Top 10 Competition Essentials
By: Paige St. John (@uda_paige)
Competition season is just around the corner and soon your dance bag will be full of costumes, makeup, and all the performance essentials! Between the rhinestones and poms, your bag will fill quickly, and you will definitely want to stay organized to prepare for any quick changes that may be thrown your way. Have no fear! Here are some competition season hacks to get you through:
- Separate your costumes. Place all the components of your costumes into designated Ziploc bags, keeping accessories and undergarments together as well. Fold your costumes nicely and be sure to remove excess air from the sealed bag to ensure ample packing room. Prefer to hang your costumes? No worries! Punch a hole through a Ziploc bag and hook the bag onto the hanger. Inside the bag should be the accessories and undergarments specific to that outfit!
- Stay fresh! As the season pushes on, sweat piles up and our dance bags tend to need a wash or two. To prevent your bag from loosing that “Christmas in July” smell, place a few dryer sheets inside and replace them as frequently as needed. Additionally, consider packing your shoes in mesh laundry bags, to help regulate air flow.
- Lock your bobby pins up tight. Have you ever experienced runaway bobby pins? To prevent the loss of these tiny, but essential, tools, empty an old candy or breath mint container, such as for Tic-Tacs. Place your bobby pins inside! They will fit perfectly and because of the small opening at the top of the container, they have a smaller chance of escaping.
- Keep clear nail polish handy. Tights can be fragile, especially as you are rushing between quick changes. To quickly tend to any holes or runs that may appear, brush clear nail polish over the effected area. This will help to save time and money in the future – which is especially helpful for the busy schedules of performance season!
- Create your own First Aid kit. Still have your old pencil pouch from last school year? Or perhaps you own a travel soap dish container? Repurpose these items into a compact First Aid kit designed specifically for you! Some great items to keep handy include Band-Aids, pain relievers, alcohol wipes, and Tiger Balm.
- Snack often. Performance days and competitions can be exhausting, and often leave little time for full meals. However, when you are constantly moving, your metabolism will be working on the double and it is important to continuously fuel your body in the right ways. Pack a few healthy snacks, such as nuts, fruits (bananas, grapes, etc.), pretzels, and granola bars, to ensure that you are getting sufficient amounts of proteins and carbohydrates amidst your busy schedule.
- All aboard Hydration Station! Be sure to hydrate throughout the day, which can be easily accomplished with the use of a reusable water bottle. Talk with your teammates and designate one person to call for a “Water Break” after each performance, warm-up, practice, etc. When your teammate calls, hold each other accountable to switch out the phone in your hand with a water bottle for a small period of time, perhaps a minute or two. These breaks are also the perfect opportunity to replenish electrolytes with Gatorade!
- The world is your dance floor and you are the DJ. Create a go-to playlist for competition season. Some essential jams may include your routine music, as well as songs that get you excited to share with the audience all that you have been working on throughout the season! Perhaps the playlist ranges from old school throwbacks to catchy Top 40s hits. Either way, listening to it will help boost your energy and, before you know it, you’ll find yourself dancing like no one is watching! You may even consider making a collaborative playlist with your team – a great team bonding exercise and a way to boost the enthusiasm of the entire group!
- Recovery is key. Take the time to cool down and care for your body between performances. A good item to have in your bag is a tennis ball or golf ball, each fairly small and easy to pack. These items are perfect for rolling out muscles and getting to those deeper sore spots that you may not reach while stretching.
- Good vibes only. These times can be stressful, and dancers tend to be hard on themselves. To keep yourself in a healthy and positive mindset, challenge yourself to identify one positive aspect of each rehearsal, warm-up, or performance. Keep either a small journal, a packet of Post-Its, or a note in your phone of all of these experiences. When the season is over, enjoy taking a look back at all of the amazing things you accomplished!