Dancesport or The Verve Ballroom
6344 NE 74th St OR 19820 40th Ave W,
Seattle or Lynnwood, WA 98115
United States

All About Dance

All About Dance » Dance Descriptions » How to be a World Champion

How to be a World Champion

Piet Rullens
Date Published:
October 31, 2005

How to become a World Champion!
Become a World Champion in the DanceSport, is the magic desire that keeps us competitors and coaches pushing forwards. But consider that one of the characteristics of the competitive DanceSport scene is that every competitor wants to become a World Champion which makes this objective so difficult to reach!

There is nothing wrong having the desire to become a World Champion, but keep in mind that the process to reach that goal is long and exhausting. Now as usual in long and exhausting processes a planning with proper scheduled mile stones is required, milestones used to decide to stop, continue or to define new objectives. It sounds bureaucratic but as a coach (not as a dancer) I have recognised the added value of such a planning. Its more than a plan its is an ongoing process which you can compare with “Lifecycle Management” as done in the Business Industry. Let me first clarify this.

In my daily profession as Marketing Manager I see many aspects from the Business Industry back in the world of DanceSport . When working as a DanceSport coach, I see a DancSport couple or Formation Team as a “product” which needs, as in the Business Industry, proper lifecycle management to ensure the success of the product in the marketplace, in our case the DanceSport world. In the industry the Lifecycle Management activities are required, to ensure that the product/couple has the required quality, skills and features, the right promotion and marketing, and an aggressive positioning and differentiation compared to other products/couples in the marketplace.

For me a DanceSport coach should think, live and act as a kind of Lifecycle Manager towards the couples he is coaching. He should know the strengths and weakness of the couple and work on that, he should also know about the competition in this case the other couples, actually he should go to see competitions and see the couple performing between the other couples! He should send the couple to other trainers! to work on specific aspects such as technique, space and other forms of dancing.

Let’s get back to our World Champion problem! Basically, competitors, its all about achieving your objectives in the DanceSport. For you personally it could be: becoming a World Champion, or a National Champion, or winning the next competition. To reach your objectives you need not only the correct coaching as explained above, but you need also some personal characteristics as a human, for example it is essential to have:

The Will to Win
Growth Oriented Coaching

Louis van Amstel and Julie Fryer
The Netherlands


What is talent? For me a dancer with talent is a person that has the optimum physical aspects combined with the capability to learn very fast, in many cases a talent needs no time for learning... they just do it! But also a talent should know what he is doing when dancing. At least as a start you need to have the basic physical capabilities to become a successful dancer such as: the required muscular and bone structure, body weight, length, and last but not least a common sense for balance, emotions of life, dynamics and movements in general must be present.

A 100% dedication to the Dancing is required. There is no time for any social life, girl or boy friends or other additional hobbies that are demanding time. Sometimes Dancers have to study or work during the day to finance their dancing. I don't see this type of time consumption (study and work) as a degree of their level of dedication For me dancers that study or work during the daytime have the right level of dedication Note: In case the money is spend to realise their Dancing objectives and not to buy a fancy sports car.

The Will to Win:
These words need no explanation!!
The will to win is required, not to win the competition, but to keep on going when you lost a competition or didn’t reach the last 48 or 96 at the “Dutch Open” or “Blackpool” . The will to win stimulates you to continue with taking lessons, continue with your practice, to work harder on developing muscle memory and stamina to perform better on the next competition

Money is essential to have to become a Champion. Finding sponsors is even as important as taking lessons and practise. In the "Old Days" when dancing wasn't recognised as a sport you could take lessons for £10,- now they ask to much per hour. David Sycamore former World & European Ten Dance Champion wrote an article in "Dance News" were he explained that these still increasing lesson costs are a great treat for the development of the Dancing. He finishes his article by saying: "are the lessons really so much more valuable today than they were then"
Wow, I do agree with David here.

Growth Oriented Coaching
I have explained how I see a coach. But I like to add something to it.
For me coaching always has to offer for the dancers growth and improvement and finally results on competitions. Now basically coaching is required to develop talent in the right direction. Useless to say that it is important that the coach should know this direction and the way towards this direction. I don’t say that the coach should have al the capabilities himself to train the couple for 100%. But he should be up-to-date about the DanceSport and the way it is developing.

I trend that I recognise is, that many (not all of them) of the famous top coaches focuses only on "physical coaching" to improve your dancing, it is the way of coaching they feel happy and have the skills for, to develop your physical dancing!

Consider that in general dance coaches are not educated to provide you the right level of "mental coaching" required to reach your objectives in the DanceSport, I don’t want to degenerate dance coaches but mental coaching tailored for the DanceSport enterprise is just an other profession! If you find a coach who provides more than physical training, a coach who is really interested in your "total" development process mentally and physically you are lucky!

I finish my writing in saying that becoming a World Champion is not easy, but reaching your personal objectives for 1999 and 2000 on the competition floor is easy, evaluate the past with the above mentioned aspects in mind, draw up the conclusions and just work on it. I do remember some wording of John Wood former British Champion saying:

‘The way to be successful is to keep your head down and never come up for glory. Just keep on working. Once you put your head up to relax and enjoy that moment of glory, even for an instant, you have reached your level’

If the above text made you thinking, than I have succeeded,
Keep on training

Piet Rullens