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

If you’re lucky, you’ll have a chance to be a spectator at a ballroom dance competition. It might be because you and your friends are looking for something different to do. On the other hand, maybe you have a family member, co-worker, or neighbor who is competing. 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 in which ballroom dancers perform in front of judges for a score. By the way, there are different divisions, and competing couples may be Pro-Am (a professional and an amateur), Am-Am, or Pro. Unless it’s the professional division, they’ll compete against others based on skill level and age.

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 does the ballroom where the competition takes place look like?

  • Ballroom dance competition organizers go out of their way to create a uniquely elegant atmosphere. With this intention, it may feature myths and fantasy, be all-white, or a salute to Hollywood.
  • In any case, it’s a fancy event, so bust out your Sunday best.
  • As far as the competitor’s dancing and interpretation of the music, look for lots of lustful, disdainful, happy, serene, lighthearted, and carefree expressions.
  • For sure, you’ll see ladies decked out in sequins, feathers, false eyelashes, and skimpy outfits.
  • In addition, expect to see men in tight pants and see-through shirts slit down to there.
A spectator at a ballroom dance competition will see lots of sexy costumes on the dancers.
A spectator at a ballroom dance competition will see lots of sexy costumes.

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

For one thing, there are numbers on the tables in the ballroom that will help you find your seat. Therefore, 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 explains the rules of the competition, as well as who the judges are and their credentials. Also, you’ll see the heat number, competitors’ names, the name and style of the dance, age division, and level.  

On the stage, you’ll see the Master of Ceremonies, the disc jockey, and the judges.  However, the judges move on and off the floor according to the heats they’re judging.

The competitors line up before their heat.  They’ll go to what is called the deck and check-in with the deck captain. Even though the program states that the heat will go off at a certain time, competitors must always pay attention to 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 plenty 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.

As a matter of fact, 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, 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. (Go ahead, click on it. You won’t be disappointed!)

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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