Preparing for Competition Season: 4 Tips from an experienced Dance Instructor

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Preparing for Competition Season: 4 Tips from an experienced Dance Instructor

As the anticipation and excitement build, dancers everywhere are gearing up for competition season. Whether you’re a seasoned competitor or stepping onto the stage for the first time, the journey to competition day is filled with nerves, joy, and countless hours of preparation.

As an experienced dance instructor who has witnessed countless competition seasons unfold, I understand the unique challenges and rewards that come with preparing for these events. From perfecting routines to managing anxiety, every aspect of the competition journey requires careful consideration and dedication.

In this blog post, I’ll share four invaluable tips and tricks to help dancers make the most of their competition season experience. Drawing from years of teaching and coaching, these insights are designed to empower dancers to perform their best, both on and off the stage. They will also help dancers nourish themselves as a person, so that they take lessons away from competitive dance into later life. So, let’s dive in and discover the secrets to success in the competitive dance world!

1. Rest

Surprise! I’m starting with the opposite of what many think is comp prep. Rest is super important when preparing for competition. I have seen SO many dancers burnout during the comp season and be disappointed with their experiences and this is NOT what creates healthy balance. The rehearsal and practice that goes into the weeks leading up is A LOT! So nourishing your body and mind is crucial to making sure that prep is effective. 

  • Get 8-9 hours of sleep per night especially the week and nights leading up to a competition. 
  • Try to rest from screens as well. Try lowering screen time by ~2 hours per day.
  • Set boundaries with family and friends. Make time for yourself, to rest, recover, and gather your energy for your busy season! Self care slay, if you will!


2. Nourishment

Dancers, especially competitive dancers, are true high performance athletes. Fueling and hydrating your body for training and performance is absolutely crucial to longevity during competition season. We all have felt that absolute exhaustion of the fourth comp of the year at your 7am ballet solo. There are ways to avoid that feeling and a big one is nutrition! This goes for during AND before competition. 

  • Pick snacks that are high in healthy fats, carbs and protein. Some great examples of this are a trail mix, peanut butter and apples, egg bites, & veggies and hummus. You want things that will be filling, provide needed energy (aka carbs), and that won’t sit in the stomach and take too long to digest. So no, booster juice smoothies really aren’t an amazing option. 
  • Water!!! And only water!!! I can’t stress this enough, dancers characteristically are under hydrated. So make sure you have a water bottle and that you are taking it with you around the competition. The ONLY exception to water is if you have been dancing full out at a high intensity for more than 2 hours, then a low sugar electrolyte drink may be appropriate!

3. Physical Prep

The more you are prepared for what comes at you during comp, the better you feel about it all. Prepare for your dances by practicing with intention. Your dance teachers are great at physical prep, your need to make sure you take in what they are offering! Know your goals and strategies for reaching them. Prepare for logistics by having your comp kit ready. Use our ADA checklist and make sure you have everything you need. Don’t forget your practice schedule and any extras you might need like tights, makeup etc. Here are some broad categories of things to remember. 

  • Makeup & Hair
  • Accessories like earrings/gloves/hats etc. 
  • Snacks & Water
  • Earbuds and music
  • Costumes, tights, & shoes 
  • Sewing kit, static spray, skin glue, and other extras
  • Warm up wear and a cover up for in the theatre



4. Mental Prep

The mental preparation is just as important, if not more, than the physical. Here are some big considerations… 

  • Positive self-talk! This is incredibly crucial to sliding through comp season with grace and love. Make sure you practice this before competition so it’s natural and consistent for you. 
  • Emotions! Comp season brings a plethora of emotions; nervousness, anxiety, frustration, disappointment, and SO many more. You need to start to think about how you will CHOOSE to handle these emotions beforehand so that you can protect your peace in the moment. 
  • Goal setting! Think about achievement goals AND emotional goals, mental goals, team goals etc. I obviously want you to succeed, but you also need to find success in other areas. Competition really isn’t all about your medals, it’s about the values you gain and take with you into later life.

Merde Dancers!

As competition season approaches, remember that success on the dance floor is not just about perfecting routines, but also about nurturing your mind, body, and spirit. By prioritizing rest, nourishment, physical preparation, and mental fortitude, you’re not only honing your dance skills but also cultivating a holistic approach to performance excellence. So, as you step onto the stage, carry with you the confidence that comes from knowing you’ve prepared yourself in every way possible. Embrace the challenge, trust in your training, and dance your heart out. This season, let your passion shine brighter than ever before. Here’s to a season filled with unforgettable performances and personal growth. Let the music begin, and may your journey be nothing short of extraordinary.


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