by Joyce E. Pennington

Choose a costume that is right for you, not for someone else on your team nor a catalog model. Get some advise on what will be the most flattering not only for your figure, but your choice of style in your dance. Choose a color that is flattering for your skin and hair coloring. If you have never been "color analyzed", check with your local beauty consultant. It could be a move in a positive direction not only for your solo, but for you, as well.

Search for music that will inspire the audience and the judges. Do not use something that is overused. Make sure to get a quality recording that is timed properly, has the correct performance tempo, and has exceptional music quality. Always make sure to bring a back up!

Make sure to choreograph variety in your dance with floor coverage, level changes and change of pace. Do not try to do stunts that you cannot execute properly. This will only cause point deductions. If you are unable to do any difficult moves, I would suggest to add some other 'gimmicks' that will make your routine unique. This can be accomplished by perhaps thematic music with a unique costume, personality and expression.

Read the rules carefully and make sure that you have followed all the guidelines including time limits and routine content.

Select footwear that will be appropriate not only for your routine, but for the performance surface. Always bring several options for footwear at each contest that will compliment your costume.

Rehearse your routine both in a very small area (30' x 20'), as well as the gym floor. Sometimes the preliminaries are held in a very small room where the finals are on a gym floor.

Make sure to study the scoresheet well in advance of the competition. Always invite your hardest critiques to critique your routine. This is when your Mother may not always know best (they will always think that you are perfect!). The more input you have on your routine prior to contest, the more chances you have to improve your performance.

After the contest, make good use of your comments and comment tapes by playing back the video and reviewing it with the judges responses. This will better help you see your routine through the judges eyes.

Make sure that your hair is secured away from your face. It does not always have to be all pulled back but should be functional for your routine. Secure all accent pieces and hair pins. Fallen costume pieces become distracting to the judges and audience.

Keep everything in perspective. Accept the challenge, yet be ready to lose gracefully. Nothing "stinks" worse than a poor loser. Remember that each experience of competition will build a stronger person inside, only if YOU perceive to make it happen.

"If it is to be, it is up to ME."


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Dancewear models and cosutmes courtesy of Creations by Cicci