DO’s and DON’Ts on Competition Day

Every competition day is nerve-wracking. You have worked for one single day for months, and you don’t want to blow it at the last moment. 

To make your job slightly easier, we’ve compiled a short list of things you have to make sure you keep in mind the day of the competition.


1. Have everything ready the night before

If you’re anything like me, you’re doing everything at the last minute. Unfortunately, being late or forgetting important stuff is a big no-no. You can never prevent stuff from happening that it’s not in your power, for example, the traffic. 

That’s why when it comes to competition day, I suck it up and finish my backpack and everything else the night before so that the morning goes as smoothly as possible. This way I prevent a mad scramble on the day itself. To help you on that, have a checklist with all the the things you need: equipment, make-up, food, water etc.

2. Focus on the competition

Part of the mistakes, the defeats and the failures in dancesport, come from the difficulty to keep focus during the competition. You need to concentrate and avoid having distracting stimuli such as negative thoughts, or people who annoy you and make you more nervous.

As competition requires very quick decisions, it’s specifically important that your head is exclusively focused on what you have to do. This way you can make the right decisions and get a good performance. 

To achieve this, think about your goals. You must have clear objectives for each competition. They should refer to your performance, not your results. Work with your teacher and partner beforehand to define objectives that allow you to give your best in the competition. When you have bad feelings or inadequate thoughts, focus on your goals, remember the plan you set before competing.

3. Take the pressure off and enjoy the dance

You have trained a lot and it’s not the time to give up without putting up a good fight – it’s time to enjoy what you’ve worked for. 

When you identify stressful situations, remember similar situations that happened to you in the past and that you have surpassed, and how much you enjoyed getting it right in the end. And more than that, remember what are your reasons to compete: you are there to dance and feel the thrill and the adrenaline of competing.

4. Apply appropriate makeup

As we’ve discussed in a previous blog post, the makeup look for a dancer, it’s certainly different from what you’d be wearing every day or on a night out. 

As a dancer, you have to stand out in the crowd. With the help of makeup you can give more structure to the face and highlight certain areas. I recommend consulting a makeup artist who can give you tips on how to best accentuate your features.


1. Get to know your dress and your shoes

Before you go to the competition, make sure to try on your new dress and make sure you have one or two dance practices in it. Like this, you will find out if there is some fixing-up to do. Also, you’ll get to see how the dress moves around you and how you can play with it!

It goes the same for the men’s costumes – you will be able to check the fitting.

It’s also very important to have at least 5 to 10 practices with your new shoes in order to make sure that on competition day your shoes won’t become your worst enemy. We all know how new shoes give us blisters and how painful they can be!

2. Stay away from new types of food

By no means, try new food on competition day. You’ll thank me later. The problem here is that you have no idea how your body will react to something. You don’t know for sure what can upset your stomach and how your organism will react to specific ingredients, maybe they will bloat you, or make you feel sick, cause you nausea etc. It’s a no-brainer: the competition day is not the day to try new food, stick to what you know!

Above all, don’t stress too much about food, just eat really well the day before and make sure not to eat too close to the time you are going to dance.

3. Never, never compare yourself to others

The comparison will drive you crazy and make you anxious. Don’t let your attention drift to anyone or anything other than yourself and your partner! Everyone else is also doing their own thing. You are your biggest rival, and you need to focus on what you can control: yourself, and your own performance. 

Everyone has their own strengths, and your goal is to bring to the table the best you’ve got. If you’ve seen The GrandSlam Latin Hong Kong, you’ve noticed that some pairs even interact with each other on the dancefloor, for example Anna and Goffredo with Armen and Svetlana. 

Some of your friends or people you admire are in the backstage, enjoy it, have a small chat with them if you find time before the finals. You never know what friendships might surface.

4. Don’t let your nerves get the best of you

In times of stress, your nerves are raging: “I cannot do it right”, “Today is not the day”, “I will never achieve what they expect from me”.  

Any of the above questionings can cause tension, both in your muscles and in your head. This causes a drop in your performance, either because your body is not 100% ready to compete or because it is affected by these emotions. Far from helping, these questions increase tension, worsening your performance and creating a dangerous circle.

Any dancer who gets carried away by their emotions will be affected in their performance and their concentration. It is important to control the nerves at critical times and not allow negative emotions to appear. Handle them, withdraw them and rather, seek and let the positive emotions flow.

Competing is not just giving everything you have. It also means to do it intelligently, taking care of yourself, showing up fresh faced and leaving there with great memories. The next day think, analyze each moment of the competition, value how you feel about the competition and where your difficulties may be. Look for the means to handle problems and do not let them take you down.


Find the author on:

Dancing has been my passion since I was 13 and since then I've been doing things in that direction. Writing, creating and putting together the biggest community for dancers around the world!

Tags: competition day food makeup pressure

Get Tips & Tricks every Week!

Join our newsletter and get news in your inbox every week! We hate spam too, so no worries about this.