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1. Smile

If you watched two dance competitors of equal skill, but only one was smiling - you'd stick to watching that one.

2. Posture

Competitive dancers that work on their posture can look impressive.

3. Chivalry

Leaders guiding their dance partners on and off the floor. Followers matching that by waiting for the leader, and allowing them to guide them off the dance floor.

Try this: Compete. Fall down. Get back up... and you may get a standing ovation. OK, so maybe that's going a bit far, but a bump, a stumble, or anything else can reveals more about your character, than your dance ability.

5. Clear Timing

Timing is one of the most objective things in dancing. It should be precise, and clear to the viewer.

6. Balance

It would be really tough to look your best while off balance. Depending too much on your dance partner can make you look less confident and, sorry in advance.... heavy.

7. Clean Footwork

Good footwork is essential to great dancing, but it should only highlight other nice things about your dancing.

8. Good Costuming

You are being judged much sooner than you may realize. A well planned costume that flatters your body type starts you on the positive side of things.

9. Picture Lines

These are the pictures lines, the dips, the sways, the applause moments that you build up to. Note: Your entire performance doesn't need to be, and shouldn't be, one non-stop diamond picture line.

10. The Basics

It's important to point out that dance judges don't know your choreography, but they are fluent in the basics. So if you want to keep their attention, speak a little of their language.

11. Less Fluff

You don't get points for the things you attempt and can't execute (like some other sports). If you can't do it on Time, on Balance, then shelf it

12. Body Motion

Have you ever tried running without moving your arms? Weird right? Well, it is awkward because your entire body is a physical machine. When your Latin dancing progresses, your Cuban Motion will take hold of more than just your hips, and that will activate the physical machine. Eventually, not dancing with your arms and torso will feel just as weird.

13. Fun

Yep, you can fake a smile... but judges can see through that. What is tougher to fake is if you're actually having fun. Being overly serious, looking upset, or just downright angry is off putting and doesn't win you any "enjoyable to watch" votes.

14. Walk on Walk off

What do you look like when you're waiting to walk on the floor. How do you enter? Exit? A judge can see all, and form a lasting impression.

Making the best use of the dance floor. Are you stuck in the middle? Playing bumpercars? Using one section of the floor, facing the wrong way... all of these can erode any semblance of confidence and presence on the dance floor.

16. Stamina

If you need an oxygen tank, 2 gallons of water, a chair, a masseuse, and a cardiologist to get through your final dance - you may be lacking in this area.

17. Move

No matter how you do it, movement is what catches the eye.

18. Awareness of Partner

The audience is not your partner, and neither is your hand, your shoe, or your reflection through the rhinestones on your sleeve. What you are looking at is what is important - try to include your partner in that equation.

No matter how ninja-like some "following-challenged" dancers can be, a judge can spot any lead and follow shortcomings from a mile away. Even if it is choreographed, the goal is to make it authentic. Dancing is a conversation set to music, not someone speaking on behalf of their partner. So leaders are the action, followers are the reaction

19. Variety of Energy

Everything that stays the same, regardless of speed, will begin to look monotone. Giving your dance routine some different slow-to-fast, or fast-to-slow dynamics will keep things interesting to watch.

20. Variety of Arm Styling

Slow, full, quick, direct - having a few different contasting options with your arm styling can make your routine difficult to look away from.

21. Confidence

Don't apologize for anything (unless you bump into someone). People that are lacking confidence only show it when they apologize with their body language. Slumped shoulders, eyes down, timid movements all convey an apologetic, unconfident demeanor and can take away from your performance.

22. Volume

Attention Tall People: Your limbs are long and beautiful - if you use them to their maximum. Attention Not-As-Tall People: Your limbs are not as long, but when you stretch, and fill things out, they are just as beautiful. Dance to your maximum, and you'll never look "not-tall." "Volume" is like posture for every part of your body

23. Musicality

Musicality is only achieved through excellent timing. Showing that you are listening to the music, responding to the music, and accenting the rhythm through creative choreography and great balance shows the audience that you are enjoying the music beyond just the meter of the music.

24. Point of view

Showing great fundamentals, clear technique, and consistent timing are all objective. The choices you make, your point of view, are subjective. Whether that is with the emotion you show, the style points you emphasize, or some other theme to your delivery - it's all a point of view. This is what separates the top dancers from a group of great ones.

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