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(Note: before you read this, I highly encourage you to read Caitlin’s post on To Compete or Not to Compete if you are still uncertain about your feelings toward competition. If you’re willing to compete or want to experience a competition event for the first time, this post is for you!)

In the world of competitive lindy hop, my personal experiences are very limited: despite helping run several competitions in Toronto, I’ve entered only a handful of jack and jills and solo jazz comps. However, I’m very passionate about them from a learning perspective, and even without a title to my belt, I find them to be a great way to improve my dancing outside of a social and classroom setting. Sure, winning is great, but I find each time I compete I can goals that help me push my dancing just a little bit, even if that goal is simply “don’t panic, and don’t give up.” (Which is not as easy as it looks sometimes.) As Caitlin wrote in her blog post (which, if you did not pay attention to my note at the beginning, now’s your chance!):

Competing can be scary, nerve-wracking, and uncomfortable. But without pushing these boundaries in our dancing life, it’s hard to grow. Competition can push your dancing abilities and make you try harder. It also exposes you to more skilled dancers than yourself. They got to where they are by expanding their comfort zones, and you can’t do the same if you don’t step outside of it.

The Anti-Comp, Toronto’s feedback-drive competition afternoon, was an attempt at helping people realize their personal competing goals and provide feedback to what goes on in a judge’s head during competitions. It was a day for growth for those competing as well as a chance to expose dancers to a competition setting from a slightly different angle. It was a huge success, but now, it’s time to take off the training wheels.

Which brings us to the O-town Showdown. Happening on March 8th, the Showdown is a competition afternoon that focuses on social dance skills, creativity, and awesome attitudes. If you had a great time at the Anti-Comp, or in general want to up your competition experience, this is the perfect event. While the main focus is the Showdown Jack & Jill, the other competitions include short showcases; a Jill and Jack, where you dance in your secondary role; and the Prop & Jill, where you compete using a prop as your partner. See the full list of the competitions here. With live music from the Boilermaker Jazz Band, the afternoon and evening dances look to be a really fun time, and a great chance to try out those comp-and-show moves you’ve been working on.

(Also, two Toronto judges will be there: the aforementioned Caitlin Wellman along with Dan Amores!)

But most importantly, we want to, as a scene, be supportive of each other in our competitive endeavors. It was really inspiring this past year at Stompology to hear almost all of the attending Toronto dancers shout their heads off while their friends and classmates were competing, and it’s an attitude we should bring with us from event to event. You don’t even have to compete to attend the Showdown: you can observe the competition and dance to an awesome band for two nights with awesome dancers for just $40 if you’re a student, $50 for non-students. Whether you want to compete for the first time in a higher-stakes setting or just want to cheer on your friends who are dancing their butts off, your support for your fellow Toronto dancers will help them calm their nerves and throw down their best moves.

To encourage this, Toronto Lindy Hop is helping organize rides to the Showdown. Help us all get to Ottawa to throw down at the Showdown by heading over to Facebook. Whether it’s to compete or just cheering on your friends, we hope you join us on the road to Ottawa!