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A Day in the Life of a Professional Ballroom Dancer

# Dancesport

Hello, my Dance Vision family! I am Alise Borne and I'd like to think I have the best job(s) in the world. I work for Dance Vision (you might recognize my name as a blog author!), I am a Professional ballroom dancer, and am on my way to becoming a Nurse Practitioner. Here is a glimpse into my day competing as a professional ballroom dancer. 


Hello from Colorado! It's day two of Colorado Star Ball and I woke up two hours later than my normal—must have been those blackout curtains (perks of hotels!). I'm traveling with my dance partner, Jordan, and two other professional couples from our dance studio (we love traveling in our little group—it cuts costs and makes for more fun). While competition days for professionals vary, I'm here to share some of my tips and tricks with you which help me maintain a consistent routine, but also have a blast. This morning, it starts with drinking a big glass of water before my coffee, taking my morning vitamins, and doing my skincare routine. Colorado UberWe love traveling with dance friends! Here is Jordan (behind me) and our friend August (on the right) in the Uber.


After a failed attempt at grabbing breakfast at a local spot (we said no to the two and a half hour wait time 😬), we head down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. I am setting the foundation for the rest of my day with this meal, so my order is strategic: something similar to what I eat at home, and including protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. Today this was poached eggs, bacon, and potatoes. I had strawberries up in my room’s fridge that I planned on snacking on later (I always try to eat fruit and veggies in the morning if I can). 


I ditch my group for a coffee across the street at Caribou Coffee (my Midwestern friends love it, but I'd never been!) and head back to the hotel. We all meet in the lobby for a trail walk around our hotel because professionals typically we don't compete until the late evening. Our coach, Michael Johnson, encourages us to get out and do an activity at every competition. His theory is that we should take the opportunity to relax and get into a good headspace for our events. Today, our activity was a trail walk, but in other cities we also love museums and walking tours of cities. He has to frequently remind me that “shopping does not count” — ugh, he knows me well 😂.


I checked off my activity and now I can shop—just kidding! Over the years, my coaches taught me that a successful competition day is about consistency: you practice, so that what you do in the studio, can show up on the floor, regardless of the adversities that you may face while competing. My life at home is is nonstop, so I try to stay busy on competition days.  I choose a stroll around the hotel, check out the pool, and take a walk to Target. 


Jordan and I head down to the practice room— this is the most important ritual during competition day. I move my body and sink into the right headspace before I begin my process for hair and makeup. This solo time with Jordan helps us refocus on the goals we have set for the competition (PS, check out this blog I wrote about setting dance goals!). During this practice, we run a couple rounds and run over the kinks, though we do not change or fix things. This can be tempting, but realistically, these changes will not show up on the floor the same day. In fact, they will likely distract us from being able to let go and share our souls through the dance.


The end of practice marks my “airplane mode” period.  At this point, my phone is off limits (no scrolling social media, texting or calling) with a few exceptions: my coaches, my dance partner, and our travel group, as well as music. This helps me stay focused on myself and my dancing.  I do a little homework and watch a cooking show while I drink my electrolyte drink.

BoykoMakeup and hair time. I do my own makeup and hire the ballroom hair legend, Boyko, for a glamorous updo.


I start getting ready by applying self tanner. I first establish a base, even out the color, and add shine. I set my tan with a setting spray (trust me, it works wonders, and your tan goes NOWHERE) and move on to makeup, which I do myself.  My advice to other competitive dancers is to figure out what parts of getting ready you enjoy, then delegate the rest to others: that's why I have my hair done by a professional a little later in the day. While I get ready, I listen to set playlists, snack on a protein bar, drink plenty of water, and settle into comp-mode.


My hair takes a quick 15 minutes and I head back to my room. Ah, the ease of hiring someone who knows what they are doing 🤣If you can budget it in, I highly recommend it.

Boyko HairIts always so fun to see what beauty Boyko will create!


We head to the practice room, dressed in our costumes, and run a round. I’ll also do some simple yoga poses and sitting core exercises during this time.


In the ballroom I have a fast sugar, normally honey sticks and a protein shake, for a little energy before we dance. I bring water, my Airpods and lipstick for a fast touchup if needed. We had the BEST time dancing in Denver—the crowd was electric and both Richard and Jennifer Booth, the organizers, put on a fabulous dance competition.



When we finish, we stay to watch a couple friends in their events, and make our way back to the hotel room. I scarf down dinner, shower off all of my tan, hair and makeup, apply my skincare routine and relax as my dance group laughs and watches a movie. I drink water, take my vitamins, and go to bed. We have an early flight back to Salt Lake City tomorrow...I have a feeling I’ll be needing a coffee in the morning!

Competition weekends are exhausting - but so worth it. Thanks for taking this journey with me through a crazy day in my life!

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