How to Prepare for Conventions

You’ve been waiting for this moment all summer and now it’s finally here – convention season! Conventions are a great way to meet other aspiring dancers, gain confidence and resilience, and also learn from some of the most inspiring professionals in the industry. However, if you’ve never been to one, a dance convention can be a little nerve-wracking – what will you wear? How can you make a great impression and stand out from the crowd? Where will you stand?

These concerns are all valid. We’ll walk you through some questions and provide you with the answers to make your convention experience a memorable one! Something that isn’t mentioned in this article but is equally as important is having somewhere to stay so you can ensure you have a good night’s sleep before your convention. If you are in need of somewhere to stay, don’t hesitate to contact who will be able to help you.

1. What will you wear?

We always advise checking the convention website before packing your bags. Some won’t have a dress code but some may suggest wearing a leotard and tights. Our biggest suggestion would be to dress confidently but comfortably for what you’re performing. If you’re a hip hop dancer, wear comfortable sweats or a hoodie. If you’re in ballet, wear something form-fitting that shows off your lines. Also, make sure your footwear is adaptable in case you wind up working on carpet. Bring your jazz shoes for both jazz and contemporary classes.

2. How will you stand out?

Once you’ve settled on a comfortable outfit, work on making yourself stand out appearance-wise first. Bright leggings make you easier to point out by faculty as does certain hairstyles like pig tails or headbands.

Bring your best attitude. Ask questions when the time is right. It’s also very important to keep an open mind. Although you will be challenged in new ways, you should go push yourself with a positive mindset. Stay focused throughout the lesson.

After class, approach the choreographer and thank them.

3. Where should I stand?

When you’re attending a convention lesson, it’s just as important for the teacher to see you as it is to see them. If you can’t get up front right away – no problem! During the class, the teacher will ask you to change lines occasionally so that everyone has a chance to see the routine. Many choreographers also prefer that you wait to be front and center until you have the choreography down.

Once you get up front, focus on your own presence. Don’t worry about whether or not the choreographer is watching you. From our experience, we know that most teachers commend hard work much more than those seeking validation.

4. What if I can’t keep up?

Breathe. We know that convention classes are fast paced and it’s sometimes hard to be adaptable. However, teachers show you how to do a lot at the beginning of the class so you have time to practice throughout the rest of the class. If you don’t catch a part of the choreography at the beginning, you will have plenty of time to learn as you go.

5. When can I give it my all?

We know that dance conventions can be crowded. If you have room – dance full out. If you have limited space, hold back movements while you’re marking the choreography. You’ll have the opportunity to give it your all once you break into groups and you have some room of your own.

Though going to a dance convention may make you nervous it’s important that you have fun. You’re there to enjoy dance and learn from the best – don’t let your nerves get in the way of you getting out of your comfort zone. Once the convention is done, you will be happy that you made the best of it. Don’t forget to take everything you learned and apply it to your classes at Millennium Dance Complex!