Competitions are an exciting experience, but competition preparedness is key. Because without it, they can be an incredibly stressful time. As a studio owner, staff member, or parent-volunteer, you have the responsibility to relay detailed information, expectations, and general reminders of preparedness to our parents and students to ensure a pleasant, positive, and organized experience for everyone.
Prior to competition season even starting, it is important to prepare and distribute a competition overview packet. This packet should detail all the expectations for the regional events of the season. This includes costume checklists, call times, and responsibilities. It provides parents and dancers a detailed overview of what will happen at the event, what they should expect, and appropriate etiquette. When you receive the schedule for an event, it is a good idea to re-type it so that parents explicitly understand call times, locations/directions, and performance times. The information is beyond thorough and strives to provide more information than necessary.
Key steps to help guarantee competition preparedness:
- In January, offer a hair and make-up seminar where parents style hair and apply make-up. This way, everyone has a consistent look (and the appropriate products) for a successful competition.
- At the event, submit your music in an organized, timely manner. Stomp each of your CDs with your logo and organize all of the CDs (in entry order) in a CD book. Prior to the weekend, test each of your CDs for any scratches or playing issues. The back of the CD book contains back-up CDs for the routines, and as a backup, it may be wise to also carry all of your competition music on an iPad or another MP3-enabled device. The CD book lasts throughout the season.
- In post-competition rehearsals, debrief the event by discussing appropriate competition etiquette and utilizing the competition feedback. (some studios have made a point to attend competitions where the feedback is constructive)
- Take responsibility for transporting any large or group required props.
Competition preparedness at the competition:
- Be on-site for your students’ call times and performances. If the studio has representatives at an event, it is most important that there be some form of studio leadership/liaison at the event, too.
- If you have a question about an event, ask, usually in advance. You never want there to be an “unknown” regarding a weekend. Of course, if there is information you feel as though you are missing, reach out and ask someone. Assuming that the company is professional, they will be happy to help.
- If a concern, incident, or issue arises on site, take the time to handle it calmly and professionally. Everyone is working together to make this a wonderful experience for our students. There is no need for stress, tempers, or panic. The hours are long and the environment can be stressful. But if you put yourself in the proper mindset, the experience will be more rewarding and productive for everyone. Be kind to everyone!
Competition Preparedness Conclusion:
Ultimately, being organized, calm, and in control, as a representative of your studio (whether you are a studio owner or instructor), will help ensure that your students and parents will follow your lead. Likewise, if you are unorganized, frustrated, or uncertain, that mentality will convey to your parents and students.
The competitive experience is an opportunity for each of your students to grow and improve, as dancers, performers, and people. Therefore, it is important to make the event positive, encouraging, and constructive.
Finally, take the time and ask yourself if you are doing everything in your power to guarantee that your parents and dancers are fully prepared for competitive events? We are always evaluating and evolving our systems and methods to make sure that everything is efficient, informative, and functional for a successful weekend.