While we are grateful that there are still organisers daring enough to organise competitions in these bad economic times, we would like to make some general comments on competitions held in Singapore. We hope organisers would not take these comments personally but instead see it as a alternative source of feedback which can help make their competitions even more popular. These comments have been gathered by speaking to several competitors and do not necessarily apply to any particular competition:
* While its quite common practice in other countries to charge competitors for taking part in competitions, the amount charged must be reasonable. A number of local competitions don't even charge competitors so far, so those competitions that do intend to charge must ensure that their charges are reasonable. Dancing is already a very expensive sport; with us forking out money for lessons, practices, costumes and travel. The last thing we need is more costs and we don't want to discourage new blood from venturing into the exciting world of dancesport.
* Welcome dinners the night before the competition might be popular with overseas competitors, but are generally considered an unnecessary event by local competitors. Most of us would rather rest early that night and do our packing/preparation for the actual competition. We would be seeing fellow competitors for the whole of the next day, so we don't find meeting competitors the night before to be of any attraction. Most of us tend to stick with ourselves at welcome dinners and only actually mix around on the competition day itself. That would also help cut down costs for the organisers.
* Early morning rehearsals are generally not popular, especially Saturday events. Many of us work on Saturday morning and have to take leave to attend an otherwise unnecessary rehearsal. To some there is even monetary cost involved as they have to hire people to temporarily cover their duties while they are away. Generally, early morning rehearsals are for the march past and some warm up. Rehearsals for the march past can actually be done away with as on the actual march past, the competitors can just follow the country card holder with some supervision by the floor manager. This works fine. As for the warm up, this is up to the competitors when they want to do it and should not be made compulsory.
* Many competitions also don't advice competitors of the schedule of events of the day till the actual day itself. We would prefer to be informed of the schedule in advance so we can plan our competition strategy and when to come. If our event is not till much later, then we could spend time resting or making up at home instead of waking up early and rushing to the venue. Competitions usually run on all the way till midnight, so starting later would be much less tiring. The schedule and confirmation of entry notice should be sent to competitions at least 2 weeks in advance to allow time for competitors to apply for leave if necessary. Not all employers are willing to grant leave with one weeks notice.
* For competitors taking part in both Standard and Latin, two sets of number tags would be much appreciated. Quite often competitors who take both Standard and Latin have to frantically rush in and out of the changing room and in the process switch the number tag from costume to costume. By having two sets of number tags, we could leave the number tags on our respective costumes and won't have to keep switching numbers tags from costume to costume.
Dance Floor Quality
* The dance floor should also be carefully inspected to ensure that it is clean with no sticky spots. In places like Neptune, some diners might have spilt drinks on the floor and when not cleaned promptly, drys and makes the floor sticky. This is extremely dangerous to us dancers (which caused Pele to sprain an ankle). The organisers should ensure that the venue owner provides a clean & safe environment for the championship. If necessary, professional cleaners should be brought in as sometimes simple mopping does not help. If that can't be done, then the competitors should be warned. Otherwise, the venue owner might face possible messy legal claims and competitors would be wary of participating in future championships to be held in such venues.
* For events that have straight finals, there should be no need to dance the event in the day when the actual final is in the night. This is really a waste of time and energy.
* While organisers may have their differences with other parties, that is their business which most of us are not interested in. Publishing accusing or defensive messages in your championship magazine is not in good taste and generally serves only to deepen misunderstandings and grievances. So keep the spirit of the competition good and leave out such messages.
Article co-authored with Pele Chee-Lim.