WTFHi Edie! I just had to write and tell you about the experience I had the other night at a local club here in [city]. This club has a Salsa contest every Thursday night with a prize of $250 dollars, which is not much, but it serves for some good party money!

Anyway, we decided to go that night and one of my dance partners (I always dance with my husband and a mutual friend) asked me if I would get in the contest with him. I said “sure, why not. Since the prize is nothing really substantial I’m sure there won’t be any really awesome people getting in.” So, we did it. Well, it was a disaster. First of all, the young lady (to not call her by another name) that was in charge of the contest assigned everyone a number, and we ended up being 6 couples in total. So far so good. Then she announces that the AUDIENCE will be the judge. Oh no! I thought. This is going to be interesting.

She then tells us that we will all be dancing one song, and then the audience will choose 2 couples who will go on to dance another song, and then the winner will be chosen. We dance our first song, and then she starts asking the audience to clap for each couple. We were couple #1, and we got a decent applause. She went on to the other couples, and of the first 4 couples we got the loudest applause. THEN, she made the BIG mistake. She says “audience, I guess I’m the only one awake here tonight”. What do you think happened when she asked for applause for couple #5?! They got a BIG loud applause. So did couple #6, so she said “well I guess it’s couple 5 and 6!”


Why on Earth would you rev up the crowd in the middle of this process, and then not go around each couple again if you see that they are responding to what YOU said?

Edie, these people DO NOT know how to run a contest. I believe first of all letting the audience choose is a bad idea because then it comes down to which couple knows the most people! Whether they stink or not they will get the loudest applause? What do you think?
– Pissed Off

Dear Pissed Off,
I can really understand where you’re coming from. I’ve been involved in many competitions where audience applause was the basis for judging. In every case, the most popular couple won, not necessarily the best.

You know how some things will never change? Well, this is one of them. It’s a law of nature I guess, kind of like gravity. If you end up involved in this type of competition, just chalk it up as a learning experience from the start. Go out there, smile, have fun, enjoy yourself, relax, and who knows the audience just may LOVE you guys, solely based on your attitudes, and the looks on your faces. Look into each others eyes. This is so important.

Consider contests judged like this, a practice performance in front of a crowd. Unless you call up all your friends and relatives the night before and tell them to be there, there is absolutely nothing you can do,

I would look out for competitions where a syndicated governing body is involved like the World Dance Federation or the International Latin Dance Association. They instruct and certify judges prior to each competition.

Normally, to get the audience to come to the contests, the promoters will invite celebrities, pros, and street dancers to judge. Professional organizations like The World Dance Federation and The International Latin Dance Association ensure that each judge is instructed to judge based on a particular set of criteria that each type of judge would be comfortable judging. For example, the celebrity judges would judge on appearance and attitude, grooming, and costumes. The street judges would judge on the routine chosen, the style, the music, and the complexity of moves. The pros would judge on timing, choreography, execution, rhythm, and difficulty of moves. The winners are ten selected based on a mathematical weighted average system of scoring.

This is just one type, one of many. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in contests that were ridiculously scored, tabbed, clapped, wages, and downright wrong.

It’s ok. It’s a “high” just getting out there, isn’t it? Just enjoy yourself next time. Relax, and know that everyone is watching YOU!! .

All that hard work pays off some day.

Hugely. .

Happy Dancing!
– Edie, The Salsa FREAK!!
Edie The Salsa FREAK!! Website