The Ins and Outs of Studio Competitions



What is a studio competition?

Studio competitions take place among our students at our Berryville studio location. Students compete with their dance partner or instructors (see more details about dancing with instructors below). Each student gets to participate in five heats and may divide them among the dances for the evening in any way the student sees fit. For example, if our competition for the month is foxtrot and rumba, a student may choose to do three foxtrots and two rumbas or all five rumbas. Each heat is 90 seconds long and is judged by our guest judge, Dan Calloway. During the heat, our judge takes notes on the student’s performance and then chooses a first and second place winner for that heat. Each placement has a point value, and at the end of the competition all points are added together to determine the overall leader, follower, and couples winner. We also have a People’s Choice award, which is determined by a vote of the audience.


Why do a competition?

The preparation alone is enough to help focus on very specific elements of dance. This specific focus helps improve your technique, partnership, timing, styling, or whatever element of dance you are trying to improve. Getting on the dance floor during the competition helps you get used to being in the spotlight while still being in a very friendly atmosphere. Doing in-studio competitions will also help prepare you for larger out-of-studio competitions if that is of interest to you.


Another great benefit of doing our in-studio competitions is the feedback that you receive from our judge through the notes that he took. His feedback will help you direct your next few lessons with your instructor.


What is the cost of a competition?

The cost of the competition is one lesson credit. For example, if you purchased a package of 20 hours, a competition would reduce that total by one, leaving you with 19 remaining hours. If you want to pay for it separately or you don’t currently have any hours on credit, the competition would cost whatever our hourly rate is at the time.


How do you sign up for a competition?

Tell your instructor or other staff members that you would like to participate. We have a whiteboard on which we will write your name, your dance level, and the dances you wish to compete in.

Signing up early will ensure that you have your specific partnering preferences. All entries must be submitted the week before the competition.


What extra preparation can I take for a competition?

Focusing some of your lesson time on the competition will be very helpful. Also, practicing dancing with other students at our dances, showing up an hour before the competition to warm up, and taking a coaching session with our judge are a few ways to prepare for the competition.


What should I wear for the competition?

Students will sometimes dress the part for the competition. We allow for intermissions between each dance to give the students an opportunity to change their costumes.


Some costume ideas for smooth dances:

Ladies may consider wearing long flowing dresses or skirts. Lighter color outfits work best with waltz and foxtrot, reds and blacks look great with tango. Men will want to wear nice dress pants, dress shirt, a tie, and a vest.


Some costume ideas for the Latin dances:

Ladies can show off their Latin dancing better with shorter dresses and skirts. A dress that allows for flare when turning and doing hip action will enhance their movement. Men will want to wear fitted dress pants and a fitted shirt. A dress shirt with the first few buttons undone is always a nice touch for the Latin dances!


As for shoes, ballroom shoes come in both Latin and smooth styles You can always wear what you normally wear.


Please remember that costumes are optional. The competition is judged based on your dancing techniques, partnership, timing, etc… The costumes just help you get into character to better dance the part.


What can I expect the night of the competition?

We open the studio floor for open practice an hour before the event. We will play music for you so you can warm up, stretch, and dance with other students and potentially a few instructors. The goal of this warm up is not to practice your routine with your instructor, but to just move around and review some techniques and exercises you’ve been working on.


Once we are ready to get started, we will make a few announcements and hand out the competition heats. We will announce the first heat, the leaders who will be dancing that heat and their respective followers, and then the music will start. You will dance for 90 seconds and immediately after the heat the judge will announce the first and second place winners. Ribbons will be immediately handed out and the next heat will be announced. This process will repeat until all heats of the first dance are completed. We generally take a small break between dance categories so students can do a quick costume change if they desire and do a few more warm up dances. We will repeat the heat lineups until that second dance is completed. Occasionally we add a third dance to the competition and in that case we would do one more small break followed by the remaining heats. At the very end of the heats, we play a song or two as the scores including the People’s Choice Award are tallied. Once that is complete, we announce the overall winner for the follower, leader, couples, and People’s Choice. We like to take a group photo of the winners, instructors, and judge. This concludes the night of our competition.


What can I expect after the competition?

On your next lesson after the competition, your instructor will have the judge’s feedback sheet from your performance. This is a great tool to use to direct your next few lessons and help target specific areas for improvement.


Our studio enjoys giving our students opportunities to learn, practice, perform, compete, and socialize in the friendliest of atmospheres. Although winning the competition is always nice, the purpose of the in-studio competitions is to help focus your studies, get great feedback from the judge, and get the experience you may need if you wish to take your dancing to the next level. We have a great time doing them and hope you do too!


If you have any more questions about our studio competitions, ask an instructor or call the studio at 540-409-7136.


Happy dancing!

Cha Cha Cha