How to Win a Dance-Off

So you think you can dance? Step it up with this advice from dance competition judges and talent scouts.

You will need

  • Multiple dance styles
  • Fitness
  • Confidence
  • Humility
  • Excellent posture
  • Precise movements
  • Stage presence
  • Practice

Step 1 Learn it all Learn as many dance styles as possible; you never know what’s going to be thrown at you. Judges particularly like to see ballet skills in dancers, even if that’s not their specialty.

Step 2 Be in tip-top shape Be in peak physical shape and stick to a healthy diet: Otherwise, you won’t be able to keep up with the competition’s grueling schedule. And be sure to stay hydrated; in past competitions, contestants have been hospitalized for dehydration.

Step 3 Be self-assured, but humble Walk that fine line between self-assured and humble. Judges are like anyone else: They root for likable people.

Step 4 Play on people's sympathies If you have a sob story of some kind, by all means use it. And shamelessly promote yourself. Sometimes, it’s not the best person who wins, but the one who’s best known.

Step 5 Remember the five Ps Work on the five Ps: Posture, Precision, Presence, Personality, and Partnership. That’s what the judges are rating you on.

Step 6 Look happy Look like you’re having fun. You can be technically perfect, but will lose points if your face is scrunched with concentration.

Step 7 Make it look easy Now put all that together and make it look easy. How? With the biggest “P” of all – Practice.

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