Ask any parent that has been to a dance competition, it can be very stressful. Those same parents will tell you, though, that their child had a blast and they loved watching their child dance. Having a great experience all depends on being organized and then rolling with the punches when something goes wrong. Here are eight tips to set you up for a great experience.
- Ask experienced parents for advice and tips – The best place to start is with people who have been there before. Ask what they do to stay organized and what mistakes they have made in the past. It’s always better to learn from the experience of others than to just wing it.
- Use checklists – Make a list of everything you need to bring. A list is a lot of work the first time you create it, but you can modify and reuse the list for future competitions. You can find our competition packing list here. A separate list of each costume, shoes and accessories that your dancer needs is handy to bring along in your bag to make sure everything comes home with you as well.
- Label everything – Literally label everything: costumes, shoes, water bottle, etc. There are literally hundreds of people at each competition and things get misplaced and mixed up. Be sure to have your name on items so they can easily be returned.
- Plan extra time – Always plan to be in the dressing room ready to go at least two hours before your first dance. Parking and finding your way to the dressing room can often take an additional 30 minutes so plan accordingly.
- Dress accordingly – Venues can vary greatly in temperature so dressing in layers is a good ideas. You may also get a little warm running back and forth to the dressing room too. Speaking of running, comfortable shoes are also a good choice.
- Pack snacks and water – Both you and your dancer will need to stay fed and hydrated. Pack nonperishable snacks that will not cause a mess and drink plenty of water.
- Bring a large bag or backpack – You will be hauling items around with you all day. It is much easier to carry them in one bag. This also comes in handy if you walk to a nearby restaurant to order takeout.
- Stay positive – Every competition has challenges. Remember to stay positive for your dancer. Competition is not about winning; it is about dancers doing their best and learning and growing. Most importantly, it is about having fun!