January, the month of new beginnings, also kicks off competition season in the world of dance. For the CVDA Performing Company members, that means we’re working hard to master choreography and presenting our competition dances to friends and families.

If you’re a PC parent, whether new, seasoned, or future, we invite you to consider the following tips to help make this competition season a successful one:

Express backstage at NYCDA

Express backstage at NYCDA 2014

Be prepared. Start packing the dance bag (or remind your older dancer) the week before. Never wait until the night before! This gives you plenty of time to double check your packing list and ensure you have everything you need. And hopefully prevents a rushed stop to WalGreens enroute to Portland to buy eyelashes because your dancer can’t find one of them!

Don’t forget to pack healthy snacks and water. There are limited options for food at the convention center, and there may not be enough time to leave and buy food between dances.

McMinnville Juniors “I Can Make You Dance”

Sleep is vital. The night before the competition, your dancer may find it hard to sleep due to nerves or thinking about a 6:00 am call time. That’s why it’s important to do what you can to make sure your dancer is getting plenty of sleep in the nights leading up to the competition. Enforce bedtimes (more challenging with older dancers for sure!) and try not to have scores of evening activities going on the week prior.

And parents need to be well-rested for competitions, too! Even though we’re not dancing, the experience can be exhausting.

Allow LOTS of time. Competitions can run ahead or behind schedule. It’s better for your stress level (and your dancer’s) to leave early and have time to kill rather than rush. Bring work to do or something to read. Or spend quality time with other dance families! If you’re inviting family to watch, have them come an hour before the scheduled dance time and then visit to entertain yourselves.

Parking is always difficult, and finding the right area in the convention center can be challenging. Many grandparents and relatives have missed a dance because they arrived too close to the “scheduled” dance time.

                        “Busy Busy Busy” CVDA

Each competition is different. If there is an app available for a competition, download it for the most up to date information and schedules. You will learn that each competition does things in their unique way. For example, one has ushers who guard the doors and only let people in and out between dances. Others you can enter and exit as you please. Some have merchandise to sell, some don’t. All offer photography and videography, but the quality can vary. Ask returning PC parents for their opinion – you’ll find plenty!

Bonding time. There is much more to competitions than the dancing. Ask any returning dancer and they’ll tell you their favorite part is the bonding that happens with their teammates – getting ready, practicing, hanging out, eating, laughing, stressing out, and simply growing through shared experiences. Our job as parents is to be aware of this and not get in the way.

                           “Strong” backstage

Shine in your supporting role. Competitions are intense, and it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement and stress. The best thing you can do for your dancer is to remain calm, loving, encouraging, and supportive (regardless of their behavior.) Follow the instructor’s guidelines. Help when you’re needed, but don’t micromanage, especially if your dancer is 13 or older. They can (and should) do their own hair and makeup. Your role as the parent is to be your dancer’s biggest fan and cheer on the whole Performing Company.

Give lots of genuine smiles, hugs, pats on the back, and kind words with a warm tone. No matter how they score, these days are what memories are made of. Make them positive ones!

Don’t forget to download Teamapp and join @iheartcvda and turn on your PUSH notifications for easy communication day of. <3