The competitive dance floor - where the best of humanity clashes dance shoes and fake tan in a primal urge to be the best.
As a former Ballroom and Latin dance competitor myself, I have met some great and interesting people from all walks of life and all with different desires for dance. So through my personal experiences, here is my 10 types of dance competitor! Let me know if you agree or if you think of anymore!
1. The Bulldozer
The competitor everyone seeks to avoid, especially during a Quickstep! We all know of a Bulldozer and if you can't think of one, then it is probably you.
The Bulldozer is the competitor, whether through some deep-seated anger or just a lack of skill, smashes their way around the dance floor, leaving their fellow competitors fleeing in their wake.
My personal experience of this - dancing a pendulum step in the corner of the dance-floor during the Quickstep, I see a creature resembling Usain Bolt with the legs of a Kangaroo come charging toward me from the other side of the floor. Surely they will see me I think? Nope.....SMASH! Whilst I'm picking myself and my partner up from the floor, they scatter chasse away to their next victim. Somehow, the judges marked them first in the Quickstep....figure that one!
2. The Gentleman/Lady
The complete antithesis to the Bulldozer, the Gentleman/Lady is the dancer who is probably a bit too kind on the dance-floor. Slight bump with another couple on the floor? After you good sir and madam. A couple come within 3 feet of them? Lower the arms in order for them to pass by. Unusual results go against them? Well that's the nature of the sport. Though an all round great person, they usually lack the bite to become a Champion.
3. The Sponsored Competitor
Most dancers have to spend an extraordinary amount of money on lessons, travel, practices, shoes and clothing to fulfill their dancing ambitions. Others, however are blessed with sponsorship. These dancers can usually be spotted with more badges stitched to their clothing then a boy scout.
The tell-tale sign of the sponsored competitor is their Facebook post in conclusion to a dance competition. Usually longer than the novel 'War and Peace', this status will thank their various sponsors for such things as: shoes, make-up, outfits, eye-lashes, nails, jewelry, hair, fake tan, practice venue, towels, dance gowns, gemstones, practice-wear and gym use.
4. The Numerous Teachers Competitor
It is normal as dancer to have one or two main coaches with a few others you go to for 'guest' lessons from time to time. However, we all know at least one who takes this to an extreme:
You: 'So who is your Ballroom teacher?'
Dancer: 'I go to Glenn...'
You: 'Oh yes, I've heard o...'
Dancer: 'Brenda, Glenda, Mark, Lisa, Tom, Dick, Harry, Robert, Rupert, Maldini, Ronaldo for posture, Clive, Bob, Margaret, John, Mary, Joseph, Jesus, Gladys, David...'
You: 'Oh is that the time, I've go....'
Dancer: 'Bruce, Carol, Jack, Anastasia, Mike, Stan, Paul, Diane, Mel and Barbara, but only on weekends. For Latin...'
You: 'STOP, STOP, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STOP!'
5. The Ultra Competitive
These dancers are the ones who turn up 7 hours early to a competition to physically and mentally warm-up. They usually keep themselves to themselves and can often be seen pacing around the floor with their partner, debating strategy and assessing the floor.
Say hello and you may be lucky to receive a grunt back, or worse a steely glare, at having disturbed their optimum 12 minute, 47 second warm-up that resembles something that a Shaolin Monk could only dream of doing.
Once on the floor it's win at all costs. Whether that's to box a rival in a corner, trip another couple up on purpose or to sell their own Grandmother to the devil, they will stop at nothing to improve their performance and their position.
6. The Child of a Dance Teacher
Ahh, the kid of a dance teacher. Caught in battle to eclipse their parents own great achievements, against those who say they only do well because they are the child of a dance teacher.
Usually having been trained since conception to become a World Champion, these competitors are easy to spot. They can normally be seen being watched like a hawk on the floor by their parents, who are ready to lambaste them for every out of place little finger and every missed 37 degree angled heel-lead.
7. The Cocky Competitor
Let's be honest, nobody likes the cocky competitor. They usually start their day by trying to psych their rivals out in the changing area with comments such as, 'and look who has turned up today...my latest prey,' and, 'ready to get smashed again this week?'
Once changed and ready for action, the cocky competitor will proceed to swagger around the seating area of the venue, usually in their personalised dance gown, giving chastising glances towards their fellow competitors and making snide remarks, just loud enough to be heard.
Now comes the moment of the results. Rather than waiting towards the back of the room, the cocky competitor will be right on the edge of the floor, preparing to walk on before 1st place is even announced. I think most people's guilty pleasure will be to see this dancer come lower in a final then expected and see their face drop in disbelief!
8. The Noisy Competitor
As the saying goes:
'A dancer should be seen, not heard.'
Unless of course you are the noisy competitor!
Whether it is stamping their foot every other step in a Tango or a Paso Doble, clicking their fingers during every move in the Latin or even shouting out loud during a dance, the noisy competitor will stop at nothing to attract the judges eye.
9. The Immaculate Competitor
Ahh, Adonis and Venus personified!
The Immaculate competitor is the one who turns up to every lesson, practice session and competition, beautifully well groomed. Whether it is their exquisite clothing, glowing tan or perfectly shaped eyebrows, the immaculate competitor has a jaw-dropping aura about them which makes you feel like an ogre in their glowing presence.
10. The 'Happy To Be There' Competitor
For some people, competitions are a war-zone, where battles are fought to achieve greatness and fame. For others, they are a bit of fun where they go to see how many bottles of wine they can consume in the space of a few hours!
Usually the most jovial people you will find at a competition, this competitor can sometimes be found working their way through their picnic hamper filled with goodies and treats. With their outfits stained by spilled glasses of gin, they will go onto the floor a bit rosy cheeked and perhaps with too much sway then their teachers would like!