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How to Prepare the night before a dance Competition

The night before a competition can feel a lot like Christmas Eve—you’re excited and know you need to get a good night's rest but just can’t seem to fall asleep because of the butterflies dancing around in your stomach. It’s more than natural to feel nervous the night before a competition, but these five steps will help you prepare as best as you can for competition day.

Eat a Good Meal

As dancers, it’s so important that we fuel our bodies properly. Try to stay away from fast food, sweet treats, or overloading on caffeine the night before a competition. Pick your favorite, healthy meal so you have something comforting you as you wind down for the night. Our best recommendation is to create a balanced plate that includes protein, carbs, and veggies. 

Also, keep in mind that it’s crucial to hydrate as much as possible! Warm lemon water can help you get in some extra hydration, and the same is true with electrolytes. A warm cup of lemon water or even tea before bed can help you wind down while upping your hydration, so if you’re feeling extra jittery and excited to hit the stage, consider giving those a try.

Check Your Bag

Double, then triple check that you have your dance bag properly packed for your competition. Creating a checklist is a great way to make sure you have everything you need:

  • All your costume pieces

  • Dance shoes

  • Makeup and hair essentials 

  • Change of clothes/any team gear

  • Safety pins (always, and I mean always, make sure you have these packed!)

  • AirPods or headphones

  • Snacks and water

Review Your Choreography

On the night before a competition, try not to spend too much time thinking about your choreography. However, consider taking just 15 minutes or so to listen to your music, watch your routines, or gently mark your choreography. Be sure to do this earlier in the evening so it’s not the last thing on your mind before you get in bed.

Stretch and Tend to Any Injuries

There’s no need to spend all night conditioning or dancing full out, but a simple stretching routine will help prepare you for a long day of dance. We recommend 20 to 30 minutes of light stretching. Maybe put on a binge-worthy Netflix show and stretch while you relax.

If needed, a foam roller or Theragun can be used on areas that are tighter, but try not to overdo it. If you’ve been battling any injuries, be sure to address these during this time. If you need to ice or heat any pulled muscles or rolled ankles, be sure to do that in the evening.

Limit Social Media and Focus on Yourself

As hard as it may be, try to put your phone away as you unwind before your competition. Let’s be honest: We all know that endlessly scrolling on social media is never a healthy part of a nighttime routine, but this is especially true before a competition. There may be posts from other competitors, results, or awards from other studios or competitions shared on your feed. Looking at this can create unnecessary “noise” in your mind, and it can amplify stress or nerves. 

There’s no need to compare yourself. Instead, focus on what you can do to prepare. Indulge in a relaxing activity like applying a face mask, soaking in a warm bath, reading a good book, or journaling about how you’re feeling about the upcoming competition day.

Last but not least, remind yourself that you’ve done everything you can to set yourself up for success on competition day. The most important thing is to remember to enjoy the moments on stage and have fun. Dance is a subjective sport so you may not always get the outcome you think you deserve, and that's okay! Challenge yourself to do your personal best and walk away at the end of day learning something new. Don’t forget to thank yourself for creating a pre-competition routine that sets you up for success—it will serve you well throughout your dance career.



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