This past weekend my daughter participated in her second dance competition of this season. If you don’t have a competitive dancer in your family, let me give you a rundown of how it works.
About a week before the competition (if you are lucky!), you’ll receive a schedule of all the dances that will be performing that weekend. Sometimes, the competition will accept so many entries (read: $) that it will be necessary to have some dances perform on Fridays. Not just Fridays, but 7 am on Friday. Now, since I homeschool, I am not subject to the boundaries of school on Fridays. But, if you don’t homeschool (or perhaps you work for a living), Fridays can be a huge inconvenience! Even more so if you have more than one child, and perhaps a significant other who also works to help finance this dance thing…
So you have the schedule so you should just show up at that time, right? Not so. Even if you have received a schedule, that is just a rough timeline. In fact, you pretty much have to bank on the fact that dance competitions don’t really hand out schedules, but a list of dances performing in that (rough) order. Most the time, my daughter and I are there an hour and a half before our dance is ‘scheduled’ to dance in order to get her warmed up before hitting the stage. This past weekend, they ran anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours ahead of schedule! Not exactly something you can plan for – unless you reserve the whole day for this.
When you roll up to the venue – in most cases, a high school performing arts center, or if you are lucky, a hotel ballroom – it’s important to find the dressing room and quickly stake a claim. The competition doesn’t start on stage, it starts in the dressing room! Splay everything you possibly can to take up as much space you think you need. If another teammate is there, try to make a barricade so that no one on opposing teams decides to get in your space. Nothing more irritating than other dance moms honing in on your space. Also, keep an eye on your stuff. My daughter had her custom-made, hand rhinestoned (“Blinged”) MyGGems Converse stolen from a dressing room in Vegas. Another time she had her iPhone taken from a dressing room and mysteriously it was in the lobby – I was able to track it immediately, but still infuriating to say the least. Guard your loins.
When your child finally gets on stage, they will likely rush right off stage in order to get changed for the next dance! This is when tensions can get high. Your child may be in a panic, you are trying the best you can in order to change her hairstyle for the next dance, but still not quick enough for her. Then you end up yelling at her to calm down, then the tears come and makeup has to be redone, causing even more stress. Then they go back on stage, making your parental heart swell with pride in awe of your child, and the whole cycle starts back up again.
There are award ceremonies sprinkled throughout the day. Most competitions will give the names of their awards depending on their scoring scale. Golds, High Golds, Platinums, Double Platinums, Diamonds, the list goes on and on. The most confusing thing is that there is no standard. Each dance competition is a business, and as such, can do things however they feel like it. After the scaled awards, there are overall awards, which is really what competitions are for in my honest opinion. Who did the best among your peers and yourself? These are the most exciting!
As much as I complain about the long days – 7am to 11pm at times, then back again the next day – there is nothing that will make you tear up more than your child so elated with themselves at their accomplishment.
Which brings me back to my past weekend… My husband was away on business, which meant that my two boys were stuck with me at the competition. They sit and wait or play with the other siblings that just so happened to be around too. But, mostly they bore their eyes out watching their electronics. This past dance weekend consisted of rushing back and forth to help my daughter get ready for her next dance, constantly being stopped to answer a question, or stop a fight, or take another one of my children to the restroom, waiting for her to go on stage to perform, rush around again, wait again, etc. Then the day ended at 9 pm, and started back up on Sunday at 7 am. It’s exhausting.
But again, can be worth it. Charly puts in hours a day dancing and rehearsing, willing herself to be better. I honestly wish I could have that much drive at times – I could, but with a lot more espresso! That all came to fruition this weekend. She took home first place for her tap solo and tap duet with her BFF Grace. The duo also took the Judge’s Award for Most Entertaining of the Day. All in all, regardless of the stress, its worth it because my daughter is learning teamwork, how to take criticism and how to persevere. Just because she may have come out on top this time, she will take that and continue to work on her craft.
As for food, the weekend’s meals consist mostly of fast food – a lot of times you can’t get healthy food quick enough between dances – and lots of COFFEE. I pack tons of snacks, but the kids seem to get inhaled quickly.
Once the weekend is over, you are most definitely spent even though you didn’t even dance! The following Monday is always a total bust for me, as I am so tired, and wasn’t able to get any planning done for the week ahead over the weekend.
It’s a good thing I homeschool them – or else we’d miss Mondays and Fridays at a regular school!!