How to Prepare for a Dance Competition
Mastering the art of dancing is one thing, but managing the pressure of a competition or audition means learning an entirely different skill.
As dancers, we spend most of our careers perfecting our choreography and trying to nail a routine. Our minds can get so focused on what our bodies need to do physically, that we can forget to prioritize what is actually most important.
I've been dancing for a long time, and over the years, I've learned some super helpful tips in helping me prepare for a competition.
1. Visualize a Successful Dance Compeition
Who knew that prepping for a dance competition starts days, weeks, months, or years before the event. Chances are, you didn't just wake up and find yourself a dance pro; rather, this is something you've been dreaming about for years and likely worked your butt off to achieve. Visualizing success is something we may have all done without realizing it, but the first step to preparing for a dance competition is to actively do it.
Jim Carrey spoke about his early days of trying to make it as an actor. He took a blank check and wrote out $10 million dollars to himself for his acting services. He carried that check in his wallet and looked at it every morning, visualizing receiving $10 million dollars. Five years after he wrote the check to himself, he found out that he would make $10 million from the movie "Dumb and Dumber."
"...spend some time visualizing yourself performing your dance routines perfectly..."
I think it's important to spend some time visualizing yourself performing your dance routines perfectly, with confidence and grace. Visualizing success can help you feel more prepared and confident going into the competition.
Here are a few of my favorite things to do to help visualize success:
- Listen to music that helps you get in the right mindset and feel motivated.
- Write it down: Jot down your goal on a piece of paper, for example, "I will become a professional dancer and perform on Broadway." Read it aloud every day and imagine yourself doing it.
- Create a vision board. Seeing your dreams can be incredibly effective in helping to motivate you to work towards them.
2. Rest and Recover
Not only is sleep fundamental for repairing wear and tear after exercising, but it is also considered to be essential for higher cognitive functions like judgment, focus, and making good decisions, which may ultimately mean the difference between a good or bad dance performance.
Athletes need more sleep than average, so getting good rest the night before your competition is important. Be sure to go to bed at a reasonable time and give your mind a chance to wind down. You've been putting in a lot of hard work and practice leading up to the competition, so taking it easy and relaxing the night before is exactly what you'll need.
If you're feeling anxious about your upcoming competition, here are a few ways you can improve your overall sleep habits:
- Soak up as much natural daylight as you can, and avoid screen time in the evening.
- Avoid caffeine and other stimulants in the afternoon and evening.
- Avoid large meals and too many liquids after dinner time! Trips to the bathroom mean disrupting your sleep.
- Winding down in the evening with a book, meditation, or stretching.
3. Organize Your Dance Gear
If you've done your prep, competition day is the time to be totally, completely present. Take some big deep breaths and nail your competition! This one is yours.