For those involved in dance extension programs, a dance competition is the opportunity to showcase all the hard work and preparation they have undertaken during classes and rehearsals. It’s also a unique opportunity for dancers to enjoy their moment on stage in the spotlight. But it can be an overwhelming time for both dancer and parent. Particularly if you are competing for the very first time.
Our dance studio in Wangaratta is proud to have been involved in multiple competitions over the years, and we are proud of our students’ achievements. Competitive dance allows our students to be challenged and take their dancing to the next level. Along with this comes a great sense of achievement and enjoyment. But as daunting as competition day may seem (particularly your first one), it doesn’t need to be.
We’ve put together a quick list of dos and don’ts to make sure you and your dancer get the most out of the dance competition experience. And most of all, enjoy it!
Do prepare well
Practice and rehearsal are keys to easing the pressure on competition day. Giving your best both in class and at home will ensure you know your routine and you are ready come game day. Preparing for the actual competition day is important too. Packing your bag the night before and double-checking things such as costumes, shoes, tights, makeup, hair accessories, music, water, and snacks will allow you to feel less rushed on the morning of the competition.
Don’t be late
Arriving on time is not only important so you don’t feel rushed and stressed, but it is also respectful to your teachers, team-mates, and organisers. The running schedule at a competition is tight and leaves little room for error. Everyone including dancers, teachers, parents, and organisers want things to run smoothly. Arriving on time is doing your bit to make this happen.
Do warm up
Arriving on time – or even early if possible- is essential to give yourself plenty of time to warm up, stretch and run through your routines. Just as in dance classes warming up is an important element to warm up the body and get the blood flowing to the muscles so you can perform at your best.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
If you’re not sure where your dressing room is, where the backstage entrance is, or what time you need to be backstage, don’t be afraid to ask! Yes, it might feel that everyone is running around busy and you don’t want to annoy anyone, but your dance teachers are there for you. They want you to know exactly where you need to be and what you need to be prepared for your time on stage.
Do have a positive attitude
Dance competitions allow you to perform at an elite level, competing against other like-minded dance-loving peers, but they are also meant to be fun. You are there because you love dance, love performing, and love being on stage. Having a positive attitude and smiling are the best things you can bring to your performance.
Don’t let the nerves get to you
It is natural to feel nervous before you take to the stage, particularly if it’s your very first time. Knowing you are well prepared and have practiced goes a long way to helping you to overcome the nerves. Taking deep breaths and remembering why you are here – because you love to dance – will also help keep those nerves at bay. Whatever nervous energy you have left before you step out on stage can be used to bring your best to the performance.
Do do your best
It’s rare that a dance performance is perfect. Even professional dancers make minor errors on stage. All your teacher asks of you every time you step on stage is to do your best, hold your head high, smile, and let your love of dance and movement shine through. If you can walk off stage knowing that you have done that, then you have done yourself, your parents, and your teachers proud.
Don’t be disheartened
If you don’t dance as well as you think you should have, or if your results from the adjudicator aren’t what you hoped for, don’t be disheartened. Everyone has ups and downs, good days and bad days. And every competition is different, with different adjudicators and different competitors. Your results should give you motivation to keep working hard, learn from your mistakes, and are great opportunities to track your progress.
Do be supportive and respectful
Dance competitions are meant to be fun and everyone is there for the same experience and reason. Be supportive not only of your fellow team members but also those from other studios. Smile, be polite, remember your manners, and be respectful not critical of others. Dance comps are great places to meet new people and make lifelong friendships so be
courteous and friendly, and everyone will have a great experience.
Don’t forget to thank your teachers! And your parents!
Do have an amazing experience that you will cherish forever!