No, really! It is NOT for Everyone!..
While I contend that ballroom dancing is for everyone, DanceSport (the competitive side of Ballroom Dancing) might not be. Should you stick to the social and performance dance floor and leave the Rule 11s and callbacks to someone else? Let’s find out:
Are You Sensitive?
Your results will vary (unless you’re the recently retired American Smooth World Champs, who were always “First In All Dances” – WHO DOES THAT?!) and there are one million reasons that happens. Instead of poring over your marks and figuring out who “hates you” and who is “obviously bribing the judges” or heading to the bar to “drown your failures”, take it all with a grain of salt. Your marks are not a personal attack. They are a form of highly-variable feedback. However, if you notice you are consistently scoring lower in Viennese, THAT is something you can use to improve your dancing. If one judge is always putting you last when the majority is giving you firsts, you can chalk it up to them preferring a different style or VERY NICELY asking them what they thought about your dancing.
Are You A Perfectionist?
I am. Most of us are. And while striving for perfection in anything is great, we know we’re not getting it here, right? If Joanna and Katusha are still taking coaching and finding new ways to improve themselves, you bet your tush the rest of us are never going to be “perfect”. We can, however, take a whole lot of evaluation and correction and use it to our advantage (it’s feedback, not criticism! *smile*) instead of crying in a corner about never achieving the ideal.
Are You A Purist?
No matter how good your technique is, sometimes someone will be wearing the right dress, smiling the right smile, with the best hair and makeup the world has ever seen, and be glowing from head to foot with the power of one million rhinestones covered in unicorn sweat and they will win. The “best” dancer does not always win. The best package does. Working on your dancing is obviously #1, but rounding out your game with some lessons in facial expressions, grooming, costuming, and stage presence will make you a better DanceSport competitor.
Are You Apolitical?
Whether you’re talking Freedom to Dance, USADance vs. NDCA, Pro-Am vs. Am-Am, or your home studio, there is politics in DanceSport. You can ignore quite a bit of it, but at some point you might have to choose a side. It’s helpful to have an informed opinion on whatever issues might affect you (where you can compete, who can judge you, who you can take lessons from, etc.), so do your research and get politicized. Just remember, dancing is fun and that comes first.
Are You Quick To Feel Disenfranchised?
If you didn’t make that next cut to the semi-finals and you’re immediately standing with your arms crossed on the sidelines pointing out all the “lucky” ones who take coaching with so-and-so or dance with what’s-her-face, then you should take your pity party and go home. Or suck it up and go practice some more.
In short, DanceSport IS for hard-working, fun-loving, challenge-taking, tough-skinned, ambitious, captivating people.