A Parent’s Survival Guide to Your First Dance Competition
If you are new to dance competitions, it may be a nerve racking experience at first, but here are some tips, tricks and resources to help you get through this long, difficult but very rewarding weekend.
Be sure to talk to your dancer about helping you prepare a Dance Competition Check List. Young or old, this check list will ensure you have everything you need. Bringing extra hair supplies, makeup, safety pins, costumes, appropriate shoes are just a start. Packing spare tights (in each color needed) and comfortable warm up attire is important for before and after the competition. You should wear warm up pants, shirt, company jacket, leotard and tights when not in costume.
During the competition, there can be hardly any time at all for a big planned meal. The best thing to do is to bring healthy snacks that can be kept in your dancers bag or outside the theater for breakfast and lunches. Many venues do not allow outside food inside performance areas AT ALL. In that case, a cooler with packed lunches or a quick run to the sandwich shop is your best bet. Who doesn’t like a tailgate? Some other healthy snack ideas are; apples, peanut butter, grapes, nuts, yogurt, granola bars, pretzels or carrot sticks.
Look up the parking situation at the event location, often times there are specific parking areas. Also, bring extra cash with you because there can be fees or cash meters, and they WILL tow.
Upon arriving, you will come across assigned waiting and dressing areas for the dancers separated by studio. All dancers are required to share dressing space in a courteous and respectful manner. It is best to send your dancer with a quiet activity such as a book or private listening device so they can be going over their routine in their head.
At this point, as a parent, you are to enter the theater and find a place to camp out. Bring books, tablets, or work to keep you busy in between your dancers performances. Remember not to enter or exit the theater during someone else’s number. Spirited comradery for your child’s studio is very good, but remember participating in excessive yelling is not proper theater etiquette either, you are at a performance, not a sporting event. Coordinating with other parents to make t-shirts and signs is a great way to show support and team spirit!
When it comes times for awards, it is important that your dancer knows that where they place isn’t the sole reason for doing competition. The main goal is to improve at each competition. At the awards ceremony, all winners deserve attention and cheers when it’s time for them to accept the awards.
After each performance, be proud of your dancer for getting up on stage and doing their best. Tell them that each competition will get easier and more successful with time.