Congratulations! Your child has made it to their first dance competition. By the time the day of the event rolls around, the dance moves will be so ingrained that they’ll know exactly what to do as soon as they get on stage and the music starts. However, a case of nerves are to be expected, especially if it’s their first time. There’s no need for concern; competitive dance programs teach students the necessary skills they need to win. When it comes to competitive dance for kids, there are steps parents can also take to make sure their child’s first competition goes smoothly.

Trust Their Training

Competitive dance programs teach children everything they need to know to do well in a competition. But if start to second-guess themselves regardless, tell them that they’ve rehearsed as much as possible and that they’re ready.

Let them know to not panic when it’s time to hit the big move, as judges and audiences will be able to tell if they’re nervous, and that they should take reasonable chances when they are on stage; if they make a mistake, tell them they’ll get it next time. And remember; rehearsing as much as possible is the best way to make sure the routine is ingrained.

Dress Rehearsals

A studio that provides dance lessons for kids will no doubt have plenty of rehearsals in the days leading up to the contest. In addition to making sure the students are ready, this also gives them the chance to make sure there are no problems with their outfits. If something does happen with their dancewear, remind them to continue dancing like nothing happened or improvise and make it part of the routine. Shake it off, walk it off, or dance it off!

Forgetting a Piece of Their Outfit

The most obvious way to deal with forgetting something is to check and double-check before heading to the dance hall. But just to be safe, have backups handy and leave them in your car so you know they aren’t forgotten.

Blanking on Stage

Despite the months of practice that competitive dance programs put their students through, there’s a chance they could still blank on stage. Many students just improvise and continue with their routine, while others run off stage in humiliation; obviously, the latter is not the reaction they should have. The one thing to remember is that the judges don’t know the dancers’ routines, so if someone misses a step or freeze, they can just keep moving without anyone outside of their instructors and classmates knowing the difference.

To further remove pressure, encourage your child to dance outside of competitions so they can get accustomed to dancing without critique.

Changing Quickly

If the routine your child is doing involves one or more wardrobe changes, this is something that they should practice over and over again. The studio where your child’s dance lessons take place should ensure this is part of the dress rehearsal. When possible, your child should wear at least part of their wardrobe for the next part of the routine underneath their current outfit, with the rest laid out backstage, ready for them to change into quickly.

Your child’s dance instructor should have warned them not to get too psyched out by their competition. Parents can form an alliance with others to relay any important information amongst each other in case someone can’t make it to a lesson.

Make a Checklist

A week—or two, preferably—before your competitive dance classes competition, make a checklist of things you need to get done in order to prepare for the big day. Does your dancer need new shoes or alterations to their costume? Make sure you have all the necessities in order, and that you know the best route to the venue. You’ll appreciate all the pre-planning on the day of, since it’ll spare you from a headache and tons of confusion.

Check Schedule and Be Prepared

Familiarize yourself with the competition schedule, and when your child is expected to be on stage, and where. There may be multiple functions held at the venue of the competition, so make sure you know exactly where you’re supposed to be, and when. After searching for “competitive dance classes near me” and getting your child to and from classes, the last thing you want to do is mix up a location or time and miss their competition.

Be on Time

Competitive dance studios in Toronto often hold their competitions out of town, so be sure to give yourself enough time to get to the venue. Even if the venue is local, give yourself extra travel time since you never know what could happen—traffic, a flat tire, or being stopped by the police could throw everything off schedule if you’re tight on time. Giving yourself extra time will make everyone less stressed, especially your little performer.

Stay Supportive

Whether your child has been taking dance classes in Toronto for four months or four years, chances are they’ll be nervous about their upcoming competition. Your job is to be supportive throughout the process and not add more stress to their day. While refraining from critiquing them, you’ll also want to make sure they have their routine down pat and that they`re confident in their moves. Allowing them to practise and perfect their moves is a good idea, and be sure to reinforce their level of confidence by offering words of support.

Refrain from Coaching and Judging

When helping your child get ready for their very first competition, you might be tempted to coach them and give advice on what they should and shouldn’t be doing. Dance competitions for toddlers can involve a lot of pressure, as they likely receive critiques and advice from their teachers, and they don’t need conflicting advice from you at home. The reason you send them to classes is to learn from professionals, so try your best not to interfere with what they’ve learned, and trust that the instructors have prepared them properly.

Be Helpful and Understanding

Parents and instructors can be a little high strung and stressed out on the day of the competition, so be the person that’s understanding and puts everyone at ease. Offer to help out wherever you can, whether that means running back to pick up something that was forgotten or supplying instructors with a dose of coffee to keep them up and running.

As the top provider of dance lessons for children, Performing Dance Arts will teach your child all the necessary skills to perform favourably at dance contests. Our instructors are trained dancers themselves who have danced competitively for years and know all the necessary tricks to succeed.