Check out our top 10 tips for performing at your best this competition season!
1. Arrive at the venue early. It's hard to perform at your best when your body and brain is in 'stress mode'. Plan to arrive at your competition 2 hours before your scheduled time. Allow for traffic, a confused Siri, a busy car park, and getting lost, so that you can arrive at your competition with time to prepare and time to spare.
2. Eat. Let's face it, competitions seem to be getting earlier and earlier and it can be hard to fit in breakfast before leaving the house. Nerves can also make a dancer feel 'full' and it can be a struggle to eat a full meal. That being said, you couldn't drive a car if you didn't fill it up with petrol and your body acts in the same way in requiring fuel. 5 minutes at home to eating a banana, or avocado on toast, could be the difference between your body having fuel to perform at it's best or wobbles and a lack of energy in your routine. Breakfast on the way? Reconsider your macca's drive-thru and perhaps take yoghurt and strawberries or some bircher muesli in a Tupperware container for 'breakfast on the road'. (Cheese on toast if you clean up the crumbs).
3. Rehearse in costume. Just picked up your new exciting costume? Have you allowed time to rehearse in it? It's important that you feel comfortable in your costume and that you know that your routine can be performed without any hindrances like a 'wedgie', your skirt being static on your tights, or your arm getting stuck in your dress mid leg mount. Be sure to have rehearsed in costume and dealt with any issues well and truly before comp day.
4. Don't over practice on the day. Sometimes too much practice can confuse the brain. Play your music whilst you're getting ready, run through the routine 1-3 times and leave it there. You know your dance, don't over think it.
5. Plan for error. There are external factors that could affect your ability to show the adjudicator your best. Prepare for these circumstances. Practice your solo with your music stopping mid dance. Can you keep going? Improvise to your music to feel confident making it up as you go if you do forget your routine. Music on an iPod might not start at the beginning of the track, can you jump to the choreography at any point in the music?
6. See the stage and auditorium from the adjudicators point of view. Give yourself the opportunity to see the stage from where the adjudicator does. Go into the auditorium and see if the adjudicator is close or far away. Will you need to lower your eye line to them, or raise it to them? From the audience is it easy or hard to see the performers facial expressions? Do you need to tone it down with bright lights?
7. Warm up. A thorough warm up will allow your body to perform at it's best. Use cardio to increase the blood flow, 'turn on' your muscles with plies, tendues, rises and other barre exercises. Stretch to ensure that you have moved your body into all of the positions in your routines such a splits, leg mount, grande battement etc. Not only will this assist you in warming up but it will also assist in preventing injury. Be careful not to over stretch or stretch too much before going on stage, you need to ensure that your muscles will still contract to achieve your best jumps and stronger moves etc.
8. Make up. The stage lights are harsh, don't forget to apply your full face of make up. This will allow the adjudicator to see your facial expressions.
9. Think of it as a 'performance competition' not a 'dance competition'. Don't get caught completely caught up in the technique of the dance and forget that part of your job as a dancer is to connect with the audience and adjudicator.
10. Be professional. Remember that your performance isn't just about the dance to the music. Make sure that you enter the stage and exit the stage professionally. Be confident moving in and out of your starting and final position and ensure that you look like a dancer when doing so. Don't forget to curtsee or bow at the end of your performance to thank the adjudicator and audience.