New Dance Season: How to Prepare

The air is crisper, and the notebooks and pencils are on sale. You know what this means: Summer is winding down and school is starting up. This also means: IT'S FALL DANCE SEASON! Nutcracker rehearsals will start soon, rehearsals for competitions are in full swing, and together, we are all really excited about moving to new levels and learning more dances and dance information.

Here are our quick and easy ways to prepare for a successful fall dance season!

Photo: Maria Doval Ballet

Print Out Your Schedule:

Seeing what your schedule will look like will get you focused and excited. We suggest color coding your classes. For example, we make "Ballet" pink, "Jazz" blue, "Tap" green, "Rehearsals" yellow, and so on. This way, a quick glance can tell you what you can expect throughout the day. Printing a schedule also keeps you organized. You are prepared with the correct shoes, extra leotards or tights, or whatever you may need.

Create a Dance Notebook

Have something that you can carry with you, preferably with pockets, this way you have somewhere to jot down notes and corrections and you can place any information sheets that you receive from class in the pockets. Notebooks help dancers assess where they are in their personal progress, and it also keeps them on track with their hectic scheduling (for example, you don't want to be looking for the direction sheet you received describing the makeup for your jazz piece 5 minutes before you go on stage!)

Plan out Snacks

Go purchase some "to go" plastic bins or Tupperware to keep your snack foods fresh and separated. Do some research on the power foods of dance, and plan out your meals. This will save you time, but it will also assure that you're eating healthy throughout your dance day.

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Get Your Shoes Ready

Are all of your shoes ready for the season? Ribbons sewn? Screws tightened? Back up shoes (if necessary)? Toe pads? Right shoe and left shoe? Have a "dance preparation" night and set everything out on the bed. Make sure you have all of your shoes and that they are dance-ready for class.

Photo: Maria Doval Ballet

Check Your Required Attire

Look at what your school requires for their dress code and make sure you have everything you need: Do you have the correct colored leotard for your dance level? What color tights do you need? Do you have the proper shoes? If you have warmup attire, make you sure you know when you are allowed to wear that and when you must remove it (you can usually wear it during barre and remove it during center).

Get Your Hair/Makeup/Feet Accessories Ready

We suggest having a little makeup bag within your dance bag. In your "hair / makeup" bag, you want to have a small brush, hair scrunchies, bobby pins, hair pins, and a small package of hair gel or hairspray. If you wear contacts, you want to throw in some eye drops, and we also suggest ChapStick of some kind (many dancers have a bad habit of licking or biting their lips during dance causing them to become chapped). We also suggest including Band-Aids for when feet get rubbed the wrong way, and tape for pointe classes. A small pair of scissors and a small sewing kit are also valuable in times when a ribbon comes loose.

Figure Out Your Hydration Methods

You have to stay hydrated in dance. This means you need a recyclable water bottle (or something that you can refill throughout the day), and also you may want to think of different methods to stay hydrated as well. This could mean fruit, smoothies, ice cubes and meats that have a high water content (like chicken!)

Get Some Books

We suggest Gail Grant's "Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet". This book will help students in other styles of dance as well, and it is a great resource if you are in class and find yourself unsure of a word or move. There are many other books out there that help with the history of styles of dance as well. And they're great reads!

Educate Yourself

Know about how ice works on injuries. Know about what medicines to take for soreness or pain. Know about the most common injuries in dance. All of this knowledge is the best way to be prepared for class.

Photo: Maria Doval Ballet

Take Class Seriously, but Have Fun

This is a time for growth and progress. It's a time for hard work, sweat, blood and tears. But it's also your life! Remember, you are living right now! This season is your life and you want to enjoy it while you are learning. Be as prepared and focused as possible, and then enjoy the movement. Embrace every chance you get to be in class and learn from your teachers. Be thankful, even when you're exhausted, and have a wonderful fall season!


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