Behind The Scenes : Deck Captains


Who are Deck Captains? They are your common sense, you saviour, and probably the best thing that ever happened to you in your ballroom dance career.

Deck Captains: If you don’t know who they are, here is a little inside information: When you are all done up and ready to compete, you will most likely, find yourself lost with the timings of the competition. An event might be running late, or early; heats might get switched and/or joined; and awards have been moved from the “scheduled” time, to 5-minutes-ago. And who wants to miss their medal awards, right? So, the only person who has most answers to your competitive dance questions in that moment in time, is The Deck Captain.

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Charles Ryder Photography
Charles Ryder Photography

Job of a Deck Captain

The job is to insure that information from competition organizers gets delivered to dancers. And to be thorough: If your heat is next, you will get notified of that. If the even is big, you will also get notified which side of the floor you will be competing at (Pro-Am). A deck captain will let you know if you made it to the final or not, and will probably be the first one to share your emotions – either with a great smile or a sad face. Great deck captains are great spotters and would be able to find you anywhere in the ballroom, and let you know if your heat is up. But for that…

Charles Ryder Photography
Charles Ryder Photography

Deck Captain has to know you personally

Lets face it, dance industry is like one big family. Everyone knows everyone. Yet, sometimes dancers think a bit too highly of themselves, and refuse to find out who their saviours are. And, they are your saviours indeed. If you cannot remember at least one deck captain by name, well, shame on you and good luck at a competition where you are running late or you are about to miss your heat. Make an effort, introduce yourself and find out who they are. Trust me, I got my bacon saved way too many times by the On Deck Area Mighty Knight, who happened to know me personally. But, you would still need to remember a few…

Charles Ryder Photography
Charles Ryder Photography

Rules to keep your Deck Captain happy

Well, it would be a good idea to touch on a few “Must-To-Remember”s in order for a deck captain to always have your back:

  1. Be Polite. Even though you might be pissed off about your results, and a deck captain happened to be on your path of anger, you absolutely MAY NOT take it out on them!
  2. Be On Time. Even though deck captains are local competition super heroes, they cannot always catch you by the food court 5 minutes before your heat. Know your timings! Be in the area at least 30 minutes before, and you will be immediately spotted.
  3. Notify Them, Or The Organizers, If You’re Not Coming. So, thank god they know you personally and are looking for you to go on the floor, like, RIGHT NOW! But then, a fellow dancer happens to know that you’re not even coming. So, all that time and effort spent, looking for you when you’re not even there? C’mon people, common sense! With the internet era and modern cyber technologies, it is not hard to drop a line to an event organizer, via email or social medias, notifying them of your unfortunate absence. It will save a lot of time, efforts and nerve cells.

To finish up, hopefully you now have a good perspective and a bit more respect for the captains of the on deck area. They are there to help, and we can easily make their jobs easier by remembering the common points listed above.
Good luck and Happy Dancing!

Author: Egor Shalvarov
Photography: Charles Ryder Photography
Exclusively for Dance Comp Review