Dance competitions are a highlight of the dance season, but they can be a little intimidating for new dance moms (and dads)! Embrace your dance village – they are here to help! Below is advice, tips, and tricks from Just Dance! parents.

Figure out what time you need to start getting ready – and start earlier.

How you get your dancer ready will set the tone for the entire day. Young dancers rarely want to sit still for all the makeup and hair. Every parent gets frustrated. But, when you have extra time, you can let that frustration go. When you are short on time, that frustration turns to stress for both you and your dancer.

Our best advice: dancers need to be ready two hours before the expected time of the dance. Figure out what time you need to start getting ready and add 30-60 minutes to it. If you have extra time, then just waltz into the audience feeling great about yourself.

Don’t beat yourself up.

Dance competitions are long and exhausting for everyone. Putting fake eyelashes on someone else is never easy. Every dance mom has said something to their dancer on a competition day that they regret. Hopefully, the dancer also regrets what she said. Take a deep breath, apologize, and know that you’re not alone.

Our best advice: learn what works for you and your dancer in these situations. Maybe the group dinner is just too much and your dancer needs some quiet time. Or maybe you need to walk outside and get some fresh air periodically.

Performance etiquette

Don’t walk in or out of the auditorium when performers are on stage.

You’ve spent hours waiting for your dancer’s two-minutes on stage – think of how upset you would be if someone walked in front of you, so don’t do it to someone else.

Cover dancer’s costumes before they perform.

If your dancer leaves the dressing room in a costume prior to performing, make sure to cover up with a shirt or jacket.

No photos/video.

Most competitions do not allow audience members to take photos or video inside the auditorium – this can result in disqualification. The event usually has photos and videos available for purchase.

Stay for awards.

Dances are run consecutively until the designated awards time. All dancers should stay through the awards for their dances.

Always be positive and congratulate all performers.

Just Dance! faculty encourage all dancers to congratulate performers backstage. Please remember that you also represent the studio and should be positive at all times! 

Do not go backstage.

The backstage area is for teachers and dancers only. 

Things you should say:

Praise throughout the day. 

Don’t wait until your dancer performs to praise them. Compliment them on how prepared they are , how they have worked, or how well they are behaving. This way the focus is less about the outcome on stage and more about their effort. 

Don’t question the judges.

Say something like “every judge has their own opinion and on another day it could have gone differently.” Then follow that up with “the dancer that won was amazing, and that gives you something to work toward.” Dancers should be inspired by other dancers. Embrace difficult competition and use it as motivation.

Things to pack:

  • Cash for parking
  • Safety pins
  • Mini sewing kit
  • Shout stain wipes
  • Bobby pins
  • Hair spray
  • Mirror
  • All makeup
  • Phone charger and battery backup
  • Headache medicine of choice 
  • Food and drinks for your dancer (no oreos or colored slushies!)
  • Food and drinks for yourself
  • Blanket for your dancer to sit on in the dressing room. Also pack quiet games for them to play during downtime.