I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I first received a copy of Competing Like a Pro: Spotlight Strategies to Help You Shine On and Off the Ballroom Floor almost a year ago, and I only read it in the last couple months. Jessika, the author of the book, actually took lessons at the same studio as me. We have never met in person, though I remember seeing her around. It may be awhile before we officially meet since I learned that she recently fulfilled her dream of moving to Costa Rica! She still plans to take lessons on return trips to the U.S.; they will just be spread out a bit more.
This book is by no means a pocket guide to ballroom competition; it’s more like a textbook! Complete with worksheets and checklists for you to fill out as you work through the chapters, Competing Like a Pro guides you through the various stages of preparing for competition. Jessika explains at the beginning of the book that it is meant for both beginners and experienced competitors, and the chapters can stand alone so you don’t need to digest the entire book at once.
I found the book to be very well organized and easy to read, and I really appreciated that she didn’t ignore the non-dance challenges of competing like the massive expense and the emotional rollercoaster that many of us experience. Each one gets its own chapter! Each chapter also ends with interview insights from a variety of people, including judges, professional dancers, as well as competitive students.
I have another confession: when I first received the book and saw the price listed on the back ($65), I balked. Then I chalked it up to a ballroom book reflecting ballroom world prices. After reading it though, I realized it’s more reflective of textbook prices. If I were to take a class on ballroom competition, I would fully expect this book to be the assigned reading. I can barely imagine all of the work that was put into it, from the interviews to designing the worksheets and checklists to the actual content. Still, I wonder how many people passed up the book because the price seemed too high.
Whether you’re still deciding if competition is right for you (there’s a chapter for that!) or you’ve been competing for years, this book will have something for you. Dancers just starting out or in their first year or two of competition will gain more obviously, but there are still great insights to be had for those with more experience.
One thing to note: Jessika refers to her business Next Level Dancing, LLC throughout the book, but I learned that she has since sold the business. Next Level Dancing is still in operation, but it focuses on ballroom dress rentals. Also, she is no longer selling hard copies of Competing Like a Pro. You can still buy a digital version on Amazon, and I saw a few used and new copies listed for sale by individuals when I last checked.
There’s one other way you can get your own hard copy of Competing Like a Pro! I received a second copy of the book last fall and decided to give it away to one of my readers! To make it fair and fun, I set up a Rafflecopter giveaway that will run through February 10.
You can enter here:
Good luck and happy dancing!