Sunday, January 12, 2014

Packing for a Dance Competition or Recital

January 2014 is upon us and dance competition season has begun.  I am thus posting blogs that specifically pertain to preparing for competitions.  Embellishing costumes, How to apply rhinestones onto your costumes, 10 easy steps to applying competition & recital make-up and dance bag comparisons.  In keeping with the theme, this post is about what to pack or bring to a dance competition.

Check your list twice
It's has taken years of being on the competitive dance circuit for me to feel comfortable and confident in regards to being prepared.  There are many small things that you simply don't think about bringing to a meet.  For those of you who are first timer's or even still fairly new to the world of dance competitions, congratulations and welcome to the world of dance.

If you are a first timer, be prepared for very long days, long weekends and lot's of down time.  Sometimes you will get lucky and your meet will be near some retail stores and food services. Here you can get out, eat a good, healthy (or not so healthy) hot meal and maybe pick up something that you forgot to pack!  However, sometimes you don't get that lucky.  For the unlucky events, below is a checklist of items that you should always have in your bag.

I would suggest packing the night before or even a few days prior to your event.  Hanging your costumes in one place is a must!  I have to admit that once, only once, I forgot a costume.  Fortunately I was close enough to my home that I was able to rush back and retrieve the costume.  That and the fact that I am always early helped.  It was a team dress too!  Oye vey!  Anyway, I only made that mistake, like I said once.  Also, if you pack ahead of time it allows you plenty of time to add stuff that you may not of thought of putting in your bag or bags.  If you don't have a Rac-N-Roll or Dream Duffel bag, do yourself a favor and buy one.  Otherwise, I would suggest having a good
garment bag with zippered pockets.  I have the pictured garment bags (to the right) in addition to the Rac-N-Roll dance bag.  Having a garment bag serves a few purposes.  The first one is that it protects the costume/s.  Often the bling can catch
the delicate material of another costume and this can cause tearing issues, especially if you have any lace on your costume. It is also more convenient to carry a costume when it is protected in a bag.
The reason that I say get a garment bag with pockets is because you can compile all of the accessories and necessary shoes for each costume in one place.  This will save you the frustration of digging through a back pack, bag or whatever it is that you are using to transport all of the stuff that you need to have at a competition.

I have listed below a basic checklist that you can follow.  Always, always, always, check and double check to insure that you have all of your costumes and all of the applicable dance shoes that you will need for each performance.  You can always borrow a pair of tights, or a sewing kit or even use someone's make-up etc., but you can't ever borrow a costume or shoes!  Well maybe on a rare occasion you can borrow someone else's shoes, but I wouldn't count on that.

The one thing that I did not put on the list to bring is extra embellishments.  You should, without
hesitation, bring all applicable embellishments, ribbons or whatever you have yourself put on a costume along with matching thread or fabric glue.  You never know when you will have to do a quick and I mean quick, repair job on a costume.  If you've got the extra materials fixing or repairing a costume is easy.  There will almost always be someone in your group that can sew and will likely be happy to assist you.  It's all about being prepared.

Organize your cosmetics
                  Being organized is the key.  The less stress on the dancer the better she/he will perform.  I suggest that you get a cosmetics bag to hold all of your cosmetics and make-up brushes.   Also a separate bag to store all of your hair necessities.  No need to be fancy.  A good strong plastic bag will do.  The point is to be organized.  It's a dance competition, not a brand name who's who and who has what competition.   When you are looking for a specific item, say a bobby pin, you  don't want to be looking for a needle in a hay stack.  Separate and group items.  It's simple and it will save you lots of time and headaches.  Being organized also allows you to easily see if and when you are running low on an item.

Lastly, bring reading materials, cards, electronics and  chargers.  You can of course bring camera's. 
Remember to have extra batteries and a memory card on hand.  Most venues do not allow you to take pictures in the auditorium and you especially cannot use your flash when there is a dancer on stage.  However, you can take pictures outside of the areas where the dancers are performing.


This is just a basic list, you can add or put whatever you like in your dance bag, especially in regards to food and entertainment items.  The goal here is to get you started with a basic 'must have' list.  Enjoy your event, happy dancing and good luck!

Basic Dance competition or recital, checklist