First There is no such thing as cheap dance competitions as there are costs associated with competing in ballroom dance competitions such as Hotel, entry fees per dance, teacher’s fee, dance lessons, costumes….etc
However, you can reduce the cost by at least $500 by following these guidelines:
1- Use a dance studios that don’t charge for studio fee in addition to teacher fees. (Studios usually charge a fee because the teacher cannot teach at the studio while he/she is competing with students at a competition)
2- Try and get used dresses to save on the costs. Many studios have a cork board where students can listed dresses for sale on. Your local dance shoe shop may have an area for consigned dresses.
3- It’s better for you if your instructor takes a string of students to a competition. This way, you all can share his/her expenses: room, travel, meals, entry fees to the ballroom.
4- The Newcomer Division is less strict on new students. Meaning you can get away without having to have costumes as long as you dance in a dress in the style of the section you are dancing. Remember too…if you and another competitor dancing equally, the judges will fall to the costumes to break the placement tie.
5- Choose local dance comps. I like local competitions so I don’t have to stay at the hotel. BUT dancing off package you can count your heat fees to be about $10/$15 more than those in packages. The competition will provide a room for the off package dancers to change in. You will have to ask where that room is located. Just remember the competition is NOT responsible for safeguarding any costumes left unattended these changing rooms. Dancing off package means too as a group you all need to find a restaurant to eat at.
6- Do your own hair, and if you don’t know how, just take a class because it can save lots of money. I do my own hair, makeup and nail polish to save on cost. The drug store or a beauty supply carries fake eyelashes and glue. Mascara, eyeliner, eyes shadow, blush and lipstick, fingernail polish ARE part of the costume look. Remember you are not going for a soft business type look, this is a stage look. Many girls wear crystal eyelashes. (Halloween is coming up, you can stock up on these when they go on sale.) I go to a tanning salon for a spray tan so I have that fresh off the beach look.
With hair in Latin/Rhythm your hair must be out of your eyes/face. Most times girls can just have their bangs pulled back and banded.
In smooth your hair CANNOT move. Put it in a bun, a French roll, braided and tucked under, etc. Crystal combs can be used as well as screw in hair crystals. Just make sure they are not too heavy, you don’t want them to fall out when you do tango.
If your hair is too short to look good pulled back and braided you can always use a hair piece. Just be sure to put a hair net over that one area (not your entire head) and attach crystal combs and crystals hair screws. Get a good instant freeze hair spray and use liberally.