There are, of course, numerous reasons why dancers attend ballroom dance competitions. But, I’d like to touch base on a few harsh truths I came across in my competitive career. Note, I am going to be cynical about this, since all of the listed below reasons happened to me as well.
You compete to become a better dance version of yourself
Something we hear a lot these days. Since competitive dancing involves more than music and your dancing, it pushes you to the next level of your performance. So, a statement “I compete to become a better version of myself” is usually a mask to something deeper than that. Let’s look at a few possible examples:
1. Desire to be above your competition
What you really want is to place above your “partners in crime”. Otherwise, you wouldn’t get mad when you have been placed below them and blame the judges for it.
2. Fear of losing an existing placement
You’ve done it! You beat this couple in placement and secretly (or not) enjoy your little victory. But, oh that feeling you get when that couple beats you at another competition. You are fierce, you’re confused, you’re mad at the judges, and your so called “friends” are not helping you by saying that “The results are not fair, you danced way better than them!”
So, to sum this section up: You don’t just want to be the better dancing version of yourself. You just want to be better than others. Your superiority gives you a genuine boost of self-esteem. Why? Because, it feels great to be better than other people. It makes you feel special!
You compete to Get the Title
Well, at least here you are being truthful to yourself and others. Weather you are professional, amateur or compete in Pro-Am, your drive for the title is a genuine goal. You get your title, you have your applauds, fame and boosted self esteem. And, even though, the dance industry will probably not even remember about your title in a year from now, It doesn’t matter! You got your 10 minutes of fame, and it was all worth it. (Or is it?)
You compete to Sell the Title
Or, to sell yourself as a “Champion”.
You have the title, and now you have a good reason to up-sell yourself to your existing or future students. They will be dancing / taking lessons with a Champion right? So, they have to pay accordingly. Keeping in mind, that Champion’s title does not usually give you the knowledge, or a better teaching ability. That does’t matter, since it seems that bragging rights “I dance / take lessons with a Champion” sometimes are worth more than the dance information itself.
You compete, because your Other Half Wants You To
Understanding that your better half needs to get his / her title, or what not, and since you are madly in love with him / her, you are going suffer. Let’s see the reasons why:
1. You love them, and you would sacrifice yourself to for their goals and desires
Bold move, I must say. So, what happens when they reach their goals? Or better, what happens when you can no longer help them reach their goals?
2. You love them and will do this for them, but you’re gonna play a “Little Victim” game
I’ll scratch your back now, but you’re gonna scratch mine later. In other words, you are gaining some “powers” to use in your future manipulations.
You compete for Your Coach
So, your coach sees it in you and clearly pushes you to step it up a notch. Of course, there are wonderful coaches out there that feel that it would be a huge loss to the world of dance if you’d stop dancing competitively. And they genuinely mean what they say. But, what if this is done to blow some smoke up your behind for numerous personal reasons?
You compete for the Hell of It!
It’s that simple! Even though you hate spending money on hotels, traveling, coaching and having constant financial losses, you genuinely LOVE the feeling you get when you compete. You could care less how you place, and what people say about you and your dancing. You just like to be out there, all suited up and ready to blast. You get a thrill out of 10 min dance a 4-5 dance final. And if you didn’t make one, who cares, you brought the hell of a performance, and that’s what matters the most to you.
You remember the look on your partner’s face when you forgot your choreography.
You remember the interaction you’ve had with the couple when they popped in front of you in a Tango. Or was it a ChaCha?
You just have these little memories of little extraordinary details.
If coming to the end of this article you felt offended. That’s too bad, since that confirms my theory of going through stages in dancing listed above, and you are probably still going.
But, if you didn’t, I salute you.
Exclusively for Dance Comp Review