This page will describe everything you need to know and do on the day of the competition.


Morning
It's the big day. You've been prepping like crazy, and it's time to show off your stuff. But before you can do any of that, you've got to get all the other little things in place first.

Check-In: Usually a front desk manned by people. Be nice, patient, and courteous. Running a competition isn't easy and you don't want to stress them out. Ask nicely, tell them your name, school, pay whatever you need to pay if you didn't pre-pay. For Leaders, they'll usually hand you an envelope containing your competition number. Don't lose that number.

Breakfast: What you eat and how much of it is your decision. But eat something. Competition dancing is hard work and you need energy to fuel yourself through the day. Fruit, granola, protein. And have snacks on hand throughout the day to eat as needed (or go to the food court/restaurants nearby if there are any).

Clothes + Shoes + Hair + Makeup: Ah yes. Half the reason why you joined ballroom, right? Wearing nice clothes, putting on mascara and hair gel, yes yes yes. Let's tackle these things one by one (Men, then Ladies). Note: Everything you should have brought with you when packing. If you forgot something, ask around because someone will probably have it.

Clothes: Gentlemen, you need a white shirt for Standard, a black shirt for Latin. For Standard, an undershirt is acceptable (trust me, you'll need it. You're going to sweat buckets.) For Latin, no undershirt. NONE. NADA. You unbutton the top 2-3 buttons and show off that sexy chest and man-boobs. For every round you advance in Latin, another button gets unbuttoned. (at least, that's how some people do it).
Pants: black dress pants. NO JEANS. Not even nice black denim because denim is denim.
Socks: Black. Need I say more? Maybe fancy socks if you want though for a bit of color.
Shoes: Black. Ballroom shoes, but black dress shoes work fine as well. Comfort is key. The first time you dance in a competition, you will gain blisters. Let's try to minimize that.
Hair: You can never have enough hairgel. Never. You want a shiny carpace. Now, how you style it depends on your hair (curly, straight, long, short). But make it look good. And dump hairgel: two coatings may be needed. If you're looking for hairgel, I (Steven) recommend MegaMax Hair Gel. It's a huge bottle, cheap at CVS, and gives you that shiny look.

Competitor Number + Tape: These things come off easily, 'specially with a day's worth of sweat. Use Tape, and just wrap the paper in tape. That'll protect it from falling off and drifting to the floor as has happened to so many competitors. Note: Numbers are for Leaders only.

Ladies, team dresses are available. Also, since not every ballroom member goes to every comp, there are definitely people you can ask about dresses for. Just make sure to return them in at least equivalent condition, if not better.
MakeUp: The more, the better. Since judges are far away, they need to be able to see that you clearly have make-up on. This may mean a few hours devoted just to make-up: foundation, blush, powder (to prevent sweat from running the make-up), hair, hairspray, etc.
Heels: Most, if not all, competitions ask that heels have some sort of heel protectors or suede stars. Make sure you have them, lets the competitions decide to disqualify you.
Requesting Assistance. I know that you can never have enough makeup. That's about it. Then there's something about heels, something about dresses? Making sure you're okay if the dresses poof up.


Warm-Up
If you can, practice on the dance floor. Floors vary from place to place: some are tacky, some are nice. Getting a good feel beforehand will help you adjust.
Routines: Perhaps run through you routines once or twice. But don't tire yourself out. Mentally and verbally running through your routine with your partner is much more efficient. The time for physical practice to fix your moves has passed: you're at competition.
Nerves: It's a competition! Of course you're going to be nervous! But you know what? You've prepped, you're going to be awesome. Win or lose, go out there and have some fun.


On the Dance Floor
The competition has now begun. Events proceed in heats. Since the dance floor isn't big enough to fit everyone, the entire group is subdivided. After going through round 1, cuts and callbacks occur. This continues until the final 6-7 couples, at which the judges then place all of them.
How Competition Works: Events are usually intermingled. So, for example, Newcomer Cha-Cha might go one round. Then Bronze will come on and do cha-cha and rumba for one round. Then Silver will take the stage, and perform Cha-Cha, Rumba, and Jive. As you advance in levels, you are expected to be good in all dances, not just one or two. So, don't slack off on any dance because it'll eventually become a part of whether you advance.
Also, each competition is run differently. Some do International and American Standard one day, followed by International and American Latin the next. Some do international one day and then american the next. All sorts of possibilities can occur. Make sure you know the schedule.

Callbacks & Stamina: There will usually be a huge projector showing which round is currently being done and the upcoming rounds. In callbacks, check the screen to see if your number is on there. It's your job, not the competition, to be in line if you're called back. Keep a sharp eye out. Also, if you go back for lots of heats, you're going to start getting tired. But each round is a new one, so tough it out, and perform.

Walking in with Style: So you're in line, chit-chatting with kids from outside the Bubble. Then, it's time to walk onto the floor. Now, the moment you walk onto the floor, you're being judged. You don't want to make a bad impression before you even begin to dance, so walk in well. Follower on the Leader's left, arms interlocked at the elbows. Back straight, maybe even a hint of a strut. Think of yourself as a peacock showing off his feathers.

Smiles & Shit: Smile. Smile. Smile. Get the message? Not a creepy smile, a genuine smile that shows that you're enjoying yourself. And when you mess up or bump into someone? Nothing. Keep your cool, and dance on. You are judged not only on how well you dance, but how well you react to unexpected events. Saying shit is a bad idea. Everyone hears it.

Dominating that floor: When you're in line, talk to your partner to find the best spot. In theory, the judges are supposed to be evenly spread out. That never happens. Judges start clustering, there's a dead space on the floor that no judge is looking out. For spot dances, near the middle of the floor is best. For moving dances, you usually want to start along the short side. Then, when you make the turn and begin going down the long lane, that's when you hit your stride.
Competitors: They will be jostling for space. Some people dance as if they're the only ones on the floor. Don't be rude like that, but definitely don't give any ground. Work that floorcraft.

Walking out with Style: When the music is done playing, finish whatever move you're on, bow, and get off the floor. Don't linger, since you're going to get stampeded by the next heat in line. Competitions have tight schedules to stick to.

Cheering: Ballroom is a partner sport where you dance with your partner. But you know what? It's also a team sport, at least as much as you make it. So CHEER FOR YOUR TEAMMATES!!! Shout out their number (not name, Judges only know number), clap, smile! Having teammates on the sideline watching and cheering are a major boost like nothing else. Or if you see a really good couple, shout-out for them? Who knows, they might do the same for you.

Friends: Competitions are a great way to get to know people from different places and colleges. One of the best icebreakers is to ask where they come from, how long they've been dancing, or what my friend always does: "That dress is gorgeous! Where did you get it from?"