Back on the Dancefloor

 
Once a dancer, always a dancer.

It's been more than a year since I stepped back on the dance floor. A frightening concept. Especially when you've been conditioned your whole life that one day of no dancing is equivalent to a year wasted! You can just imagine my nerves stepping back onto that big open space of people judging you from every angle.

How do you cope?

Well, you prepare as much and the best that you can.

1.) Practice, practice, and even more practice.

Ballroom is not all glitz and glamour. Real dance training is when you dance until your toes bleed (literally) and shed gallons of sweat! :D  

 
 The unglamorous side of ballroom: Sweating and practicing hard at the dance studio.

The unglamorous side of ballroom: Sweating and practicing hard at the dance studio.

 Lessons with dance teachers to help polish your technique. Enjoyed this lesson with internationally acclaimed dancer  Andra Vaidelaite .

Lessons with dance teachers to help polish your technique. Enjoyed this lesson with internationally acclaimed dancer Andra Vaidelaite.

 Dance studio practice is not enough. You also need to cross-train and stay fit for rounds and rounds of eliminations until you reach the final rounds -- all in one day!

Dance studio practice is not enough. You also need to cross-train and stay fit for rounds and rounds of eliminations until you reach the final rounds -- all in one day!

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2.) Costume

My favorite part about competing - the costumes. I always get a feeling of excitement every time I think about new costumes to wear. I used to design my dance costumes, but this time around, we didn't have a lot of time so I decided to have one designed and made by one of the best costume makers in the dance world: Michael Chen. I gave an idea of what I wanted and was very happy with the design that he gave. (Shoutout to Howard: Thanks for suggesting his work!)

 Having a dance costume that you really love and is comfortable dancing in adds a boost of confidence and will definitely be a factor to help you dance your best on the day of the competition.

Having a dance costume that you really love and is comfortable dancing in adds a boost of confidence and will definitely be a factor to help you dance your best on the day of the competition.

Tip: Always practice all your dances in your costume a few days before the competition so that you have time to get used to it and fix whatever needs adjusting to avoid wardrobe malfunctions. Yikes! Also make sure nothing gets caught in your heels and make sure your movements are not restricted by your costume.

3.) Mental Preparation

Dancing is not just all physical training. There's a lot of mental preparation as well. When you are troubled and not mentally ready to compete, it will definitely show in your dancing. If you are not confident enough to convince yourself or your partner that you are going to win, what more the judges? For me, I always make sure I've done my best with the factors that I can control. My dancing (training), my stamina (fitness exercises), my partner (connection) and my costumes, shoes, hair and makeup. Everything has to be set days before the competition. Nothing beats a well-prepared, confident mind ready to fight.

And during those times when you start doubting yourself, always go back and remember the reason why you do what you do. Nothing fuels more than passion.

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So I did everything that I can to prepare, and just let the passion take over on the day of the competition. Lucky enough, we won! All those days of hard work - practicing after office hours, training at the gym and traveling back and forth Malaysia and Singapore (my dance partner is based in Malaysia) - it all paid off.

Being back on the dancefloor after a year of inactivity, ain't too bad after all. ;)

 Asian Professional Latin Champion at the Ballare International Dance Championship 2015

Asian Professional Latin Champion at the Ballare International Dance Championship 2015

To see more action photos, click here.

 

 
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