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Competition Guide

Courtesy of BAM ( Ballroom at Maryland , College Park):


What not to forget:

Costume (dancing naked is not acceptable, sorry).
Dance shoes
Deodorant (be nice to your partner and others)
Hair/makeup supplies


Make sure you eat right. Do not skip breakfast, but do not eat something too heavy. Cereal, oatmeal, fruit salad, or breakfast bars are good as they have vitamins and nutrients and carbohydrates. I always bring cereal bars and some kind of fresh fruit with me to the competition as well. I don’t care if you’re on Atkins: eat complex carbs (fiber). Avoid simple carbs (sugar), although in small amounts sugar can be good for an energy boost.

Bring Gatorade or Vitamin Water of Life Water (or something similar) with you. You body needs a mix of water and other things in order to work properly. Gatorade has potassium and salt: your body needs the former to keep your muscles from locking up, and the latter to make sweat.


Make sure you stretch before dancing, and if you have a long break, stretch again.

If you are fatigued, push yourself a little bit. But if you feel sick or hurt, STOP DANCING. The last thing we need is for you to seriously injure yourself. Injuries = paperwork for the officers, and we don’t like paperwork. We’re also concerned for you, of course. J

Dancing tips:

Don’t freak out! Walk onto the floor “large and in charge”. Be proud and own the floor. Nerves are normal, and even the most experienced among us get nervous sometimes. A great way to relieve nerves is to practice.

Floor placement is important. Don’t let yourself get shoved into a corner.
Try to dance toward the center, but near our team if possible. That way we can cheer you on and scream out your number, and shout helpful tips.

Also, a lot of people will be yelling things. Don’t let them distract you!
Tune out as much as you need to in order to concentrate on the music, your partner, and your dancing.

FOCUS! Keep your focus up and always have direction in your dancing. Do not take a step just for the sake of taking a step… make sure you have a purpose. “I’m going to do a New Yorker in THAT direction and I’m GOING TO MEAN IT!”

If you can, do not dance in the “first heat”. Stand farther back in the line so you can hear the song before dancing, and talk about the beat with your partner. Sometimes you have to line up in a specific order and you will not get this option.

Mistakes happen. If you make a minor mistake, keep dancing if possible. If you make a big mistake or are not on the correct beat, stop, take a breath, and keep going. It’s better to stop than to continue dancing incorrectly.

Above all else, HAVE FUN! That’s why we do this!


Girls: Latin costumes should have a short skirt or dress that “covers the topic” but is shorter than the knees, and will sly up when you spin. Wear bloomers underneath so you don’t show off too much. For standard, a dress that comes between the knees and ankles is ideal. Avoid sequins, sparkles, or anything else shiny unless you are at a level that allows “costumes”.
Wear “stage makeup”. That is, much thicker than you usually wear. Hair needs to stay in place, so it should be up and secured with bobby pins, for instance.

Guys: For Latin: Black, black, black, black. That’s black shirt, black pants, black socks, black shoes. For standard, a white shirt and black tie, but the rest the same. You may be able to get away with a colored tie, but always bring a backup just in case. Makeup is probably not a necessity, but hair is important. You cannot roll out of bed and come to the comp. Make sure your hair will stay in place. Gel is wonderful.



This is a summary of what you need to think about when putting together your outfits. Please don't brush it off as paranoid advice, all of this is important.

NOTE: You REALLY want to have bright colors if at all possible; there are so many ppl on the comp floor at a time, it really does make a difference.

NOTE: If you are planning to ever compete in USA Dance comps (a lot of comps OTHER than DCDI), you cannot have rhinestones, sparkles, brooch-like things, etc because they will consider it a costume. I know it's dumb but you need to be aware. (I was once asked to change in the middle of a comp out of a dress I had bought in a regular store.)

Strapless bra w/ clear straps
Underwear (black if you have a black skirt, red if you have a red dress, etc... it's IMPT!) Pantyhose without a leg line (if your skirt lifts when you turn it will look bad otherwise)

Other stuff:
Hair needs to be moused back, preferably into a bun; good idea to wear something sparkly/bright like a flower or...

Yes, you really do need to wear it; eye shadow, mascara, blush (even I wear blush and I am red anyway ;-), lipstick.
Sparkly earrings: NO necklaces or rings that will get in the way

This is about looking like the dance musicals from back when movies were just starting to be made.
A flow-y top (not a camisole, tank-top, skin tight shirt, etc)... if need be I have scarves you can pin on; believe me it looks good.
A flow-y skirt; it HAS to MOVE! (No prom dresses for instance) If you need a skirt, I have more that have been lent to me (black, navy blue,

A skirt above the knee that moves (no tight miniskirts for instance). You can either get a colorful latin-style top and wear it with a black skirt, or wear a dress. As long as the skirt moves to accentuate hip action, and it is a bright color!
I have a lot of latin skirts so you can bring me any nice tops you have and I'll lend you a skirt for now.

Please let me know if you have questions. I just wanted to send this out since some people are still unsure of what they should be looking for.

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