What to Expect at Dance Competitions

It is less than one week away from the first dance competition of the season. All the dancers are working hard to perfect every step of their dances in hopes of achieving a Platinum ranking. They are working on their “dance faces”, keeping their arms straight, and making sure their feet make all the sounds they are supposed to. For some, this will be the first competition they have ever danced in, others have been dancing in competitions as long as they have been in school.

Thinking back to last year, I remember going in to competition season a bit clueless. After the season was over, I wrote a post about some of the things I learned. Here are a few things to keep in mind as competition season is underway:

*DO NOT take pictures while your dancers are dancing on stage. I can’t stress this enough! Most of the competitions have photographers taking action pictures. You can order these later. Having your own pictures on your own camera is not worth having your dancer disqualified! You can take pictures back stage, and during the awards ceremony, but NOT while they are dancing.

*Make sure you have plenty of rest time built into competition weekends (easier said than done, I know). Sometimes, competitions may run ahead of, or behind schedule. Make sure your dancer is there and ready at the time the studio recommends. Often, this will be 1 1/2-2 hours earlier than their scheduled dance time. This may mean very early mornings. Do not plan late nights at hotels – last year, we experienced more than one meltdown due to the extremely early mornings (and not just from my dancer).

*Make sure your dancer has enough to eat and drink. Breakfast is important. Your child will need the energy to dance, smile, and thoroughly enjoy the day. You will also want to have snacks and water available. A hungry or thirsty dancer will not be at his/her best.

*Though this may seem obvious – make sure your child uses the rest room before going on stage. When someone REALLY has to go to the bathroom, it is hard to concentrate on dancing their best.

*Be prepared for long days, long waiting times, and sometimes, hurried schedules. Our girls are scheduled to dance three times in less than an hour. If you consider the waiting back stage, dancing, getting back and forth to/from the dressing area, and costume changes, this makes for a rushed and stressful schedule. Try to keep calm, and just be helpful. Have a plan for those waiting times. Are you going to leave to grab a bite to eat before coming back for awards, are you going to stay and watch other dancers?

*Try not to push your dancer too hard. You want the dancers to have fun and to do their best. You don’t want them to be so stressed out that it isn’t fun any more. We all want to see our dancers get high scores, we want to see them earn pins, plaques, and trophies. We want them to best represent their studios. Most of all, we want our dancers to have fun! If they aren’t enjoying themselves, then what’s the point of having them there?

*Be prepared to hear Justin Bieber (or other “bubble gum pop” music) during awards ceremonies. During the competitions, you will hear all sorts of music you love, and music you hate. Embrace it. Enjoy the dances, and the artistry it takes to both perform and choreograph them.

*When my husband came to his first competition last year, he was overwhelmed by the amount of sparkles, glitter, and rhinestones. He was also surprised by the amounts of makeup, and fake eyelashes that even the youngest girls had on. This is just part of the competition world. The dancers want to wow the judges. Stage lighting is less than flattering for most skin tones, makeup helps their smiles really beam; sparkles help the costumes pop!

*Even at the largest venue, space feels limited. You are sure to find groups practicing their dances in any open space they can find. Be patient and understanding, they just want to make sure they are 110% ready!

*Have fun. Your dancer will feel all sorts of emotions: scared, excited, happy, sad, silly… enjoy the day; ignore the mood swings! Your sanity will thank you! Competitions are to be enjoyed. SMILE, and your dancers will smile too!

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Star Systems Dance Competition 2013 | My Life as a Dancem0m
  2. Chloe Brooks
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 11:05:22

    Yeah,sparkles, glitter, makeup
    thats not even half of what you need….


  3. BrokenheartXSilverBlade 11
    Aug 02, 2016 @ 03:38:23

    How many dances can a dancer do her first year of competition?


    • Sarah S.
      Aug 02, 2016 @ 12:15:39

      It really depends on the studio, age of the dancer, level she will be competing at, etc. She may be in large groups, small groups, heck, even do a solo… My daughter’s first couple years, she did 3 dances in competition. The last couple of years, she’s done 5 or 6.


  4. Trackback: 8 Articles to Help You Win Big this Dance Competition Season -
  5. lesdanseusesacademy
    Apr 15, 2019 @ 23:49:55

    What an incredible article. As a ballet dance academy, I whole-heatedly believe that ballet needs to made a drastic change. I just created a website with a mission of to be recognized as a brand that is associated with high quality of technical training to all those who are passionate about ballet. – I’m hoping to connect with ballet dance lovers , and reveal some of the many things that the ballet world needs to change.
    Check it out if you’re interested 🙂 lesdanseusesacademy.com


  6. Trackback: Past Writings | My Life as a Dancem0m

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: