You are preparing for your third dance competition this year, you have taken your coaching lessons, and you are feeling almost prepared. One more lesson, or three… and your nerves will be settled. Your teacher says, “You’ve been preparing so hard this week and I’m feeling a lot of progress. Instead of doing our lessons back to back tonight, I want you to practice at our studio dance tonight and then we will do our last lesson after.” What?! I need to practice where my little toe goes during our mambo freestyle, why would my teacher want me to go to a party instead?!
Enhance your dancing- You have probably memorized every syncopation in your cha cha routine and know where you are supposed to go regardless of where your partner is. He/she is a professional and will find you. But without waiting for the lead or feeling where your follower is, your dancing will not sync correctly. Practicing your lead/follow with multiple partners makes you more sensitive and a better partner! Certain moves will feel completely different dancing with someone else. For the men, if you can get ladies other than your teacher to follow your moves then you are doing great! (Disclaimer: Do not lead Silver moves on Newcomers. They are overwhelmed already.) For the ladies, practice waiting. You know your routines already, now is the time to see what your muscles will follow without trying to guess.
Community- Often the competitive dancers at a studio are busy taking lessons while others are at group class and miss out on meeting people that could potentially be great friends. Going to party allows you to meet people that you haven’t seen in the studio because they take lessons at a different time than you. Some of these people might be traveling to the same competitions and events as you and would be great travel companions. You may even encourage a newer student to start competing!
Build confidence in yourself and others- When you first walked through the studio doors, you might not have come in with the intention to compete. You probably wanted to become a well-rounded dancer who could dance with anyone. Maybe along the way you met someone in the studio that you really wanted to dance like or were slightly intimidated to dance with. You might be one of those people to someone in the studio. Dance with people who have less experience with you. They will remember you were kind to them as a beginner and as they improve they will continue to ask you to dance.
Get dressed up- Not your false eyelashes kind of dress up, but that cocktail dress or cool button down shirt that you’ve been waiting to wear. You might dress for comfort on your lessons because you know that your dance teacher is going to make you sweat, but this is probably what you are going to be wearing to that next social function you have at work or wedding you are going to attend. Test it out!
Have Fun- It is easy to get caught up in the artistry and technique of dancing on your private lessons, see how much your muscles really remember when you cut loose and get out on a crowded dance floor. Dancing is joyous and the more of it you do the better you will feel!