Joel and Clara Marasigan

5 Steps to a Successful Competition


With the Snowball Classic coming up this weekend, I thought it might be useful to remind experienced competitors and inform you new competitors how to make your competition a successful experience.  Here are 5 Steps to ensure success!

5 Steps to a Successful Competition

  1. checklistPrepare your things. – Nothing is worse than arriving at the venue and discovering last-minute that your skirt or tie is missing!  Get your stuff together at least the evening before the competition.  That way, if anything needs last-minute cleaning or purchasing, you still have time to do it before the day of the event.  Here’s a link to my Competition Checklist that was published back in April.  Make sure you have everything together, packed and ready-to-go, so that you have one less thing to be nervous about on the day of the event.
  2. Allow yourself lots of time. – Get to the venue early.  You should arrive at least 2 hours before your event is scheduled to run, especially if it’s your first-ever competition.  Remember: events can run ahead of schedule, so you need to be ready and waiting to dance at least 30 minutes before your event.If you live quite a distance away from the venue, map out where you are going and find out exactly where the parking is.  Allow extra time for traffic or road closures.  Get there early enough, because you still need to register, find the changing rooms, get your number, go through a DSBC dress-code check, find the marshalling area and warm-up with your partner.  If you feel rushed and panicky through this whole process, it will surely have a negative affect on your dancing.
  3. Get in the mood. – Make sure that both you and your partner enter the ballroom at least an hour before your event.  Soak in the atmosphere and get yourselves into a calm state of mind.  It’s tough, but you must try and block out the distractions, even as the judges are watching and competitors are whizzing around the ballroom floor.Before even arriving at the venue, many competitors will start getting into the mood at home.  Joel and I would always start the morning by playing ballroom music in the background, visualizing the venue with bright lights, risers full of people and judges on the edge of the floor, as we got our hair and makeup ready for the competition.  This always helped to get ourselves in the mood and make the transition into this completely different environment (that we’re not used to practicing in) a much easier and less shocking experience.

    Here is a link to my Distraction blog, which will also give you some helpful hints in getting yourself mentally prepared and keeping your nerves at bay.

  4. Warm up. – When do you usually dance your best during practice?  I doubt that it’s during the first swing of the day.  Usually, you dance a lot better after warming up your own bodies, and after getting used to the connection between you and your partner.  Don’t let your first dance of the day be during the actual event.  Get onto the dance floor with your partner during the allotted warm-up sessions or during general dancing.  A new venue means a different consistency and different size of the floor, and that’s not something that you want to be surprised with when you’re trying to be at your best during your competition.snowball09
  5. Breathe, Smile and Enjoy. – Nothing is worse than seeing a couple on the floor look all tense and unable to relax.  If you remember to breathe and smile, the judges, audience and your friends will enjoy your performance so much more.  Not only them, but more importantly, YOU will enjoy competing more… and that, in my mind, is the greatest success of all!

The overall key is to BE PREPARED!!!  The more prepared and organized you and your partner are, the more successful you will be during your competition!

If you’re not competing this weekend, come out and watch one of the biggest ballroom events of the year!  Snowball Classic: January 22-24 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Downtown Vancouver.  For more information about the event, visit

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