How to Get Ready for a Dance Competition: The Dance Parent’s Competition Survival Guide
Need to know how to get ready for a dance competition? Check out these resources we’ve put together so that you and your stars are ready to hit the big stage!
Pre-Preparation: 2-3 Months Out
We say “pre-preparation” because competition season should be on your calendar WAY before the week of the big day(s). Your dance studio staff will be doing research, confirming details with the competition staff, and relaying information to you as they get it.
So, be sure to read any and all news updates as they get to you! That way you can be:
- Putting the dates on your calendar
- Planning to take off work dates as necessary
- Researching travel details (flights, routes, rentals, hotels, arrival times, etc)
Also, make sure to reinforce good eating habits with your dancer(s). Dancers are athletes, so they should be eating well anyway, but it’s especially important to have them strong and healthy going into an important event where they represent their studio.
You can see some of our recommendations for good nutrition for dancers here.
Preparation: 3-4 Weeks Out
It’s ALWAYS better to be safe than sorry, and by digging in and figuring out the small details early, you’ll leave yourself some wiggle room for those last-minute emergencies.
One of the easiest ways to make sure you have everything you need for an upcoming competition is to:
- Do your research (ask your dance teachers for suggestions, and check the internet for recommendations from other dance parents or guides)
- Make your giant list of things, and maybe coordinate with other dance parents to buy items in bulk and split some costs of supplies
- Find a way to put all your supplies into one easy, organized container
Our Dance Competition Survival Kit guide lays out some of the best ideas we’ve found for building your all-in-one dance competition station, and has been updated with suggestions from real dance teachers and parents who have been to competitions before and know their stuff.
More or less, the supplies you’ll need break down into:
- Dance stuff (costumes, accessories, clothing changes, “fix-it” items)
- Makeup stuff (yes, it has its own category, based on the complexity of your dancer’s getup and hair)
- First Aid/Health stuff (to fix up scrapes, help headaches, etc)
- Healthy snacks for you and your dancer to eat throughout the day
- Personal comfort items (coffee thermos, light jacket, phone charger, water)
The Day Of
On the day of competition, you and the rest of the studio’s dancers and parents will all be running around, trying to make sure you’re in the right place at the right time. There’s so much going on at a competition!
Before you get caught up in the commotion of the day, make sure that you as a parent have taken a step back and recognized that the day isn’t about you: it’s about your dancer!! And dancers, especially those who might be attending some of their first few competitions, are the ones who will suffer the most if they get stressed out and upset.
You can address dancers’ stress and help them get through tricky competition problems with some of these tips about 5 Common Dance Competition Crises.
Prior to the competition, it’ll be a good idea to practice applying makeup so you have a feel for the various types of makeup, and how much you’ll need to use to make sure it sticks throughout the performance. That way, once you’re there and in the dressing rooms, there won’t be any guessing.
Plus, there’s a good chance that someone who hasn’t practiced may need a helping hand, so it’s a good idea to know what you’re doing so you can help out someone on your dance team.
Follow the Teacher/Leader
The teachers are the pros. They’ve done the competition thing many times, both as teachers and (very likely) as performers! Look to them and pay attention to their directions.
Like we mentioned earlier, the day of competition will be full of noise, distractions, and probably some complaining here and there. Have your schedule, have some kind of communication plan in place (some studios use a messaging app or group text), and follow your teachers’ leads.
Make A Checklist – For Things and To-Do’s
Your Daily Dance has a great printable checklist that fits onto a regular sheet of computer paper, and can definitely cover most if not all of your bases (depending on your particular dancer’s needs and the competition you’re going to).
Finally, take a deep breath. Taking your dancer to competition is a lot of work! But few things are as rewarding as seeing your dancer have the time of their life on stage and come home with a new sense of achievement.
If you haven’t already seen it, check out “A Dance Mom’s Prayer for Competition Day” from Your Daily Dance: it’s amazing.