Spectator at a Ballroom Dance Competition? This is for you.

Sooner or later, if you’re lucky, you’ll have an opportunity to be a spectator at a ballroom dance competition. It may be because you and your friends are looking for something different to do. Or, perhaps you have a family member, co-worker, or neighbor who will be competing and you want to go support him or her. Whatever the reason, you’re in for a treat. And, no, it’s nothing like Dancing with the Stars.

What is a ballroom dance competition?

A ballroom dance competition is an event where ballroom dancers and their partners perform for a score in front of judges.

Competing couples may be Pro-Am (a professional and an amateur), Am-Am, or Pro. Other than the Professional Division, they’ll compete against others based on skill level and age. There are many opportunities throughout the year to participate in ballroom dance competitions.

What dances will I see?

Most ballroom dance competitions focus on two styles of dance. They are the American Style (Rhythm and Smooth) and the International Style (Latin and Ballroom).

American Style Rhythm

Cha Cha, Rumba, Swing, Bolero, and Mambo

American Style Smooth

Foxtrot, Waltz, Tango, and Viennese Waltz

American Style club dances

Hustle, Nightclub Two Step, Argentine Tango, Peabody, West Coast Swing, Salsa, Merengue, and Bachata

International Latin dances

Cha-Cha, Rumba, Samba, Paso Doble, and Jive

International Ballroom dances

Waltz, Foxtrot, Quickstep, Tango, and Viennese Waltz

What will I notice as I enter the ballroom?

  • You’ll notice how cool the ballroom looks. To be sure, creatively elegant would describe the ballroom decorations. By the way, it’s a classy event, so dress accordingly.
  • During the dancing, you’ll notice lots of lustful, disdainful, deliriously happy, seriously serene, and lighthearted, carefree expressions on the competitor’s faces.
  • For sure, you’ll see ladies decked out in sequins, feathers, false eyelashes, and skimpy outfits.
  • Expect to see men in tight pants and see-through shirts slit down to here.
A spectator at a ballroom dance competition would see sexy latin costumes.

What else would a spectator at a ballroom dance competition see?

There are numbers on the tables in the ballroom that will help you find your seat. So, take a second to check your ticket to see where you’ll be sitting.

Be sure to purchase a program so you can follow along.  The program will explain the rules of the competition, as well as, who the judges are and their credentials. Also, expect to find the heat number, competitor’s names, the name and style of the dance, age division, and level.  

On the stage, you’ll see the emcee, disc jockey, and judges.  The judges move on and off the floor according to the heats they’ll be judging.

The couples that are dancing will line up before their heat.  They’ll go to the ‘deck’ and check-in with the deck captain. Even though the program states that a ‘heat’ will go off at a certain time, competitors must always be aware of the pace of the competition.  Any ‘heat’ can happen later or even a little earlier than the scheduled time.

Enjoy the dancing as you cheer on your favorite competitors.

You’ll see lots of good dancing when you’re a spectator at a ballroom dance competition. One thing you’re sure to notice is that the audience is loud and plenty vocal. Shouting out the name or number of your favorite dancers is encouraged.

Don’t be surprised to find noisemakers at the tables. Indeed, ballroom dance competitions are celebrations of all the hard work the dancers have done to prepare for this day. Not to mention the hurdles they overcame as they got up the nerve to perform.

Professional Competitions

If it’s possible, make it your business to attend an evening event. That’s when most of the professional competitions are held. Professional events, both American Style and International Style, are divided into two divisions, Rising Star and Open Professional.

Loosely stated, a couple can participate in a Rising Star competition until they take first place in that competition or place within the top six in the Open Professional competition.

If you attend a professional competition like Ohio Star Ball, you just might see something like this.

This is certainly enough information for you to feel comfortable going to a ballroom dance competition as a spectator. Hopefully, it’ll inspire you to try some lessons yourself. You’ll soon find out why it’s been so popular for so long. Check out this Dance Safari post, “Why Would I Do a Ballroom Dance Competition?

Happy dancing!

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