Preparing Mentally to Blackpool Dance Festival 2014 - Joao Capela

Preparing Mentally to Blackpool Dance Festival 2014

Tomorrow, May 22nd, Blackpool Dance Festival starts – one of the greatest dancesport competitions in the World.

With 9 full days (May 22nd to 30th), this is the world’s first and most famous annual ballroom dance competition of international significance, held in the Empress Ballroom at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool, England since 1920. This is the highlight of many dancers annual career and achieving the first place is the dream of any ballroom and latin dancer.

A dancesport competition so great that last year, 2013,  2.953 couples from 60 countries took part in the festival. This year, 2014, are expected more then 3000 couples shinning and dancing on the dance floor.

But what makes Blackpool Dance Festival so appealing and inspirational? Many are the reasons but for sure the hall itself is one of them. You will never dance in another place like the Winter Gardens. The Ballroom is absolutely beautiful, full of glamour and perspiring dance in any corner. Take a look…

Blackpool Dance Festival

Blackpool Dance Festival

One of the other reasons is the live music supplied by Empress Orchestra. Dancing with live music is totally different and inspiring. Everything is more real and natural.

Of course such a great dancesport competition as Blackpool, attracts the best dancers in the World, and if you are going to attend and dance… you must be prepare physically and mainly mentally. Don’t forget that sports, dancesport included, are 80% mental. So if you want to have a great performance in Blackpool, you must dedicate 80% of your time to mental training and 20% to your physical training.

Don’t worry, you already do a lot of mental training even if you don’t realise. When you motivate your partner telling encouragement words or when you set goals and plan your practice sessions and competitions you are already doing mental work. However there is much more you can do.


When two dancers (or couples) of equal – and often unequal – ability compete, the dancers with the mental edge most often emerges as the winners. So don’t wait to start training your brain and now it’s not too late.

Here are some tips for this year Blackpool Dance Festival. Use them as often as possible and you will feel much more confident what will increasing your performance.


Playing safe is probably the most unsafe thing in the world and for sure in the Dancesport competitions also. You can’t stand still and be afraid to have a bad performance. Go forward and give all you have. Take risks, be crazy, be different and the reward will be amazing. At Blackpool give 100% of what you have without fear or failure. At least you can say that you’ve tried.


Let go all the past, the bad results from the previous Blackpool competition, the not so good practice sessions, the injury, the bad teachers and stay in the present. The mind only works at full potential when it is in the present. At the same time don’t think about the future, the final result, what will people think (teachers, friends, family…) of your dance and moves.  The future is yet to come and you can’t control it. The only thing you can control is the here and the now. So fully stay in the present, and focus on your tasks.


This is the main resource that you have to focus and relax. Any time you feel anxious, nervous or frustrated just breathe slowly (if possible) to your belly. Focus on your breathing and let go the rest. Inside the dance floor, during a dance, keep attention to your breathing. Mostly of the times, errors happens when we forget to breathe.


Forget the idea that the latin and ballroom dancer should be serious and have no fun while he is dancing, or else he is not good enough. Those times are gone!! You can already see many critics around the dancesport world about how the couples look serious (even little bit arrogant) inside and outside the dance floor. You don’t need to have the same attitude to be a successful dancer. Look to the main couples, the ones that do final in Blackpool and you will see pure joy when they are dancing, like if they didn’t mind about the final result or if they are performing well or not. Look for Donnie Burns and Gaynor Fairweather on youtube. It is not a surprise that they were unbeatable for 20 years. They truly had fun each time they were dancing. And that is the secret. Enjoy your dance being full in the present and in the moment. When you are on the competition… your competition has already finished. Now it’s time to dance… just dance and shine! Be thankful to be there and DANCE!


Don’t try to imitate the other dancers. When a couple arrive to such a big event is very easy to try to do the same as the other couples. Don’t do… Keep with your plan and routine. Warm up the same way as you do at the practice, follow the plan, focus on you and your partner and forget the others. Everything outside is there to make you loose your focus and you don’t want that. So be yourself, do what you are programmed to do and don’t change at the last time. The same goes for your dance. Don’t change the routine at the last minute (I already saw this happening), or don’t start in a different point. Don’t try to dance like others. Be yourself 150% and show the world your dance and your style. Maybe you don’t agree, but the public and the judges enjoy much more when you show them who you really are. So BE YOURSELF!

Blackpool Dance Festival Judges


Don’t forget, that winning is as difficult or as easy as you make it. So believe that you can win, enjoy and you will have a great surprise!

Question: Are you going to dance at the 2014 Blackpool Dance Festival? How did you prepare mentally and physically to the competition? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Download Your Free Mental Guide - "The DANCESPORT B.I.P. Mental Technique"...
... And Learn the Top 3 Mental Techniques You Need to Know To Improve Your Performance on a Dancesport Competition IN JUST 10 MINUTES!



About the Author

Joao CapelaView all posts by Joao Capela
Performance & Mental Coach for DanceSport; Mental Training Speaker; International Dance Teacher & Entrepreneur.


Add comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.