This one is for the dancers. Competition season is upon us, which brings on a whole variety of emotions. Excitement, pride, nervousness, stress, fear… Hmm, that took a turn.
As an old studio dancer myself, and now an instructor, I’m a veteran of the dance competition scene. I love the anticipation and the bustle and the joy. When attending competition year after year, you learn a few things about how to make it through. Here’s how to survive the chaos that is dance competition season.
Lists, lists, lists
Packing lists, costume lists, lists of dances, the competition schedule, etc, etc, etc… This is really a great tip for life in general. I have yet to think of a downside for having lists.
Every once in a while, you look at your clock during competition and realise you haven’t eaten a thing for nine hours. I know, time creeps up on you when you’re inside the theatre all day rushing between different dances, changing costumes, re-curling hair, warming up, performing, standing up for adjudication, doing it all over again… I know.
The trick is to always have a bottle of water on hand (I’ve found that really helpful in this month’s wellness challenge), and always be packing quick, healthy, non-drippy (please, for the love of all that is good do not spill on your costume!!!) snacks.
It’s also a good idea to look at your schedule the day before and figure out ahead of time when you can grab a meal. Plan ahead, and then write it on one of your various lists. See above point.
Know how to fly by the seat of your pants
Things come up at dance competition. Changing schedules, unfortunate injuries, and forgotten costumes pieces are just a few examples (although I really hope you don’t forget part of your costume because you will have checked your costume list, nudge nudge…).
You need to be able to accept the chaos and figure out a way to ride the wave to safety. This involves thinking on the spot, getting creative with problem solving, and asking for and giving help. You can do it! You have a team of dancers, moms, and teachers backing you up.
Be considerate towards every single person you see at competition. Every single person.
People to be considerate towards include your team mates, your mom, your teacher, competition volunteers, adjudicators, audience members, anybody affiliated with any studio, literally every man, woman, child, dog, and cat in the building. If you had a list of people you should be considerate towards (because lists are very important!), it would say: Everyone.
Ways to be considerate: say thank you to anyone who helps you, wait your turn, don’t say anything that would make you feel awkward if it was posted online, be a generally polite and kind human being. Also good advice for life in general!
Go to bed
I know everybody is all wound up after the last session of the day finishes at 10 pm and you’re all hungry and want to party and all that. But know your limits. You gotta get some shut-eye so you’re functional and ready to dance at 7:00 tomorrow morning.
Have fun on this crazy ride
Dance competition is my favourite time of year, and I think a lot of people feel that way. It’s exciting! All that hard work dancers have put in is finally coming together. It’s a rush of performance jitters, team bonding, and those magical moments where everything just falls into place on stage. It’s a hard and stressful time, but it’s also where some of the best memories are made.
Good luck to everybody heading out to dance competition, or whatever competition or tournaments you take part in, and we’ll see you on the other side!