Collegiate Experience Continued

Hi everyone! In this post I am going to talk a little bit more about my collegiate experience. You can go here to see the first post I did on Stef’s blog. This one will give a bit more detail as that was an over view of my four years of competiting and being on the team.

From what I understand, because I have yet to have first hand experience, is that the real world of ballroom dancing is completely different from the collegiate side. You don’t have a team routing for your number, you don’t travel with 50 people and get stuck sharing a hotel room (or a dorm room floor) with a few of your other team mates, and you don’t have your registration handled for you (at least concerning the am/am dancers). In the collegiate world you have all this and more.

I have been told the collegiate setting is probably one of the best experiences in ballroom dancing you can have. Things are much cheeper and you have an entire team supporting you, from low level newbies, to Amatuer National Finalists. And I would have to agree. Learning in the collegiate setting is amazing. I was able to go from newbie to gold in 3 years, and now I am competiting at the Open Level. I feel very lucky that I was able to find amazing coaches at decent prices, while everyonce and a while being able to slurge on a professional lesson with my partner.

There is also a real sense of team bonding that happens. I mean, how can it not when you are stuck on a bus with these people for a total of 16-20hrs for an entire weekend? When you compete on a team, you sort of become a family, and in my early years of competiting that was exactly what I needed. I am a comuter student to my school. I live about 15minutes away, and if I hadn’t found ballroom, I would just be sitting at home most afternoon and days without very many friends. On the team, you see people everyday (or almost everyday) in your designated practice space (in our case a non-airconditioned volleyball gym), and talk and teach and dance with each other. I was able to make friends and connections that I couldn’t have outside of ballroom because I just didn’t live on campus with all these people.

Though, now as I become a higher level dancer, it becomes harder to be in the collegiate setting. I definately want more freedom in the competitions I choose now, how I want to travel, and where I want to stay. Maybe it is also a factor of that I am getting older to and will graduate in less than a year (11 months!!!). But I am definately pickier than I used to be. I also want to be able to practice when I want, and in a climate controlled room. It’s great that the university gives our team free space on campus to use, but it’s usually at times that are either too early in the day for me and my partner, or too late at night when we are both pooped.

Even with all my recent complaints, and the need to distance myself from the collegiate world, I still think it is an amazing place to start dancing, if you haven’t started already when you were like 5. I believe that even if you just have a smidgen of an inkling that you think you might someday want to learn to dance, and you are in college, freaking go for it. Classes are usually, if not always, free to beginners and you will have a great time learning and making friends who may or may not be in your major. (I am the weird studio art odd ball on my team being surrounded by engineers and comp sci majors.) And the best part? If you found out you don’t like it, at least you didn’t spend $20 bucks on a group lesson at a studio. And if you did like it, you will gain so much knowledge and have a hobby for life.

All the Sparkles

Hello Everyone! Sorry for this post being so late, this past holiday season has been a little crazy.

So the topic of this weeks post has to do with sparkles, more specifically ballroom dance costumes and when they should be allowed and when they shouldn’t. Now before I step into this someone volatile territory, I will say this: it has nothing to do with judges marks or being seen. That has been argued and I have heard judges and professionals give their opinions. I will let them debate that topic, because they only know what goes on in their heads. In the current trend a lot of syllabus dancers (newcomer through gold) in the collegiate community are starting the wear costumes.

However, I believe that costumes should be reserved for those who have made it in to the open levels of dancing. These levels include Novice, Pre-Championship, and Championship (and of course professional). Now I know I’m going to get a lot of flack for this be hear me out, and remember this is one lowly dancer’s opinion. The reasons I believe that costumes should be reserved for these levels are that many times syllabus dancers aren’t ready to dance in them, and that it is a right of passage of sorts.

The first reason I will address is that many lower level dancers aren’t necessarily ready to wear these goureous gowns. What I mean when I say this is that the gown in a lot of ways can overshadow the dancer. Syllabus dancers, for many reasons, do not have all the proper technique down. And that’s completely fine. There is nothing wrong with that state of being. In fact it’s a good thing, because that means you are dancing at the correct level. Syllabus dancer’s focus should be on learning and improving their techinque on frame, movement, cleanliness, and musicalilty. However, the dresses you see a lot of open dancers wear require a dancer to have a very good understanding of the tenique behind the style to make the dress function as it should. For one, these dresses tend to be much heavier than their plain, syllabus counter parts. First of all, they are covered in rhinestones. And who would think that those little shinies would be so heavy, but when you have a at least 10 gross (1400 stones), which is a minimum for most dresses, it can add a lot of extra weight. Also, at least in a dress that is built for the International Ballroom style of dance, the skirts tend to be much heavier as they have many layers built into them to give them volume. This extra weight requires a dancer to be able to move more to create the same amount of movement in the costume dress than in the basic dress. More movement comes from understanding what standing leg is and how to apply it and use it to move across the floor. The concept of standing leg is not only very hard for lower level dancers to grasp, but it also takes a long time to reach your standing leg’s full potential. I’m still working on making my stride long and powerful! If you don’t have standing leg down, then the dress will not have that nice swoosh to it has you dance and will look rather limp. 😦

Secondly, (some of) these dresses have things dangling of the arms, whether it be large swatches of cloth, ribbons, or balls of feathers attached to chains or ribbons (yikes!). These things are usually called floats or wings and have many variations and styles. Just like the heavy skirts, floats need lots of movement from the dancer to enhance your dancing. Otherwise, they will just hang limply by your sides. This will enhance the fact that you do not have a lot of movement to begin with and could possibly hurt your scores.

My second reason for not liking syllabus dancers wearing open level costumes is that I believe you have to earn them. They are a right of passage. They say, hey you have worked this hard and achieved so much, go wild! It’s one more thing for a dancer to look forward to and work towards when they are in the lower ranks of syllabus. Sure, awesome open level choreography is incentive too, however in no competition I have been to do they allow anyone dancing in newcomer through gold break syllabus. I feel dresses (and tailsuits for that matter) should be the same way.

Let me know in the comment section below if you agree or disagree with my ideas about costumes and whether they should be allowed in the syllabus levels! I would love to hear your ideas!

Wedding Dance

Hello! As you probably guessed, today I’m going to discuss the first dance of the couple at their wedding. This is one of those things on that long check list you have of things to do, pick the flower, buy the dress, organizing venue, schedule lessons for dance. Wait? LessonS? Meaning multiple? What? I can’t just pick up a routine in one lesson? I need more?

Ok maybe this in an exaggeration of your reaction. But yes you do need more than one lesson to get even the simplest routine down. So if you plan to more than just swaying on that dance floo r(which is totally cool too 😀 ) than here are some suggestions to make that dreaded part of the wedding something to look forward to.

1) Give yourself at least 2 months! Please don’t call up a studio or your dancer friends 2 weeks before you wedding asking them to come up for a full fledge, dance with the stars like routine in that amount of time. It takes a while to develop up the muscle memory for a routine of any caliber. With that amount of time, the studio or your very nice dancer friends can only come up with the most simplest routine that can be repeated over and over until the song you picked is over. The more time you give yourself, the more comfortable you will feel when the time comes to dance, and you can have more complex routine if that’s what you really want.

2) Have an idea of what you want to do! Now you don’t have to know what specific dance in mind, or even a specific song. Those things help tremendously to get started right in a routine, but they are not necessary. What you need is an idea of what genera of music you want to use, or if you want to do a dance within a specific style, like maybe a foxtrot or waltz. This will trim down the options for you and your teacher to pick from and will make the selection process easier. Instead of having a “I don’t know what I want” attitude, bring something to the table. This is your dance after all. You instructor can only do so much for you. It literally can be anything. Your instructor will be able adapt to most any song/genre you can bring to the table.

3) Take more than one lesson! You may be able to sit down with your instructor to come up with the routine in one lessons, but it may take a few more to fully understand all the moves and how they connect together. It also gives you guidence on how to fix the more difficult parts of your routine. Your teacher is there to help you learn it, and is more than willing to help you through it all.

4) Practice, practice, practice! No one wants to be that awkward dancing couple on the floor than forgets their routine half way through the song. Just like public speaking, you get more comfortable with the moves the more you practice them. There are many ways to practice your routine. One way is to physically go to the studio, plug in some head phones, and dance it through all the way. Another is to just listen to the music and just feel it (which shouldn’t be a burden because it should be something you like!). Lastly, you can just run the steps through in your head, and visualize the routine, if you can’t make it to the studio. These are all different ways that you can “practice” your dance. Anything that makes you more familiar with it will help!

5) MOST IMPORTANTLY HAVE FUN! I can’t stress this enough. This you and your significant other’s day. It’s all about you, and it should be fun. No one will care if you didn’t do a perfect natural turn or lock step. People will most likely remember if you look confident and happy or if you looked stiff and nervous the entire time. I know which one I would like to be remembered by. 🙂

I hope these tips help!

Class Update

Hello all!

So the semester is winding down (only one week to go before finals) and I though I would give you an overall update of what’s been going on.

In painting we have been working on our final two. The first is a 24x36in canvas and it could be whatever we wanted it to be. So I chose dancing (of course). It took me WEEKS to figure out what to paint. I probably went through 10(!) different sketches until finally my professor let me start working with my canvas. Here is the painting so far:

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It’s an abstraction of a develope. It’s a high extended leg position that you develop (here’s your ooo moment) over a certain measure of beats. I still have a lot to work on. During critique the major issue was I need to be more loose and really let my paint brush dance across the canvas… We shall see how that goes.

Our second painting also could be whatever we wanted. In this past week, I’ve been working on a few sketches of it. Here are my two sketches:

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The basic idea is dancers on a dance floor. The size of the canvas will be 36x48inchs! Crazy big but I think it will work well with this idea. The top sketch is the first one I painted. I just wanted to get my basic idea across. I did one other that I am not showing here that does not reach the boards of the paper (like the first one), but where the brushstrokes and colors are more defined, like the bottom one. Now my professor pulled me aside and said he really like the concept but wanted to show me how different the feel would be with clear boarders. The sketch became more than just the paint, and the experience of the paint. The layers of color became more defined and the boarders added more depth to the painting, which I enjoyed. This led me to my third and final sketch (the bottom image). I really do look forward to painting this next week.

In digital media we created a magazine of our artwork. We had to make a front cover, a back cover, and an interior. For the covers we had to use Illustrator.  We had to make the front and the back covers really pop, and show our use of Illustrator. They could not be basic. They also had to be cohesive with each other. For the interior we used InDesign. We came up with our own artist statements and added photographs of our work thus far. I used a lot of my photography, and a few pieces from my casting and painting class. This has been my favorite project thus far. Unfortunately I do not have any picutres of it. We also just completed our animation project, which I disliked even more than our photoshop projects. We are currently working on our websites using Dreamweaver. I’m not in love with this project either, but such is life.

In photography, I have been focusing my efforts on ballroom dancing. I photographed our comepition, DCDI, on a 3200 speed roll. Here are a few pictures from that:

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As you maybe able to tell, this film has a lot more grain to it, which gives it an almost darker quality to the prints. I really like this feel and I think I’m going to use this speed film for all competitions from here on out. It also allows to shoot in lower light situations which is great for competitions.

I have also focused on getting some of the members of my club to let me take pictures of their practice and classes. I am still working on printing those, but I hope to have more completed next week.

That’s all I have for today! Until next time, check out my facebook page and indiegogo campaign to see more of my work and to learn about what I am currently working on!

 

Healthy Mind

When it comes to any type of career or hobby that is subjective, it is very easy to slip into a bad state of mind. Take competitive ballroom as an example. You practice, take lessons, buy the proper attire, do you hair and make up, in order to please a 4-6 judges to make it to the final, if not first place. Almost everything a serious competitive dancer does it to please someone else. I can just hear some of them now saying “No, I only do this for myself, it’s fun!” Say that to me with a straight face a long with the phrase “I really don’t care about my placement.” This this sport, as with many other artistic sports, we are looking for that stamp of approval from an outside source to say that we are doing everything right, or that we are improving. The problem with this sort of attitude it can lead down a terrible path inside the mind that could lead to a breakdown. And no one wants that.

There is a real problem with having your only self-worth coming from an outside source. Maybe you only have this attitude for dancing, but it still isn’t healthy. You need to have confidence in your own dancing first, before anyone else can boost it. Now I’m not saying this because I have it all figured out… Please, I’m a college student whose job is to please people to earn good grades. Even when it comes to dance sometimes I even forget this concept, and rely on judges marks to affirm my dancing self-worth. I’m saying this so that we can work together on keeping our minds and body happy. There are so many factors that go into judging you on the floor. First, judges at most only have about 3 seconds to look at you. 3 seconds. They don’t see all the hard work you put into your dancing. They don’t see all the coaching sessions you’ve done. They didn’t see your amazing practice rounds this past week. They only see those three seconds of dancing, and it better be a good three seconds if you want that callback.

But like I have been saying all throughout this post, getting called-back isn’t the end all and be all of dancing. You have to realize that, no matter the call backs, you have done well. You have improved. It is very unlikely that you haven’t improved. As long as you have taken lessons, private or group, and you have practiced what you have learned in those lessons, you are making progressed. You have improved from day one. Just take a look at your old dance videos. Cringe worthy yes, but they will give you perspective and let you know that you have improved. Also talking to your coach can give you some perspective. They can tell you what you did right, and what you did wrong at the competition. More likely then not, they will say that yes you did this and this wrong and you could have done this better, but these other things you still did really well.

Although we do this crazy competitive sport to win, we also do this because we like it. If you don’t like it, you shouldn’t be on the floor. Just remember that knowing that you are improving, and that you enjoy dancing is what really matters in this game. It’s not the ribbons, or the satisfaction of someone else putting their stamp of approval on your dancing. Those things are nice. But in the end it’s your how you view your dancing is what really matters. As long as you feel like you are improving and getting somewhere that’s what counts.

Photography: Post Midterm

Alright, lots of printing has happened over the last few weeks. I have a few things to show you. First and for most is the quality of light photo project. This one stumped me, as it was hard for me to come up with different aways to create different lighting schemes. It wasn’t until the last few shots I really felt that I got into my grove, which really made me sad. It wasn’t until I found reflections in puddles after some rain that I found some really cool compositions. Here are the two she wanted me to print.

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We also had a mini class discussion with her about some of us, including me, having a hard time shooting a roll a week. Within the projects we had, many of us had a hard time finding inspiration. She gave us two solutions to this problem. Her first solution was to let us start shooting subject matter that we want for the rest of the semester. For some people that’s portraiture. For other’s it’s completely forgetting about film and working on digital photography. For me, it’s ballroom dance. My rolls for the remainder of the semester will consist of dancers. Whether they be practicing, competing, or getting ready for competing, I will be taking their photos. Finally something I will enjoy. Though I will not be without my challenges. Studios, ballrooms, and the gym we practice in all have a lighting issue. So having a high enough shutter speed to capture good action shots maybe prove to be difficult.

The second solution was to go out during one class and do a mini shooting workshop around campus. Many people were having a hard time finding inspiration in around campus place that we walk around day in and day out. So she took her camera, and took us around to show us what we were missing. She showed us this really cool area where it was a courtyard which would lend itself to fashion photography. We also went to some warehouse type places to show us that even in the most unlikely places we could find interesting things to shoot, or interesting environments to shoot portraits in. Unfortunately, I did not get to take a lot of photos as I was helping out our teacher with her equipment. I think this was a great experience for all of us. It opened our eyes to what makes a good photography, and the process of getting that good photograph. It was much easier to adjust the angles that day as we were using her digital camera, and had instant feedback of what the picture looked like. You aren’t so fortunate in film. You have no clue how that picture is going to come out until you take the time to develop the roll, create a contact sheet, and print the picture.

Lastly, we had our midterm review on Monday. It went less then stellar. We found out as a class, we kinda suck at created good compositions. We also suck at picking out good photos out of our current portfolios. We also learned that we are putting way too much pressure on ourself with this class. She really does not care how we fulfill the project guidelines in terms of content, but as long as we shoot at least one roll of film per week. I am so glad I can finally focus completely on ballroom and dancesport photography. I also spoke with her and she has agreed to teach me how to use my fancy flash, as studios and ballrooms have very bad lighting. Hopefully I can get better, crisper action shots with the flash.

That’s all I have for now for photography. I have 2 rolls which I plan to develop this week, and 3 contact sheets to print. I’ve got a very busy week ahead of me for photography. See you next week!

Second Best Advice I Can Give

Now my first bit of advice mostly applied to newbies; however, this bit of advice applies to all dancers as we all tend to forget this. It goes a little something like this. “If you don’t have it now, you won’t get it by comp time this weekend.” Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever stop practicing new figures, techniques, and frames. But you just need to refocus your priorities. When a competition is right around the conorn, there is no way you are gong to master that new double reverse spin turn that you learned last week in time for it to be competition ready. For those of you who might not be aware, it takes at least six (6!) months to develope muscle memory. This is why cramming before a ballroom comepition will not work! Instead it will almost always will hinder your proformance, rather than inhance it.

What you should focus on primarily during competition week is your current routines. Practice them over and over and over. To music, without music. In competition order. In solo rounds, in multi rounds. With other people on the floor, without people on the floor. Just keep doing your routines. This will get you ready for that quickly approaching competition weekend. This will help for a number of reasons. 1) you will be ready to dance your routine and given music. There will be no surprises. 2) You will get used to surprises that  might happen at a comp, as in they have to switch events around for schedule reason. 3) You get used to the how many times your should routine will loop during those 90seconds of music (though things like floor craft issues my pop up). 4) You can practice your floorcraft, so you become more comfortable when sticky situations arise (cuz they will). 5) Endurance. The more you dance and the more dances you will be able to do in a row during practice, will better prepare you for doing multiple rounds form, hopefully, mulitple call backs.

In short do rounds, ALL THE ROUNDS! And save the thechinque until after the competition. Also make sure you get videos of your dancing at the comepetion as your coach may see something that you should start working on to make your dancing better for the next comp.

That is all I have for now. Good Luck to all of those competiting this weekend, especially those at DCDI. I, sadly, will not be dancing. I will be there chearing on my team mates (and my newbies!) and any other dancers I enjoy watching. Feel free to stop by and say hi! I will be the nervous person giving a speach Saturday Night during the night show… Please feel free to comment below for anymore advice you have for dancers of all levels!

As for a my art, my next few posts will be all about my different classes and what I have been up to. I need to photograph/scan some of my work in so that I can upload it to wordpress to share.

The Best Advice I Can Give

Hello all, I know I didn’t post on Thursday, bad me, but I didn’t come up with inspiration until today. This goes out to all the newbies that will compete their very first competition really soon, or those who have competed already once but still feel incredibly nervouse. As for you advanced dancers, stick around. This post will help give you a bit of persepective, I hope.

The best advice I can give for those newbies struggling to feel prepared for their competition is that Rome was not built in a day. Now before you start shouting at me about that being a cliche, just stop and think about it. It is completely true. The Roman Empire lasted for 16 centuries! Now we all know how long and how much the Emperors struggled to expand their empire from the small city states that now are called Italy, all the way out to the Anglo-Saxon Britain and the Bysantine West. It took all those centuries to become a great, unforgettable Empire. It took a lot of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears (mainly from the conqured tribes I’m sure) to make the Roman Empire strong and powerful.

Now you may be asking me, ok so what does Nero have to do with Samba? Well, that becoming an amazing dancer takes more than one day, or three months in the case of many of you. Not to say you haven’t come far in the past three months, because you have. You have learned 6 routines, in the case of the newbies I’ve thaught, to compete in two styles. You can get around the floor and turn corners in standard, and you can do many turning figures to allow your number been seen by as many judges as possible. Be proud of what you have accomplished; yet, remember that you still have an amazing, and yes long, journey a head of you.

Unlike the Roman empire, it will not take centuries for you to become beautiful amazing dancers you see on youtube videos. Or I hope not, or else we all have a very serious problem. Instead it could take a few years before your mind and body can learn and apply all the techinque and figures to make you an amazing, high level amatuer, give or take a few years. Do not be scared or sad though. As long as you have the drive, and you invest time, and yes money, into your dancing you will get there. You will be able to achieve most, if not all of your dancing goals. And enjoy the ride, I know I have.

Newbies, if you are really terrified about looking like the worst person on that floor, look at newbie rounds from years past at competitions. Advance dancers, if you belong to a team, please pull up some videos from your past and share them with your newbies. Yes I’m looking at you. Stop cringing at me. I know the feeling. Just close your eyes and share, and run away from the computer for a few days. It sucks, and that’s ok. But honestly, this will give the newcomers a bit more confidence to know the older, veteran dancers sucked too. It is an eyeopener for them to see that they can become just like you one day, and that it’s not all about talent or sheer luck.

I recently did this, along with a bunch of other people on my team. And to be honest, I throuoghly enjoyed the experience. Not so much of looking at my old stuff, because seriously cringe!!! But because I got to see videos from way before my time, with some of my coaches in the newbie rounds. Most of these people I have only seen as prechamp or champ dancers. It gave me persepective to know that, yeah I could be them one day too, and I’m not too far off from acheiving my goals.

It has taken me three years to get where I am today in my dancing. I would not have traded the experiences I have gained from working towards my dance goals for somehow instantly being amazing. All the faults and missteps along the way have truly made me the dancer I am today, and without those experiences I believe I would be a worse dancer than I am right now. So hang in their kidos. Your journey has just started, and I promise you will get to that night show one of these days.

The Reality of Ballroom Dancing

Alright, I’m going to go on a warpath here about reality television, because lets be honest with ourselves: we all like to watch the drama. Rather, I would like to bring up a discussion that came up on a dance forum I love to kill the time with. Someone had started a thread about has reality tv shows like Dancing with the Stars really done anything good for the ballroom community. I think we  all agree it has. However, it does come with its drawbacks.

Now I do not know how many of you reading actually know what a ballroom competition looks like other than how it is portrayed on TV, so I am just going to assume you know little to nothing at all. One of the things us competitive ballroom dancers bemoan is when we get the question, “When will we see you on Dancing with the Stars.” For one thing, most if not all of us are not “stars.” So we are knocked out of that part of the show. For the other, many of us started late in life, either when we were in college or event some in their 50’s. This means that many of us will never become professional dancers, and for most of us that is not our goal anyway. So that knocks out out of the professional end of that show. So the short answer is no! Many of your ballroom dancing friends you will never see on that show.

So now you know you will never see you best friend on at least Dancing with the Stars. But most likely you still think that your friend dances in competitions that are set up very similarly to dancing with the stars. Again this is a no! Like most reality TV, competitive ballroom dancing looks nothing like the tv version. Usually your ballroom friend will be out on the floor, with tons of other couples and anywhere from 7-12 judges trying to recall lots and lots of dancers. Those judges do not have a full 1 minute and 30 seconds to watch your friend on the floor. At most they have about 5 seconds to make their decision and move on to the next couple.

Also they don’t get scored from 1-10. However, if a judge likes them, they get their number marked down on a sheet and if they get enough judges to mark them down they get a recall. Hopefully your friend is good enough to make it too the final. If they do, the judges will mark each couple from first to either sixth or seventh place, depending on how many couples are in the final.

Another huge difference is that they don’t spend one week learning a routine and then go out to perform it. Many couples spend weeks and months working on anywhere between 4-10 different routines depending on which style, or styles, they are dancing. Many couples also use the same routines for a few competitions, or even a years worth of competitions before they switch around their routines.

If you want to see what a typical ballroom competition, I would suggest taking a look at WBroth11’s channel on youtube. He has many ballroom competition videos in varying years and comps.

For now I think I will leave you with that. If you would like to read more about the differences (and some similarities) between competitive ballroom dancing and Dancing with the Stars, please let me know if the comments! Also put any questions in the comments as well. I will answer them the best I can!

Dance Levels

As I promised in my very first, this is a post about the different levels in ballroom dancing. First there is the distinction from Pro and Amateur. You either compete in an amateur division or in the Professional division. Within the professional division, there are two categories. There is the main Professional category and Rising Star category. Rising star, as I understand it, is basically the stepping stone between amateur and professional. These are couples who have just announced their professional standing but aren’t quite ready to play with the big boys yet.

In the amateur division there are two main categories: Open and Syllabus. The Syllabus category has 4 to 5 levels within it depending on the competition. These levels are Newcomer, Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Each level as a set of moves for each dance which the dancer is allowed to dance; hence the name syllabus. Every time the couples moves through a level, the more dance moves they have available. Yet this comes with a price. In competition, not only are you allowed to execute more difficult moves, but you are expected to have more advanced technique under your belt. You are pushed to be a better dancer. In newcomer, judges are just looking for an upright couple that is on time and smiling. However, judges are looking for big frames, more fluid and large movement or hip action, and the hint of musicality from a couple dancing gold.

After a couple has mastered the syllabus and its techniques, a couple will move up to the Open levels. There are three levels within the Open category; Novice, Pre-championship and Championship. Even though the couple has mastered all the moves and technique in syllabus, there are many more moves and a ton more technique to learn within the Open levels. In novice, couples are just getting their first open routines. These include the “basics” of open, like pivots, step hops, and picture lines. These routines are much longer and much harder than any syllabus routine.

Here are some videos so you can see the difference:

Professional Foxtrot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rD-Ph2dv240

Amateur Champion Foxtrot:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODZpprFbrpE

Amateur Gold Foxtrot:

Amateur Newcomer Foxtrot: