It's the most wonderful time of the year.  You've been driving back + forth to the studio for months preparing for the big stage.  Nerves are at an all time high.  Here are some tips to make your experience (and your dancer's) the best it can be.


Making a list of essentials ahead of time will make sure you're off to a great start.  Not just for the competition, but for the hotel as well.  Don't forget the essentials like easy snacks, make up wipes and a dancer emergency kit!  

Pro tip:  Have a spreadsheet of each routine.  Put every item you need for each routine including hair pieces, shoes + tights into a garment bag and label it.  This will make quick changes so much easier.



Get into the habit of shopping ahead of time.  About a month prior, make sure you have all of the items you will need.  Do NOT wait until the day before to pack! 

Pro tip:  Hang all of your garment bags on your competition bag and double check that you have everything.  During the competition, have your child throw everything INTO the competition bag so that you aren't missing shoes when you get home.  Don't worry about organizing now.  Save that task for when you get home.  After the competition, re-assemble everything like you're leaving again tomorrow.  Inspect tights for runs and make sure you aren't missing anything essential.  Taking care of this now will save you a lot of stress later, especially if you need to find or replace an item.



Have the times of each routine jotted down.  I used a spreadsheet!  Most studios have a required time to be there.  Plan out how long it will take you to get ready and start even earlier than that!  Things happen.  

Pro tip:  Figure out what time you need to start getting ready and add 30-45 minutes to that time.  If you're a little early, it will give you time to warm up and relax before the fun begins!


Don't beat yourself up!  Competitions are LONG and exhausting for everyone involved.  Stress levels are at an all-time high - between makeup and hair changes, dancer attitudes and tears - We have all said or done something we have regretted at a competition, especially to our dancers.  I have stories for days on this one!  It's OK.  Take a minute, apologize and move on.  

Pro tip:  Figure out your dancers needs and wants.  As a teacher, it was hard for me to keep my commentary to myself.  She argued if I said she did well.  She cried if I said she needed improvement.  I finally realized she was just like me - an "in the zone" kind of girl.  She just wanted quiet.  Every dancer is different, so don't take it personally if and when they don't need you any more.  


Finally, remember why you are there!  The years fly by and before you know it, you'll be watching their last performance.  Have fun!  Winning is amazing, but the memories you create are even better.


Get the spreadsheet HERE


March 06, 2023 — Courtney Little

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