. There is no rush and since I don't need comp experience, I'll compete when I have a good chance of placing in the top three.
Re: First competition -- freaking out!
Posted by BallroomChick
8/17/2018  12:59:00 PM

You have to concentrate on YOU. As was stated everyone learns are diff rates. Some things come easy, others your instructor will keep going over. Once you start getting things into muscle memory it WILL click.

I've been competing for 9 years and I STILL have an Oh S&*t moment. It's 1 heat. Laugh about it, LET IT GO and move on. If you concentrate on mistakes you have seen the result - they come to fruition and snowball quickly. A pro once told me - We ALL make mistake - even the Pros, it's just that Pros can hide it better.

Stop being hard on yourself. If you make a mistake at home in the studio OR on the comp floor, laugh. You HAVE to keep laughing because this is suppose to be a fun hobby. It's too expensive NOT to have fun.

Remember when your competing it's just you and your instructor out there. The other bodies on the floor are there for company. You are there to dance the best YOU can dance. You are there to see YOUR improvements. Win or lose if you've put your best on the comp floor, there is nothing more than can be asked of you.

When you get home they will break it back down and start working on problem areas. That's the nature of this hobby, constant whittling away on problem areas.

Have a great time!
Re: First competition -- freaking out!
Posted by Lauren Paul
8/18/2018  11:40:00 AM
Thanks. Everything you said makes perfect sense! And you're right that it's too expensive a hobby not to have fun! :)

I had a good set of lessons this week and it does feel like my muscles are finally getting it. Less than a month to go before comp so I hope I can continue on a good footing!

Thanks again!
Re: First competition -- freaking out!
Posted by live2dance
9/2/2018  6:58:00 PM
That's so exciting! Make sure you practice in your costume if you're wearing one, and in different locations such as different rooms in your house or studio. You can become so accustomed to seeing the same walls and floors that when you're in a different venue, it can be disorienting. Just visualize yourself doing your thing and breathe. The most important thing is to just breathe. Listen to the music and just go for it. Don't take it too seriously. Hopefully you're in it for the long haul and just enjoy yourself. Trust your instructor, but more importantly, trust yourself. You got this!!
Re: First competition -- freaking out!
Posted by prak
8/22/2018  10:49:00 AM
To add to what Ladydance said, you will not only plateau, but you will suddenly find you get *worse* at something you thought you knew. This is normal as your brain and body integrate new information. You can only progress so much based on what you were able to do. Practicing means you improve, so you're now able to do more... sometimes that means rebuilding technique that you already knew from the bottom up. This is normal. Enjoy the process.

As to nerves for competition.. Well, you are probably dancing because you enjoy it. It's fun. I hope? So, it's a competition. Dance because you love it! At the end of the day, not only will you have enjoyed dancing, but you're a competitive dancer!! You already surpassed all the people who ever stayed in their chairs. Results, well, win or lose, a) strive to improve, and b) there will always be someone better, if not in this category then the next! So b) is not worth worrying about unless you are an elite athlete and this is your life... and even they are doing it because they enjoy the process! Focus on a). So what if you came in 4th instead of second. Did you dance better than the last time you performed? Only you know that. That is your real goal. Competition is just a way of forcing us to work on that.
Re: First competition -- freaking out!
Posted by nloftofan1
8/23/2018  7:47:00 AM
"You already surpassed all the people who ever stayed in their chairs."--prak. Absolutely right. I get a lot of enjoyment out of hearing people (nondancers, usually, but not exclusively) say "Oh, you look so good." I remember what one of my favorite instructors said frequently: "Yes, those are the steps. But it's not how I would do them." Laugh. Have a good time and enjoy competing.
Re: First competition -- freaking out!
Posted by nloftofan1
8/24/2018  8:25:00 AM
I may not have made it clear that I get a lot of enjoyment ... BECAUSE of what my instructor used to say.

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