Practice practice practice: There is no such thing as “over rehearsing” for a competition…unless, of course, you injure yourself in the process. Know your routine and know it well.
Ask for feedback: Many dancers add on private lessons, or work with coaches when prepping for competition. Ask teachers, colleagues, students and friends for feedback. Videotaping yourself is also an excellent way to determine your strong points and weaknesses.
Create a checklist: Don’t try to memorize everything you need for the big day. Make a checklist with all the items you need. This list includes all costume pieces, needle and thread, pins, hair spray, back-up copies of music etc. You can never be too prepared! Know the directions for getting yourself to the contest itself, make travel reservations well in advance.
Avoid cramming: Start rehearsing well in advance and don’t wait to memorize your choreography till the last day. Pack all the things you need in your dancing bag in advance.
Costume and props: Your costume should fit you perfectly. Use fashion-tape and safety pins (even if you think you don’t need them), wear shoes to protect your feet (there may be beads on the stage from other dancers), make sure all straps, snaps, hooks and zippers are in tip-top shape.
Relax: Even with the best of preparation there will always be surprises: beads on the floor, a veil that hooks into your costume, a technician who plays the wrong music. The most important thing in these cases is to keep dancing and keep smiling!
Take care of your physical health: Especially during these months of preparation you should take care to get healthy nutrition and plenty of sleep and to keep yourself hydrated.
See the Competitions as a Learning Experience: Even if you don’t win, you will be a better dancer for the experience. You set a goal for yourself, and you followed through. You probably also made some new friends, and now people in the community are aware of you, as well.
For further reading we recommend these blogposts: