Competition weekends provide an excellent chance for your studio to bond. We aren't just talking about bonding during classes or while performing onstage, but in the quiet moments between the hustle and bustle, and, of course, during the celebration when the three days of dancing come to an end. Here are three competition-weekend-ritual ideas you should consider trying the next time you take your dancers to compete. Your students will feel more connected and have more fond memories to look back on when they graduate.
1. Coach's Devotional Speech
Kick-off the weekend the right way by having all of your students arrive to the competition venue early for a coach's devotional. In your speech, remind them of the importance of being respectful of the other dancers, teachers and judges, who will be present that weekend. Encourage them to cheer for and support one another. Remind them why they dance, why they are attending the competition and why you are proud of them that day. Fill them with positivity and love as they embark on what can often be a stressful experience. Over time, this ritualized experience will become one of their favorite parts of the weekend—trust us!
2. Team Warm-Up
While your dancers know how to warm themselves up and will likely be warmed up during their classes, don't skip out on a team warm-up. Bring your dancers together each morning to feed off one another's energy and prep for the big day ahead. It will help them feel unified, and, of course, make them less likely to get injured. Give your students their best chance at surviving those dangerous cement floors at conventions (YIKES) by keeping them warm.
3. Post-Competition Celebration Dinner
Whether your students swept the competition or didn't perform as well as they were hoping to, the growth that came from an intense weekend of classes and competition is more than enough to celebrate. Invite each of your students to head on over to your favorite nearby burger joint (or really any restaurant you guys love) to enjoy a much-needed meal. This is a good chance to ask your students to reminisce on funny memories, favorite classes and most proud moments from the past three days. This ritual will become a favorite experience for your dancers over the years, and something they will never want to miss out on!