Studio Owners

Your Packing List Must-Haves for Competition and Conventions

Dancers from Hart Academy of Dance in La Habra, CA at Spotlight Events. Photo by DancePix, courtesy of Spotlight Events

One can never be too prepared. When things break, rip and get left on the bus, that doesn't need to ruin the show. From first-aid to back-up music, here's a handy checklist of what not to forget.


The Basics

First, place a Go-bag backstage so it can be easily found. It should contain the basics such as Band-Aids, first-aid kit, hair spray, bobbie pins, safety pins, ice packs, hair gel, scissors, extra makeup, ibuprofen and tissues.

•Extra costume accessories (earrings, sunglasses, gloves, head pieces)

•Medical kit: Advil, Tylenol, Midol, tape, scissors, Band-Aids, New-Skin, Ace wrap, instant ice packs, tampons, finger splint, BENGAY.

•Extra props

•Rosin for the pointe dancers

•Nail-polish remover

•Hair nets

•Bobbie pins, large and small

•Safety pins

•Extra tights

•Sewing kit

•Hair spray

•Hair gel

•Scissors

•Tissues

Bonus Extras

•Backup music in several different formats: CDs, iPad, flash drive

•Extra costume bin for the dressing room. It contains any and all extra costume pieces.

Paperwork to Go

Create a comprehensive spreadsheet that shows every payment and the breakdown of what's included: competition fees, observer bands, etc. There's always a parent who insists that they pre-purchased an observer band when they really didn't.

Also bring:

• Original registration paperwork and confirmations from the event

• Copies of release forms—one set for the convention, one set for the school director

• Packing list for all props, with load-in and load-out times

Conquering the Call Sheet

Sue Sampson-Dalena of The Dance Studio of Fresno recommends that you create a call sheet for each dancer with all of the following:

• A list of each dance she is cast in

• Call time to the dressing room

• Check-in time with appropriate staff member

• Any pertinent props or costume notes

• Who will pick up the award

• What room number they are to report to backstage

“We meet in the dressing room 90 minutes before our assigned competition time. I then take the dancers to another location in the hotel and we give them ballet class. I usually stake that out before I walk into the room," says Sampson-Dalena. “After class it's up to each individual dancer to then stay warm. My dancers are expected to help the younger dancers with quick changes, and of course support and watch their teammates compete or perform."

Gift Giving

Consider giving an inspirational note or small gift to each dancer during the wristband pass-out. “We like to include an encouraging note with candy or a small gift," says Christy Curtis of CC & Co. Dance Complex. “The note will express our personal theme. We sometimes give candy, bracelets, inspiration rocks, Giving Keys."

Music
Getty Images

Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

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A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

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Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

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