As graceful and effortless as it may appear during a competition, competitive ballroom dancing requires years of training and dedication.
Even then, it may not be good enough.
Like any other competition, professional ballroom dancing is hard work and every amateur dancer usually has one question in mind before a competition:
What are the judges looking for?
If you’re looking for tips on ballroom dancing, then the mind of a judge is easily the most valuable source of information.
While the criteria may vary among judges, most of them consider some or all of the following factors before deciding on your score.
If you’re an amateur dancer looking to improve your dancing skills, then here’s what you need to keep in mind:
Judging a Pro-Am Competition (Video)
1. Having the Correct Posture
What judges look for in ballroom dance competitions:
Posture usually occupies the top spot in competitive ballroom dancing and can help determine your fate at a dance competition.
A dancer must exude elegance and confidence.
A lot of judges will tell you that they weigh in the appearance and self-confidence of a professional dancer and your posture is the key to this.
Perfecting your posture also improves your balance as a dancer.
2. Understanding the Craft
Some judges will also appreciate a dancer who understands their craft and appears to take it seriously.
Adherence to technique is usually a tell-tale sign of how passionate you are about ballroom dancing.
Things like being aware of your body tone, your vertical alignment, and balancing the foot and ankle pressure correctly will tell a judge how much you understand ballroom dancing.
It also emphasizes your attention to detail and your discipline as a dancer, which is highly appreciated.
3. What Judges Look for in Ballroom Dance Competitions (Timing)
If your timing is off, nothing can save you.
Dancing and music go together, so if you fail at this part, then it doesn’t matter if you do everything else perfectly.
Listen carefully to the music and try and adapt to the rhythm.
This will help improve your timing.
Expressions matter a lot in dancing.
Amateur dancers may find it hard to give a lot of expressions initially.
This is especially prevalent in cases where you’re trying too hard on your technique.
Since all your focus will be on this particular aspect of dancing, your expressions may appear amiss.
Professional ballroom dancing can be stressful but you also need to learn how to relax and have fun.
Dance is a form of expression and you need to treat it that way. You must also try and keep it natural.
Appearing artificial on the dance floor will only cause you to lose points.
A lot of judges will rate you on your stamina as well.
Energetic dancers are a lot more exciting to watch.
It showcases their enthusiasm and passion for dancing, which is appreciated by the audience and judges alike.
This doesn’t mean that you lose all sense of rhythm and control on the dance floor.
If you’re an energetic dancer, then you must also learn how and where to channel this energy.
Make sure it does not interfere with your posture and overall technique.
It’s also important to remember that different types of dances require different energy levels, so you must adapt accordingly.
6. Telling a Story
Telling a story through your dance can also get you points.
It shows your creativity and the amount of thought you put into your performance.
Telling a story can also help tap into the emotional aspect of ballroom dancing.
You can add in expressions that complement the emotions you’re presenting.
Storytelling is also a test of your skills as a choreographer.
Being able to say something through movement alone can help you catch a judge’s attention.
7. Styling and Appearance
Some judges will also factor in your style and how it adds to your appearance.
They will judge whether you dance outwardly and really express yourself on the dance floor.
If you show introversion and nervousness, it will reflect negatively on your performance.
8. Connection with Your Dance Partner
Besides the technical aspects, there are also some intangible factors such as how a couple ‘looks’ together.
Dancing couples that have more chemistry and appear to fit emotionally together will get more appreciation.
To Sum It Up
We hope you found these tips on ballroom dancing to be useful.
In the end, there is no particular formula when it comes to competitive ballroom dancing, but most judges will stress on improving posture, technique, musicality, and energy.
Your connection with your partner is also incredibly important.
Both of you need to be able to understand and complement each other’s movements.
Remember that like everything else, there is a learning curve to ballroom dancing.
Even if you’re not a pro yet, continuing to work hard and maintaining your passion for dancing can help you overcome any minor obstacles and compete in the big leagues!