Hi guys, just wanted to give you a helping hand on preparing for your next competition. We are now in an era of our dance industry where we have come to realize that it’s not just about the physical ability of the dancer! With all the better understanding of history of competing, knowledge of body mechanics, and finding out how we can overcome the emotional pressure of putting our best performance on the floor, we have realized that it’s more of mind and body.

So here is a few ideas that you can think about to prepare yourself for a much more worthwhile product of dance.

We all have the lessons, teaching us many theories, fundamentals, new routines, and how to physically be better dancers and competitors, but it is so much more than this. It’s about having belief in yourselves, trusting you, your partner, and your product. So we have to change the way we approach our journey, putting into place certain criteria at certain times along the way.

Firstly we take the lessons!
As students we take the knowledge of the teacher or coach and here by is the first hurdle that we approach. From a teaching perspective we try to give as much information as possible in a short period of time, which may become confusing and too much to handle and make the student or couple less than. Try to balance the course of lessons in a specific way that you are only covering certain things at certain times. If your student/ couple has a program in place for a certain amount of lessons, break it down into groups:-
Mechanics of lower body
Mechanics of upper body
Arm usage
And teach these fundamentals as separately as possible, we know certain criteria can over lap but the brain can generally only think of one thing at a time.

As a couple, set out a calendar until your next competition, for example-
4 weeks-1 style-5 dances.
1st week- try to work on the major things that you’ve had problems with and try to correct them before moving on.
2nd week- each day work on a different fundamental listed above and try to find similarities from dance to dance.
3rd week- understand you’re routines separately.
4th week- this time is spent for stamina training (rounds) and performance. You must remember that this time is about feel good factor.(try not to correct or get to deep into anything)

We have to take into account the emotions and thoughts that run through our mind and how our subconscious works! Remember if anything goes wrong or you have a negative feeling about, you will take this to the competition and not feel secure in reproducing what you are capable of.

As students, be careful of practicing routines with the information given on the lessons. Try to use this time for exercise, and find out how you can implement it in different steps and dances. You don’t want to train something routine wise and get back to the lesson and find out you misunderstood the idea.

At a competition:-
Be aware of your surroundings, be conscious of your preparation and take notes.
Were you tired or energized
Were you on time or late to competition
Did you eat or not
What did you eat
Prepare your costumes well before, and make sure you dance in them in the studio
Make sure hair and make up gives you enough time
Were you in a good or bad mood
Get the videos
And only think of one principle to put on the floor which you have taken from your prep practice

Remember you have no control of anything else but your own dancing.
Reaction of audience
Other competitors
Etc etc

Also remember 2 phrases:-
Always try to produce an answer not a question with your dancing!
Always entertain don’t educate

Good luck, enjoy, have fun and learn from your experiences.

Martin is an experienced Technique Specialist, Competitive Trainer and Mind Coach for Professionals, Amateurs and Students, in addition to being a Lecturer, Choreographer and world-class Adjudicator. Martin has competed and taught all over the world, at every level of dance. He has officiated in National and Open Championships of New Zealand, Sweden, Italy, South Africa, USA, Canada, United Kingdom, British Open, USA Open, Austrian Open, International, European and World Cups, Japan International and Icelandic Open. He has demonstrated in UK, USA, Germany, France, Holland, Belgium Finland, Denmark, New Zealand, Iceland, China, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Japan, Indonesia, Austria, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Canada, and Singapore.

Holder of 14 Regional Championships in the UK 1987
British Open Amateur Latin Champion
United Kingdom Amateur Latin Champion
International Amateur Latin Champion
World Cup Amateur Latin Champion
Champion in: France, Hungary, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Canada, Holland 1988
British Open Professional Rising Star Latin Champion
Japan International Professional Latin Champion
Asian Open Professional Latin Champion
Winner of the BDF Len Scrivener Award for Top Professional Dancer
Finalist European Professional 10 Dance Championships 1989
4th World & European Professional 10 Dance Championships 1990
3rd European Professional 10 Dance Championships
4th World Professional 10 Dance Championships 1991
World Latin Professional Representatives
2nd World & European Professional 10 Dance Championships 1992
United Kingdom Professional 10 Dance Champion
European Professional 10 Dance Champion
2nd World Professional 10 Dance Championships 1993
World Professional 10 Dance Champion

Martin Lamb is part of the prestigious Fred Astaire Dance Studios International Dance Council, which oversees Dance Instructor training and certification, judges (Professional, Amateur, Pro/Am) at Regional, National & International Fred Astaire Dance Studio Dance Competition events, actively coaches our Students & Instructors in dance studio locations across our network, and continuously reviews our proprietary dance curriculum to ensure only the finest, most up-to-date programs for our Students. For more information on the Fred Astaire International Dance Council or any of its members, please contact us.


  • This is an extremely helpful and insightful post. We are very lucky to have coaches of Martin’s caliber offering us this advice. Please take advantage of this information and use it for your benefit. I am most definitely going to use information in this article. Thank you for sharing!

  • Thank you Annie, this can help all levels and is very simple learning methods. Do it every day so muscle memory sets in.

  • Great blog, Martin! I’m always interested in great insight towards pro-am prep and comp day. Good point on monitoring energy levels, mental readiness, and practice in your costume ahead of time for sure.

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