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Tag: dance moms

How to Get Ready for a Dance Competition: The Dance Parent’s Competition Survival Guide

how to get ready for a dance competition

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.

Creating a Dance Competition Survival Kit

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.

Dance competition

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.

Competition Makeup

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.


5 Money Saving Tips for Dance Moms on a Budget

dance moms

As a dance mom, you’re constantly running around with your dancers making sure they get to practice, are prepared for recitals and have all of the essentials they need to be at their best. In short, it can be exhausting and take up a lot of your time. It can also take up a lot of your money. Between studio fees, the cost of transportation and costume prices, things can add up quickly, and you might not have the money to spend on all these items. So what are dance moms to do? Budget, of course! Consider these five money-saving tips if you’re on a tight budget.

1. Lay out the Costs

The first thing you need to do as a dance mom is determine the cost of each necessary expense. For instance, you might want to lay out the monthly cost of studio tuition, as well as the average costs of shoes, costumes and hair and makeup products. Creating a monthly budget will help keep you on track in the long run and allow you to determine whether certain costs are worth it or need to be cut from the budget. Factor in other bills that you might have, including daily living and housing costs.

You don’t want to be short on your mortgage payment because you splurged somewhere else. Over time, you’ll become mindful of where you should and shouldn’t be spending money, helping you save money as you avoid spending on unnecessary items. With a firm budget in place, you might notice you’ll have money left over each month that can be added to your savings account.

2. Pay Yourself

At the end of the day, it’s important to pay yourself too, according to Dance Moms’ mom Melissa Gisoni. She noted in one money-saving video the importance of saving up when you first are given your paycheck. Her move? Envelopes.

Gisoni will stow away any extra money in envelopes, and then will hide them to avoid spending the money elsewhere. Eventually, the money will add up and can be used toward any extra expenses, such as a last-minute costume or a new pair of dance shoes. This is a good way to force yourself to save money, as you will not think – or see –  the extra money you might have, preventing you from spending it.

3. Don’t Say ‘Yes’ to Your First Option

When shopping for dance, it’s important to not settle for the first item you find. This is especially crucial if you have to buy more expensive costumes through your studio. Look online and compare prices for dance shoes, leotards and other items you might need. Use websites such as RetailMeNot, which gives you the latest coupons and savings on websites.

If you’re really on a tight budget, consider getting gently used dance items from a local dance store, a consignment shop, dance community groups, Craigslist or EBay. You’d be surprised by the quality items you can find through these secondhand retailers. This way, you’ll save money by finding affordable, budget-friendly costumes that prevent you from spending money you might not have.

4. Pay up Front

Your budget may vary from month to month, especially when the holidays and recital week come around. If this is the case, it may be smarter to pay up front, especially when it comes to big payments such as monthly studio membership dues. Find out what financial plans are offered through the studio, and whether they would let you pay the full value up front.

Many dance studios will actually offer parents a discount if they choose to pay in advance.  That way, each month is taken care of without you having to worry about late bills or trying to find the means to pay. Of course, make sure you have the means to cover this payment before going through with it.

5. Plan Ahead

Planning ahead can also help you save a lot of money on dance costs. For instance, if you know your dancer will need new shoes within a few months and you have a little extra money now, buy them and wait to give them to him or her down the road. The same goes for buying other items out of season, which can really help you cut costs as these items might be discounted or more affordable. Anticipating costs down the road can help you plan and make the right decisions now.