Our first dance competition of the season is coming up soon.
Mads has been working hard in the studio but I’ve been slacking off as far as getting ready to go from the parent side.
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Getting things ready for competition used to take me a month! Now in our 4th season things are a little less hectic as we have a routine down.
If you are a first time competition parent first of all BREATHE…tell your kid to practice and trust that whatever happens its all good!
Secondly, start getting the “parent” duties taken care of!
If your head is spinning thinking about what needs to be done…
Here is a quick checklist to ensure you’re on the right track!
#1. Check Check Check the costumes, shoes and accessories!
Oh man this is my nightmare.
Getting somewhere 4 hours away and realizing we are missing a shoe or a hairpiece etc.
Its not like you can run out and buy any of this stuff. Maybe beginner ballet shoes at payless if you get lucky but for the most part this is a disaster.
I have seen this happen to members of our team, as well as other teams, and you don’t want to be worried about 1 member of a trio not having the right costume because it was accidentally left next to the front door at home.
The first thing I do is make a list. A BIG list.
I list every routine and under it every thing she needs on her body for it from the costume to the tights and type of shoes.
Then I lay out every costume, shoe and accessory and go item by item to make sure I have it.
Check any stones or anything else that was added on to ensure its secure. Check the shoes for cleanliness…Judges notice these things.
Once I acknowledge something is ready to go, I pack it.
#2. Make/Confirm your lodging accommodations.
Typically you will get the best rate by booking directly though the hotel and joining their rewards program.
I find that the rate is usually only a few dollars more than the hotel rate and with the hotels.com rewards program I get a free night after 10 nights. They add up so fast so for us its worth it.
Usually you’ll want to make your reservation AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
I’ve found the earlier I book the better rate I get. This is not always true though so even after booking early you should continue to shop around. I check rates up until my cancellation deadline.
You also want to book early to ensure you actually get a room. If its a popular competition in a small town the pickin’s will be slim!
Another tip for reserving for competition – ALWAYS CHOOSE THE REFUNDABLE RATE. Unless you really want to spend the whole weekend in McMinnville Oregon (Where the hell is that?) for no reason if your competition is cancelled, make sure you have an escape plan.
Typically these reservations cost $10-$15 more per night but its basically insurance against getting stuck with a $300-$400 reservation you don’t want and can’t get refunded. We have already had TWO competitions cancelled this year and both times members from our team were stuck with a non-refundable hotel room.
A must have for us in our room is a microwave and refrigerator. We tend to bounce back and forth between the venue and the hotel room depending on competition schedule. Eating a ton fast food is not only bad for your dancer its expensive for you!
Bring a small ice chest with sandwich stuff and easy snacks and eat out only for dinners etc. There are also several hotel chains that offer “suites” for really decent rates that include stoves and separate bedrooms. We always go for the extra room when the rate is comparable!
#3. Gather the emergency supplies.
I’m a worst case scenario kind of person.
If it can happen, I try to plan for it.
We have a first aid kit, a costume emergency kit, a snack bag for hunger emergencies, an emergency backup solo costume, etc.
I am not playing around.
I would rather take 10 things I didn’t need than need 1 thing I didn’t take.
#4. Get your Cameras, Chargers and Cash!
First…KNOW YOUR COMPETITION/VENUE PHOTO AND VIDEO POLICY.
I take my camera EVERYWHERE but most competitions do not allow personal photos or videos in the auditorium, even of your own kid.
Have to admit, I tried ONCE to sneak a video of one of her solos last year. Other parents do it all the time and I always buy the photos and videos of her routines anyhow. I have found the videos are difficult to share online and I wanted to be able to post it.
I attempted to be sly and hold my phone down low and I swear to you this man who was pushing 90 years old was in my face faster than I could hit the little red button. “There’s to be no video recording!” He yelled as my daughter was on stage.
It was embarrassing and distracting and I learned my lesson.
But that being said, some of my favorite competition photos are not the professional expensive stage shots, but the candid backstage shots I took of Mads and her friends, and I’m so glad I have them!
And if you are like me and always are doing something on your phone or taking a million photos with it at competition, do yourself a favor and get a power bank for your cell phone.
It fits in my bag easily and holds a ton of power. I don’t have to worry about my phone dying during the day.
I have this one:
Super important – Don’t forget cash.
I have encountered many little coffee stands inside competition venues that are cash only and let me tell you I NEEDED that caffeine.
Also if someone else on your team goes on a food run for everyone (we do this a lot) its so much easier for them and you to just give them cash.
Most of the time the competitions we attend are free to watch but we have attended one that had an entry fee and it was cash only – you don’t want to worry about not having any on the spot with 6 costumes in each hand.
At least try to!
NO ONE wants to be that mom hootin’ and hollerin’ about your daughters score or the judges backstage.
It doesn’t look well on you, your kid or your studio.
I know things get crazy tense and hectic sometimes but try to remember what it is all about – your kid challenging themselves and having fun.
You kid will feed off your emotions and attitude and will do much better if you are pleasant and relaxed!
See you at comp 😉