Whether you competed nationally or regionally, fives times a year or five times a month, dance competitions were the biggest struggles and greatest memories of your dance career as a kid. Competing with my dance family is one of the things that I miss most from my studio dance career. Let's take a trip down memory lane and recall what REALLY made us competition dancers on those competition weekends:
1. Wearing your company jacket to school the day before a competition.
2. Judging any other dancer wearing a studio jacket that's not your studio...they obviously weren't as good as your studio.
3. Practicing your dances in your seat at school...and sometimes getting yelled at for "tapping" too loud.
4. Packing your bags for the competition weekend.
5. The feeling you experienced as you pulled into the hotel parking lot.
6. Meeting up with all of your friends and going to the hot tub.
7. Waking up bright and early Saturday morning to start a full day of classes... Ballet to start the day...why do the convention gods hate us?
8. Picking out your perfect convention sports bra.
9. Walking around the hotel in spandex and a sports bra...we quickly find out that that is only allowed on competition weekends and not your normal family vacations.
10. Taking class from some of the best choreographers out there... "Travis Wall just got another Emmy nomination, yeah I've taken class from him."
11. Shoving Panera or Subway down your throat during the 45 minutes they gave you to eat before afternoon classes.
12. Trying not to throw up that food you just ate during the rest of classes.
13. That 20-minute nap you crammed in before you had to start getting ready for competition.
14. The craziness in your hotel room as you try to get the perfect stage hair and make up.
15. Packing up the garment bag, costume rack and dance bag to move into the dressing room.
16. Eyeing every other dancer as you walk around with your dance fam to go watch some of the competition, and support your junior dancers.
17. Stretching before you have to head to the check-in area.
18. Listening to your "pump-up" playlist.
19. The pre-stage huddle with your teachers.
20. Waiting backstage...why do we all have to pee now?
21. Not watching the dance before because you're doing your pre-stage rituals that no one else understood but your group.
22. Hearing your number and song name announced as you step on stage...here comes the adrenaline.
23. After you walked off stage, you tasted blood in your throat as you huffed and puffed, feeling as if you just ran a marathon.
24. Getting rushed by the crowd of teachers, parents, and younger dancers when you finally got back to the lobby area.
25. Running back to the dressing room to get ready for your next dance.
26. Repeating numbers 18-26 until you've finally performed your last dance.
27. Anxiously waiting for awards to start.
28. How time stood still as your fate as a dancer was determined by whether or not you received “high gold” or “platinum” for your dance.
29. How excited you were to go to bed after a long day, just to get up in the morning to take classes again.
30. How bittersweet the "faculty wrap-up show" was, because that meant the weekend was over.
31. When you had to pack up your garment bag and say goodbye to your dance family for the weekend, even though you would be in the studio the next day with them.
32. Falling asleep on the car ride home.
33. Rocking your new sweatpants and convention gear at school on Monday, as you try to answer the question, "Did you win your competition?," from all of your non-dance friends.
34. Going back to the studio Monday night just to start preparing again.
35. Doing this all again very shortly.
Let's be real, all of these memories may sound crazy, but we really wish we could have another crazy competition weekend with our dance family...