20 Things You Should Know Before Your First UCWDC Competition!


  1. You must have a UCWDC Associate number. Why? It’s how we track your points, make sure you are qualified for Worlds, and keeps our organization fair.  You can sign up for one on our ever-so-helpful UCWDC website.
  2. Footwear: If you are dancing newcomer you do not have to wear boots until Worlds.  I don’t recommend waiting that long, but you are at the mercy of budget and when you can find your size. Also you will need time to break them in and to get use to wearing them!
  3. Get-up earlier than you think you need to get up on competition day! If something goes wrong with your hair, costume, or make-up you won’t completely freak out, because you will have time to deal with it.
  4. Newcomers you are not allowed to wear rhinestones on your clothing. You may wear rhinestone jewelry and hair accessories. Please see the costume rules on our website.
  5. Eat breakfast. Dance sessions can take along time and you will need fuel to keep you energy levels up.  Carry snacks and eat small amounts if you have nerves and are uncomfortable about tossing back some eggs and bacon. 
  6. The student, even if female, wears the number. In couples the man wears the number!
  7. Stay hydrated. I know, if I drink water I will have to …umm RUN to the bathroom.  You are going to be sweating and will need to stay hydrated especially if you had coffee with your breakfast.
  8. Arrive early to the ballroom. There are warm up songs before the session begins and sometimes the competition may be running a little early.
  9. ProAm order of dances: Triple Two Step, Polka, Nightclub Two Step, Cha Cha, Waltz, Two Step, East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing. All heats of the same dance are completed before you move to the next. There is a possibility that you could remain on the floor to dance the same dance multiple times!
  10. Pay attention to your heats! The floor mom has a difficult time wrangling all of the newbies.  So please stay close by and pay attention to the heats as they are announced.  Heat sheets are posted in the on deck area and they will tell you which heats you are in.  This really helps us keep the competition running on time so you can social dance later, take part in workshops or take a nap.
  11. Don’t show it if you make a mistake. The judges can’t look at you the entire time so chances are some of us missed it. Recover quickly and don’t show it in you face.  If you have to start over no big deal!  It’s call newcomer because you are new.  Just do it with a big smile on your face and breath!   How you handle the mistake often affects your score more than the mistake.
  12. Practice on a crowded floor. Get use to people being close to you and maneuvering around people. Amateurs often lose focus and forget their routines because they have never danced on a crowded floor.
  13. Have fun!! Your first competition is a learning experience. Don’t get caught up in the results. With hard work you will get the results.  It may surprise you, but you are joining a community of great people and you don’t want to miss out because you are wrapped up in scores or placements.
  14. When in doubt look it up! All questions should be easily answered with the information on the UCWDC website ucwdc.org and if you can’t find it then please send an email! www.ucwdc.org/contact-us or post it on our Facebook page.

Ladies only

  1. Ladies you must wear pantyhose. It has been a rule for a long time I cannot attest to its reason, but I can skip tanning my legs so it saves time!  I prefer to wear dance tights or dance fishnets, because they last a long time and hold everything in.  If you choose to wear hose make sure they are sheer to the waist.  You may think I am insulting your intelligence, but I see this more often than I should. 
  2. Dance Panties! Where do I begin?  Nude dance panties provide a shock factor for sure and it will make the audience uncomfortable until they realize you do have them on.  Match your dress or wear black.  Make sure you wear them over you pantyhose or tights.
  3. Hair: It is always better to wear your hair off your face.  Rookie mistake lip-gloss, long hair, and turning result in hair stuck to you lip.  It is also distracting so put it up or do a half up half down but make sure it stays.  Hairspray tip:  Got to be Glued is my favorite hairspray.
  4. Make-up: If you feel that heavy make-up is inappropriate at 7am.  Think again!  This is an aesthetic sport, show-up like a supermodel.  Eyelashes, eyeliner, and bright lipstick combine to make you feel beautiful and make you show up on the floor.  WEAR MORE THAN YOUR EVERYDAY MAKE-UP!!!  Trust me, my first make-up lesson was from a drag queen.

Gentlemen only

  1. Gentlemen do not need to wear a hat until Worlds, but don’t wait you will need to get use to dancing with it on. They are hot and create an obstacle you and your partner must learn to maneuver around.  Don’t panic you will get use to it, and many people find men in hats sexy!  Hats should fit snug they often stretch a bit after you sweat in them.  Go to a western store and try one on, hit the hat upwards and downward to make sure it won’t fall off.  If your hat stretches out you can buy foam to restore the tight fit.  Look for a hat buying blog in the future!
  2. Your presentation counts just as much as your partner’s! Men typically wear dress pants or jeans, dress shirt and options like a tie or vest. If you tuck your shirt in then do what you Mom always told you – wear a belt, or buy a Ballroom shirt made from stretchy material. Show your teacher your competition outfit before the competition for approval.