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Eleventeen Things I Learned from Competitive Dance

Yes, eleventeen is a number in my strange world.  No, I didn’t learn it at dance. We only count to eight.  Sorry... bad dance-teacher-joke! I did learn a variety of things from the world of competitive dance.  My Star Team hits the stage this month (shameless plug: Open to the public! Star Team Showcase ticket info ad in this newsletter), so I wanted to dedicate this to all things, competitive dance.

Okay, so here are some things I learned...


Less eyeshadow, more eyelashes.

Mascara can be used as mascara, shoe polish, black fabric touch-ups, mustaches, unibrows and more.

When the choreography goes south, turn the corners of your mouth NORTH!  Keep smiling!

I learned how to change my outfit, hair and make-up in 20 seconds with help, 60 seconds without.  Things that speed up this process are:

  1. Don’t yell at your mother
  2. Make sure your 2nd pair of shoes are opened, and untied
  3. Don’t pull those laces too hard or they rip in 3, not 2, but 3
  4. Water-proof make-up = sweat-proof make-up, so no reapplication necessary
  5. Still... don’t yell at your mother - even take a precious second to thank your mother for her super powers.

I learned that “lazy” people get the job done early. If the job takes 1 hour, do it now and it’s done in 1 hour.  If you choose to procrastinate for 3 days, you add 3 days of worry. So now, the job takes 1 hour and 3 days. I got my homework done early. So, I’m much more “lazy” than those hard-working procrastinators! And it’s a good thing!

I mastered the concept of multi-tasking. Do your homework anywhere… floor, car, hotel, random staircase… while in your splits. Multi-tasking made me flexible and intelligent.

I learned to have mentors.  Trust your teachers. They know. They care.  And they get it.

I learned to have equals.  Trust your team. They hold you up whether it’s a lift in that dance piece, or during the hard times in life. You return the team spirit, in kind. Take care of that relationship and it will be there for you anytime.

I learned to say yes to help when I needed it.  Thank your parents. Add up the hours they work, the hours they drive, the hours they sew, the hours they cheer, and the hours they spend enjoying your passion along with you.  It takes a village to raise a dancer at times, and I’m so grateful for everyone involved in my experience growing up. They made it possible and their help was invaluable - I couldn’t have done it alone.

Can’t forget hair management!  While I still leave the important stuff to the pros, I can braid my hair, put it in a bun, a pony, a french roll, tease it, straighten it, curl it - just in case I need to again one day!

And finally improvise! When the stitch rips, the dancer trips or the hair gel drips, and you’re onstage, hold the seam with your jazz hand, pick up the dancers with a jazz hand, or wipe the gel from eyeball - you guessed it - with a jazz hand!

So to my dancers who are reading this, hopefully it helps you with your upcoming season.  We hit the stage this month! For any parents reading this who are considering this lifestyle or who are in it, in my dancer experience, and now my dance-mom experience - it’s totally worthwhile - still trying to get my kids to be lazy though!  

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