This list of nationals tips can help your teams dance their best and enjoy the rest!

Hair Helpers

  1. Keep it clean and simple.
  2. Buy a large bottle of hairspray!
  3. To avoid a shadow on the face, pull back your bangs.
  4. For buns: Use bobby pins and a hair net that match hair color.
  5. For French braids: Spray all wisps into the braid and use an elastic that matches hair color.
  6. For wigs: Fibers should match your hair color and texture perfectly.
  7. Be sure the wig is of good quality.
  8. Securely attach the wig to your head with bobby pins of the same color.

Jewelry Rules

  1. Less is best. Try just one flashy ring over long black gloves for a flapper’s number or a small rhinestone stud earring for a lyrical dance.
  2. Jewelry should accent the costume, not distract the judges while you are dancing.

Fine Tuning Techniques

  1. Make sure the cut in the music sounds professional.
  2. Be sure your dance has been placed in the right category.
  3. Double check time limits on music to be sure you have not exceeded the time allowed.
  4. Make sure you have backup tapes for all your dances.
  5. Videotape yourself practicing. Watching a tape of yourself dancing is a real eye-opener. Were your toes pointed in that grand battement? Did you notice that your back leg wasn’t straight on your switch leap?
  6. Practice dancing in full costume. You want to find out in rehearsal, not during competition, if that big-feathered hat will stay in place or if you need to add elastic.
  7. Keep props to a minimum and always rehearse with them.
  8. Practice, practice, practice! The more you practice your routine, the more automatic it becomes—you do the movements without thinking about them.

Don’t Forget to. . .

  1. Get plenty of rest the night before.
  2. Be kind and rewind. There is nothing worse than being on stage ready to dance and finding out they have to rewind your tape. “Don’t just rewind the tape, cue it. So all you have to do is push play and the music is there,”
  3. Arrive an hour before your first scheduled dance.
  4. Eat during the day. Sometimes you have quick changes and forget to eat. Your energy will be depleted if you don’t continue to fuel your body.
  5. Take your own healthy snacks.  Most food at the competition is, well, not so good! (or healthy!)
  6. Double-knot your shoes before you go on.
  7. Warm up before every piece you perform. It is important to stay warm in between dances to avoid injury.
  8. Stay focused. Bring a headset and listen to your music, using visualization to imagine yourself performing.
  9. Think positively. Don’t get freaked out because someone is dancing to the same song as you or has the same costume. It is the dancer who makes the dance.
  10. Keep those toes pointed
  11. Be friendly to other dancers. It is a lot of fun getting to know dancers from other areas.
  12. Applaud for everyone. You know the hard work it takes to prepare for a competition, so be respectful to all the dancers.
  13. Try to remain seated while people are performing. It is very distracting for the dancers and the judges when there is a lot of activity in the audience.
  14. Don’t look at the floor while you are dancing.
  15. Use natural expressions. Let your face show how you feel. If you have that joy of dance inside you as you perform, it will show on your face.
  16. Have fun! Judges can tell if you are nervous. Relax and try to enjoy yourself— it will shine through in your performance.