Most dancers have heard of the importance of the initial impression you make, even before getting on the floor to dance. This should not be surprising. In every aspect of life, first impressions matter. It is definitely something to pay attention to in your dancing.
Your Mind Matters
A champion shows confidence but has no need for arrogance.
- Arrogance actually comes about when you feel the need to make sure that everyone believes that you are dominant.
- Confidence comes when you know your skill, know that you will show it, and do not need to waste energy trying to intimidate others.
- Basically, confidence attracts others, while arrogance repels others. It is really that simple.
A champion shows attentiveness and excitement, not anxiety.
- Looking bored or impatient hardly fits with someone who loves what they are doing. It is hard to imagine that anyone could become a champion, given the level of effort and commitment required, while being bored with it.
- On the other hand, it is critically important to put anxiety into perspective. We are all human, and we all have anxiety from time to time, but consider the reality of two points:
- One, at the moment of a competition, no amount of thinking, tension, or worrying will improve your skill or execution. It simply is, what it is, at that moment.
- Two, relaxing, enjoying the dance and trusting your training to that point, can help you to dance to the best of your ability, which is really what you want.
Your Posture Matters
Think of the people you see in the ballroom, who make you look forward to their dancing, even if you do not know who they are, or their level of skill.
- It is generally the people whose posture, movements and presence matches the posture, movements and presence of the dance style they will do. You can think of this as a taste test that engages people to want to see more.
- The world is full of slouched and broken posture. Presenting yourself in a slouched or broken way is like asking to be over-looked.
Your Enjoyment Matters
Mood is contagious.
- Your joy helps others enjoy you.
- If you look put-off, watching you will be very uncomfortable, whatever your level of skill.
It is true that things happen, but life still goes on…
- You and your partner may have just had a disagreement.
- Your shoes might hurt a bit.
- Or you might have an uncomfortable bodysuit wedgy.
- If you can sort out the issue before coming into the ballroom, do so.
- If it is not possible to do so, focus on the enjoyment that you get from dancing, the music, the wonderful opportunity that you have to be on the floor with the health and ability to dance.
- For a few minutes keep your focus positive and you will be better off when you dance and even when you go back to solve whatever was troubling you.
Your Preparation Matters
I am not referring to preparation in terms of lessons and practice on this point.
- I am referring to whether or not your grooming shows that dancing is important to you.
- People put effort into their grooming for their wedding, a job interview, or other special event. In part, this is because of the first impression issue, but also out of respect for the situation.
- Invariably, adjudicators are adjudicators because they have spent many years and tremendous effort in ballroom. They have a respect for it, and hope you do too.
- To be clear, this point is not about how expensive your costume is. It is about clean shoes, well combed hair, and a costume that suits the dance and is not negatively distracting. If you have the ability to embellish on that, great, but at minimum, you should look like you dressed for something that you really care about. That’s all.