Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Stress-free Dance Costume Planning Checklist

Listening to a friend talk about all the planning that goes into preparing for her daughter's dance and cheer competitions got me thinking that the world of dance, cheer, and gymnastics can be stressful for moms who are just trying to hold it all together.  For this post, I collaborated with MoveU to come up with a checklist to make planning for performances a little less stressful.  

Stress-free Dance Costume Planning Checklist

Photo credit: Hdydi

Whether you are a dance mom, a cheerleader, or a Hip Hop dancer, you understand how important it is to be prepared. A simple thing like an extra pair of tights or a hair tie can destroy the grace and charm of a performance.

Each performer has specific needs unique to their art, but there are basic items that no performer should be without. Below you will find a no-stress checklist to make your life easier.

Please note, this list is not intended to be used for practice sessions. These items are for performers when they carry traditional dance costumes, Hip Hop dance costumes, and cheer competition. This list ensures performers will be ready for anything on their big night.

Photo credit: Patricia Palma

Must Haves
  • Dance shoes
    • This means shoes that you will wear to perform. They must be in good repair and they must fit properly. If the shoes have strings carry an extra pair.

  • Water
    • Most venues have water, but when a dancer is about to give their recital, there is no time to look for a water fountain. Keep two bottles of water in your bag at all times.

  • Hairbrush and accessories
    • This includes hair ties, rubber bands, bobby pins, and hairspray. Your hair should be neat and kept out of your face.
  • Travel sewing kit. This will contain safety pins, needle and thread, and buttons. This will save you if you have a minor incident with your costume.

  • Protein bars and hard candy
    • When you are performing, you use up much of your stored energy. A protein bar will give you more fuel and will help your body recover. However, sometimes you use up too much of your fuel and you feel the drop in your energy. Pop a few candies in your mouth. Sugar is a fast burst of energy.

  • Spare tights
    • If tights are part of your dance attire, you must take a spare set. Tights are the most likely item of clothing to be ruined.
    • If you are a cheerleader or a Hip Hop dancer, take extra socks for the same reason.

  • Warm up clothes
    • No matter what your dance of choice, you will need a cool off period to help your body adjust when you are finished. Flannel shirts, a cheer jacket, or a hoodie will do nicely.
Photo credit: KropeKK_Pl
  • Antibacterial wipes
    • Use these to freshen up if you fall or sweat too much

  • Deodorant
    • Dance is as physically challenging as any other competitive sport. You will need to reapply your deodorant

  • Breath mints
    • To keep your mouth moist and your breath fresh.

  • Bandaids
    • For minor cuts or blisters.

  • Antibiotic cream
    • A scraped knee or a splinter in your hand may not slow your performance, but when the dance has ended, use the ointment to prevent infection.

  • Feminine products
    • Never take chances

  • A hand towel
    • To pat away perspiration, to dry your hands, or for a hundred other uses.

  • Perfume or body spray
    • You must smell beautiful and feel beautiful. If you have a signature scent, you should wear it every time you perform. It will become part of your identity.

  • Disposable razor
    • Did you miss a spot while shaving your legs or forget to shave under your arms? Always have a fresh razor with you.

  • Travel size makeup
    • Hold on to those samples you receive when you buy makeup. They are the perfect size to carry with you. Last minute touch ups, refresh lipstick or tone down a shiny nose.

Photo credit: Niko_Shogol
Other items that may come in handy
  • An umbrella
  • A plastic bag (for damp clothes)
  • Pen and Paper
    • You never know who you will run into, be prepared to take down names and phone numbers
  • A current resume complete with photograph
  • A smartphone
  • Cab money
    • A dancer will let a flat tire or an empty gas tank make her miss her event
  • A change of clothes to wear when the event has ended
  • A jacket
Taking “being prepared” to a new level
Most dancers know what to take in their dance bag. However, they sometimes forget to empty it and wash or replace the items that were used when the return home. A smart dancer has two dance bags. You do not want to be ready to walk out the door and be hit with the smell of sweat and half eaten protein bars. Make it a habit of keeping a clean bag at the ready at all times. When you return home, clean it up and air out the bag.

Note: place a couple of dryer sheets in your bags to keep clothes smelling fresh.
When you decided to incorporate dance, cheer, or gymnastics into your life you may not have realized the time and energy it would take. Taking care of your beauty and body is very important. Unlike a football player or a runner, you do not have the luxury of looking hot, breathless, and sweaty after your event. You must maintain grace and control.

Do not take a chance that you will not need something on this list. It is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Be prepared and you will be more confident, more impressive, and more comfortable. You can do this if you simply plan ahead.

Thanks for reading!

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This post was written by a contributing author in collaboration with

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