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If you enjoy ballroom dancing a possible avenue for you to explore is competition dancing or dancesport. However for many the thought of pinning a number to their back and taking to the floor is not a happy prospect. Well forget that, competitive dancing is great fun and will improve your dancing ability no end and if you fancy it here's a short introduction to getting started.

First off there are opportunities to compete no matter what your level. Most events have a full programme of competitions from social through to championship. For the first two levels, social and beginners, there is no need to have a British Dance Council (BDC) card but thereafter you will need one. BDC cards come as part of your membership to the various dancesport associations. In Scotland that's Dancesport Scotland – in England it's the English Amateur Dancesport Association (EADA) and in Wales it's the Welsh Amateur Dance-Sport Association, no website.

So what happens at a dance competition? Most often there are competitions for all ages from young children through to seniors. It's usually the case that the children's competitions take place first so if you are taking your kids to compete you will need to be there for about nine in the morning. For adult competitors things rarely get moving before one in the afternoon but this isn't always the case. Competition details always state the times for the first round.

Competitions are split into sections. A section might be for example Senior Standard (ballroom) and the time of the first round will be stated. This doesn't mean that you will dance at exactly this time as there will be several different classes such as novice, intermediate etc. within the section but you do however need to be ready at this time as your dance might get called first!

The standard classifications of dance levels are Social, Beginner, Novice, Intermediate, Pre-Championship and Open. These are often sub split into open, any age, and age restricted such as under 35, over 35, over 50 etc.

The important thing to remember is that dance comps are great fun and although you will be nervous at your first few you will soon settle into the way they operate. They also help you focus on your dancing and strive to become a better dancer, they give you a purpose to take lessons and improve, not that the joy of dancing alone isn't purpose enough. To find out at what level you should start ask your teacher who will also be able to advise of competition dates and locations.

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