Dance Moms got steamy this week with the introduction of a whole new theme: romance! When male student Brandon flies to Florida to rehearse with the girls, we learn that things used to be kinda hot with Brandon and Brooke—they “liked each other” when they were 9. But as Brooke quickly informs us, “I think Brandon likes me, but I’ve moved on. I’m not really the same person I was when I was 9-years-old.” Oh the wisdom that being 13 has brought her…

 

Everything else is pretty much the same old, same old: Maddie wins awards, the moms get wasted and Cathy is super annoying (and has hopefully moved on from Abby’s clan for good.) The best part of this show is when Nia takes home her very own trophy! This little one has been struggling since the beginning, and it's nice to see the underdog come out on top.

 

Now, the girls are going on tour across the country. And if the stress of being away from home in Florida is any indication, nobody is going to handle this trip well, especially Abby Lee Miller. Here are DT’s tips for saving your sanity while traveling with your students:

 

Recruit the parents. Appoint one mom as the head of each age group, and leave her in charge of communication. And be sure to hand out competition guidelines to parents at the beginning of the year. This will stop persistent moms from calling the competition company before an event for a schedule or other details—which might earn your studio a troublesome reputation.

 

Monitor costume packing. There’s nothing worse than realizing that one girl in a group number has forgotten her costume. To be sure this doesn’t happen, try hosting a packing party at your studio, and ask travelers to lay their costumes out on the floor while you crosscheck your master list of items. As an extra precaution, plan on arriving at your destination at least three days before an event and immediately do a costume check. This gives you enough time to call home and have someone overnight items accidentally left behind.

 

Bring a first-aid kit. Medical emergencies can occur anytime, any place. Don’t assume the event you’re attending is equipped with a first-aid kit—always bring your own. Include bandages, wraps, ointments, pain relievers and even air casts.

 

Maintain strict behavior rules. To prevent students from acting unruly while on the road, use the classroom to groom the behavior you expect. Stick by the rules you establish, and make it known that dancers who don’t adhere to them will not be invited to faraway competitions.

 

Utilize costume organizers. Once at your destination, keep things running smoothly backstage by investing in portable clothing racks, and hang costumes in order of performance. Also make sure students keep the accessories for each costume in separate plastic bags pinned to the corresponding ensemble.

 

Dress alike. Abby’s got this one in the bag—her girls and moms always wear matching colors. Keep track of dozens of students by matching outerwear or warm-ups bearing your school logo. The unity will also help with team bonding and is great marketing.

 

Make lists. You can never have too many lists when traveling with kids. Start with the cell phone numbers of everyone in your party, including students, teachers, parents and other chaperones. Then research all the emergency contact info you need for the city you’re going to. If you’re traveling abroad, be sure you know the locations of the nearest hospital and U.S. embassy. Once you arrive at the hotel, make another list with everybody’s room number.

 

Happy travels!

 

But wait, we forgot to mention our favorite, 6-year-old Mackenzie! Though she didn’t get to perform, she still won for this week’s cutest quote: “Abby doesn’t look like a model to me.”

 

(Tips based on “Stress-Free Globetrotting” by Sara Jarrett)

 

 

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