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."

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