unique7540july13-resizedMost To-Do Lists consist of what to remember to pack and how many repetitions of each exercise to complete. We’ve compiled a short list to make you mentally ready for the dance floor.

Get acclimated- If you have the opportunity to get out on the dance floor either with your partner or for a social dance before your heat, do it. Getting used to the new surroundings will make you feel more at ease. Maneuver the traffic of the floor and feel the buzz of the room. Becoming part of the buzz rather than an observer you will get in sync with your partner, the music and the people around you.

Breathe- A two minute heat is a long time to hold your breath! Practicing calm breathing while in line up will help calm your nerve. It is easy to speed up your routines when you get nervous; concentrate on your breathing and you will find yourself more grounded and in sync with the music.

Let go of your mistakes- The more you think about a mistake, the more you will make. Break the cycle and let go. Things happen, let your partner help you pick up where you are in the routine and remember to smile. This isn’t the Olympics, the judges don’t have a list of every trick you are going to do in your routine, only you and your partner know. Keep a smile and the show will go on (and probably no one will even notice).

Watch other Dancers when you aren’t dancing- There are few opportunities in life where you can learn as much by watching as you do by doing. Dance competition is one of those times. Take this time to pick out a dancer or two that you admire and try to figure out what it is that you love about their dancing. Is it their arm styling, musicality, the speed of their feet? Use this information to help your teacher guide you towards your dancing goals. If it is a pro dancer you are admiring you might even be able to get a coaching lesson with them!

Forget the placement, focus on the feedback- As in every competition, there is only 1 First Place. You might be a reigning champ, have an off-night and come home second place. Maybe you did everything you were supposed to perfectly and the judges just happened to score the other team a little higher based on what they saw during the moments they saw them. Judges are highly trained, but there is no playback footage and they only have a limited time to look at every couple. Don’t let a placement reduce the quality of your progress. Schedule time with your teacher and a coach to go over your feedback objectively so that you can look at where you excelled and where you have opportunities to improve. Sometimes when we make a mistake it is a symptom of something else that happened first that you may not have noticed. Enjoy your accomplishments and that you went out there and gave it your all. Your friends are probably very jealous that you have the confidence to get there in the first place!