Dance-O-Rama is almost finally here! You’re all signed up, the big day is approaching, then all of a sudden, these terrible thoughts pop into your head and panic sets in. Oh no! Luckily, we’ve heard them all before and know how to demystify them as quickly as they appear. Here are 5 myths we tell ourselves before Dance-O-Rama:
Myth #1: “I’m not ready”
It’s really easy to get trapped into this one. Like with anything else in life that takes you outside your comfort zone, it’s perfectly normal to feel this way. The truth is, you never feel ready. You prepare weeks, months, sometimes a year ahead of time, and when the clock runs out, there is that feeling again.
It’s normal to get nervous, excited, and doubt your ability, especially when it’s something that’s important to you. The fact is, you’ve come such a long way since your last event, which means you are already a better dancer than the last time you got on the floor.
Myth #2: “I’m dancing too many entries”
There’s no such thing! There is a reason for every single recommendation your teacher makes and at Unique Dance-O-Rama, you are lucky enough to get 3 days of dancing. With 72 entries, that’s only 24 entries per day, which comes out to about 36 minutes of actual dancing each day.
Most students do way more than that at a weekly studio party (usually 45-90 minutes without stopping). Your teachers biggest priority is you having the best experience possible and that’s just one reason why they recommend the amount entries they did.
Myth #3: “I don’t have a costume (or a new one)”
It’s a common misconception that you absolutely have to have a costume to go to a Dance-O-Rama or that you need a new one every time. This is totally not true! The most important thing that the judges look at while you’re dancing is, well, your dancing. Costumes were created to show off the movement and be comfortable while you are moving but are not what’s going to make you a better dancer. Even the most beautiful gown in the world could not cover up bad technique.
There is no doubt costumes are beautiful, but they are also a big investment. Like cars, they require financial commitment, need to be maintained, and have regular wear and tear; however, as long as they are well taken care of, they can last a really long time. Besides, every time you wear them, you get more value for your purchase as the cost per wear decreases.
Thinking you need a new one because you’ve already worn your current one a few times? Never feel pressured to purchase a new costume for the sake of style. While every day styles change constantly, dance costumes can last up to several years. It’s a common delusion to think people are saying, “Oh no, she’s wearing that costume, again?” First of all, don’t you want to make an impression on the judges and the people watching? You want them to remember you and having a costume for people to recognize you in will do just that. Odds are, they are actually thinking, “Oh great! It’s the guy with the cool costume with the stripes. I love this guy’s dancing. Look at how much he’s improved.”
Myth #4: “I don’t want to disappoint my teacher.”
Out of all people, your instructor is the most proud of you. They’ve been by your side through the entire process, day by day leading up to the event. You’re improvement has been massive and there is no way you could possibly disappoint them.
Their goal for you has already been accomplished, which is the progress leading up to the event. The actual event itself is all about having fun and enjoying yourself. Even if you forget all your routines the day of, your instructor would still be proud of all your hard work and the new level you have achieved in your dancing.
Myth #5: “I’m not a competitor. This event isn’t for me.”
Is Dance-O-Rama technically a competition? Yes. Does it have to be? No. This is precisely why we often call these “Dance Vacations”. You get to go to a fun city, dress up and dance in a beautiful ballroom, and spend time basking in a community of people who have a shared interest for ballroom dancing. For students who are looking for heavy competition, that’s why we have the All-Around and Scholarship competitions. During these events, couples are called back each round until the top students in each category are chosen and placed.
For students who just want to enjoy the dancing and not worry about placements, the regular heats are a perfect match. While you are, technically, given a placement in each heat, who says you even have to look at your results? For many people, the progress they feel and the experience itself are worth so much more than seeing the actual markings from dance to dance, especially because you aren’t even compared to every other dancer in the room.
Not to mention, Dance-O-Rama’s are pretty much the farthest thing from a stuffy ballroom competition. They are much more like a college basketball game who’s home team is in the lead, all weekend long. People are cheering, there are mascots and signs, chatter in the line-up area, sideline dances happening around the floor, and an overall feeling of “We got this!” in the ballroom.
Whether it’s your first time or your 25th time, going to a Dance-O-Rama can bring up all kinds of emotions, good and bad. It’s completely normal to feel both nervous and excited all at the same time (even the pros feel that way, believe it or not). Just remember the reason why you are there to begin with. For some, it’s to feel a sense of accomplishment and achievement, for others, it’s the adrenaline rush they get dancing in front of other people, some people use it as an outlet for expression, and for some it’s sharing new experiences with their Arthur Murray family.
Whatever your reason, the list is endless and when you go to a Dance-O-Rama, everyone wants everyone to have a great time. We’re all in this together, just remember to smile and have fun.