Competition season is an exciting and demanding time of the year. Long hours of practices and rehearsals, weekends dedicated to rhinestoning costumes, and time spent on perfecting stage hair and makeup, all make it seem like there is an endless amount of prep needed. Here are some essential tips to help you get ready and to make sure you are prepared for unforeseen dance-related emergencies!
1. Train Case or Caboodle
Investing in a good quality makeup or train case is one of the best things a dancer can do to make sure they are organized and prepared for dance competitions (especially out-of-town events that make you bring your entire hair and makeup station with you on the road).
A good case will ensure that your hair pins are separate from your rhinestones earrings, that your hairnets won’t get tangled in with your fake eyelashes, and that your classic red lipstick will be in the same place you left it before you went on stage.
2. Glitter Spray
A shimmer or glitter spray is the
perfect accessory for young dancers in jazz and tap routines, or, for any dancer looking to add a bit of sparkle to their performance. Products that can be used both in your hair and on your body are best so that you don’t need to bring multiple bottles along with you.
Makeup wipes, or simple soap and water is all you need to wash this off after you are done dancing.
3. Clear Garment Bag
Most dance costumes come with accessories: a hair piece, the right tights (sometimes multiple pairs), shoes, and undergarments. Keeping all of those pieces organized and in a safe place can sometimes seem impossible – especially when you have quick changes – so using a clear garment bag with a few pockets is the best solution to this! It helps you to separate all of the pieces.
The best part is that it is see-through, so you can do a quick check before leaving the house that you have everything you need.
4. Emergency Sewing Kit
An emergency sewing kit is an absolute must-have. No one plans for tights or a costume to rip, but having a needle and thread nearby can be a life-saver when a dancer is just about to go on stage.
Here are the basics for your emergency sewing kit:
- Thread in a few basic colours like black, white, and tan.
- Several sewing needles.
- Safety pins in various sizes.
- Small scissors.
5. Body Glue and Double Sided Tape
A great fitting costume may not stay on quite so well when the dancers is moving on stage. Leg openings can ride up, straps can fall down, necklines can slide and so on.
If your studio doesn’t have a showcase or a run-through day, we recommend dancing in your costumes at home and checking that they stay-put. If you have any concern about your costume covering the parts its meant to, the solution is body glue or double-sided-tape.
Body glue is ideal for adhering the costume to your bare skin.
(ie. necklines to your chest, or straps to your shoulders)
Double-sided-tape is great for adhering material to material.
(ie. taping the leg opening of a bodysuit to the tights you are wearing underneath)
Dance competition venues don’t always have ideal floor surfaces for dancing on (especially in dance shoes that can be slippery, such as canvas ballet slippers, tap shoes and pointe shoes). You spent too much time working on your dance to let a bad floor get in the way of a great performance.
Rosin for dancers is similar to the rosin musicians use on bows. It adds friction, which is great when faced with dancing on a slick floor.
Most venues don't supply rosin so it's a good idea to have your own personal supply of rosin.
7. Extra Pair of Tights
Have an extra pair of tights (in each of the colours you use) in case you snag the tights you're wearing and get a run in them. A back-up pair of tights in your dance bag will save you the horror of having to go on stage with a giant hole in the middle of your leg.
Also handy when you (or one of your friends) realize at the last minute that your regular tights somehow didn't get packed into your dance bag when you were heading out.
8. Makeup and Foot Wipes
Anyone who has completed a day-long dance competition knows how bad wearing heavy stage makeup can be for skin. Makeup wipes take off the heavy makeup and give your skin a rest until you can get home and properly wash your face.
Dancers have a questionable habit of wearing nothing on their feet when walking around the dance competition venue. Foot wipes are a great way to clean your feet before putting your socks and shoes on to go home. A refreshing wipe is the least that your sore feet deserve after everything they've been through at the competition.
9. Warmup Wear
Keeping your muscles warm is extremely important, especially when you have several routines throughout the day. Muscles that stay warm are less likely to become injured. A great way to stay warm is to wear warmup clothes.
Sweat pants or harem pants are perfect because they are loose and will fit over top of many costumes. Zip-up style hoodies are the best option for a top, because they won't ruin your hair or makeup like a pullover sweater might.
An added bonus is a that warmup wear is great for keeping your costume and tights clean!
10. Warmup Booties
Warmup booties serve the same purpose that warmup clothing does – to keep your muscles warm before you go on stage. They come in funky patterns like fuzzy leopard! Warmup booties are great to keep your feet muscles and ankles loose and warm.
When buying warmup booties, get a size larger than what you would typically wear. This way you can keep your jazz, ballet, lyrical or pointe shoes on inside of the booties. You'll be ready to dance and your dance shoes will stay clean.
11. Nude Undergarments
Some materials and fabrics might seem fine while backstage, but once on stage under the bright stage-lights they become see through! An easy way to avoid any unwanted exposure is to put on a nude underliner, or beige bra underneath all costumes. Especially white or light coloured ones.
Nude suits and undergarments are also great for quick changes in crowded change rooms without much privacy. They ensure that you are covered up, even while you are changing costumes.
12. Personal Need Items
The last few items that are absolute must-haves in your competition dance bag, are drug-store essentials:
- Tylenol or Advil
- eye drops
- clear nail polish
These are the kinds of things that help make the weekends at competition a little more stress-free and comfortable. Buy these things brand new at the start of each competitive season to make sure you are fully prepared!
Having this kit of emergency items on-hand will make your experience at dance competitions go as smoothly as possible. When you don't have to worry about the little things you are free to concentrate on dancing the best you can. All of your hard work, dedication, and practice are finally paying off.
Now, be prepared for dancers and dance moms to be asking to borrow from your ultimate and fully stocked competition survival kit!
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