10 Helpful Hints for Competition Dance Parents!
If you are new to the competition dance world or your child has recently taken up dance and you are not quite sure where to start….. Fear Not!!! Here is a little guide to help ensure you will make it through the seasons competitions easy breezy and have a lot of fun in the process!
Competitions Are Not Like What You See On TV!
The fighting, the yelling, the crying, the stress, the fatigue, the press, the drama… Not exactly an accurate picture of competitions. HOWEVER; you may see some of that because after all there will be many dancers in the building who have worked very hard for an unfortunate result and that can be upsetting. But, the scene is not quite as high-maintenance as you may think. SO! Just relax and breathe easy. It is going to be fun!
2. YouTube Videos Are Your Friend!
Whether it be how to do a competition dance bun, how to put on dance make-up, watching competition dances to be familiar with the atmosphere, seeing the music lyrics to comprehend the story of what your child is dancing to, whatever it may be YouTube is your new best friend. Use it, it is so helpful and there is no shame, guarantee every dance parent does it at one time or another. YouTube is your friend!
3. Company Dancers Work Hard
If your child is a company dancer then they will most likely be taking classes 3-5 nights a week. Sometimes that can be overwhelming and exhausting especially for young bodies. But, coming from someone who was a dancer for 12 years, I would not take much of it back. It is worth it. Some days you might not think so, but it is totally worth it. Your child will be working hard, there will be pressure, they will be dancing a lot, and your dancer will get tired. But, the practice of this sport does so much more than just make you a decent dancer. It teaches you how to work with people, how to work hard, how to take care of your body, how to be a good student, how to be a supportive friend, and a helpful teammate, etc. It is worth the hard work!
4. Technique Over Tricks!
If you are wondering why your dancer has to sign up for so many ballet classes to be in company it is because technique is SO important at competitions. A team of dancers can go on stage and do 100 back flips, but if their technique is off they probably will not place very high. If your dancer is worried about not being the best turner, or having the greatest flexibility, or all of the tricks in the book…..it is OK! Practice technique and the rest will come soon enough! Tricks do not always matter!
5. Less is Not More!
At competitions you are going to see a lot of sweet little girls in sparkly bikini tops and booty shorts. That is ok. BUT, elegance is divine. Take pride in age appropriate costumes. The judges actually enjoy elegance from time to time! One of the highest scores I ever got at a competition was for a dance where I wore a black knee length long sleeved dress. It was not a flashy costume and I was appropriately covered up and still got a very good score. Elegance gains points….. and respect!
6. PACK EVERYTHING!
Bobbi-pins, hair ties, hair nets, extra tights, extra water bottles, hairspray, make up, breathe mints, etc. STOCK UP! Your child may have everything they need, but someone else is bound to forget something. It always happens. Bring extra of everything to your competition just in case. Something always goes missing, someone cannot find their stuff in enough of a hurry, and something got left in the car. It will always be something. It is always best to be prepared, better safe than sorry!
7. Get Lots of Rest!
During the competition weekend you are looking at about 2-3 days of straight dance. It is an exhausting but fun environment. SO, make sure to get lots of sleep! Dancers are even known for taking blankets and pillows to competitions and sleeping in between dances. NO SHAME! Make sure coming up to the weekend that you and your dancer’s body is well rested and ready to go for a long weekend!
8. Potty, Potty, Potty!
I know this may seem obvious but dancers do often forget in the rush of things to use the restroom before they go on stage…. Before your dancer puts tights and costumes on, GO TO THE RESTROOM! There is nothing worse than having your tights and costume on and at the last minute, right before you have to go on stage, realizing you have to use the restroom. It is distracting and it makes it VERY hard to dance. Before each dance use the restroom!!!
9. The Parent Tribe!
It is no secret that dance parents are a tribe! This is a good thing. Become friends with the other parents, especially if you are a new competition parent! The other parents will take you under their wing and help a friend out. It is not just true with moms, but with dads too. Lots of dads at the studio are friends with the other parents as well. Become friends with your tribe because they are the ones who understand your life as a dance parent and let me tell you, you are going to need that!
10. What To Expect
There will be lots of emotions, lots of glitter, lots of fake eyelashes, and lots of hairspray! This may be your thing, it may not be… That is OK because competitions are a lot of fun and so worth the experience. Growing up I was not necessarily the fake eyelash, extra glitter, gucci faced dancer. However, I loved my time as a competitive dancer and it made me a better performer. I had such a blast and it strengthened me not only as a person but as a dancer. Whether it is your cup of tea or not it is still a very good time and a huge growth experience. So, enjoy it!!
Have fun, enjoy the day, and ignore the mood swings. Competitions are to be enjoyed. Smile and your dancer will smile too!