You’ve put in all the hard work; now it’s time to show it off! Performance days are both exciting and stressful, but proper preparation the day of a show or competition can help you find your groove and enjoy the experience.
Get Your Beauty Sleep!
Falling asleep can be tricky when your stomach is full of butterflies and your brain is busy running your choreography over and over again, but try to get to bed at a reasonable hour. A hot bath, herbal tea, or a gentle stretching or meditation session can help quiet your body and mind.
Keep a notepad or your phone by your bed, so if you think of something you need, you can write yourself a quick note (“Don’t forget baby wipes!”), rather than taxing your brain with remembering it in the morning. If you’ve got an early call time, pack your bag the night before so you won’t be rushed.
Even if you’re not performing until the evening, nourish your body throughout the day. If you’ve got a sensitive stomach, plan meals far enough in advance that you’re satiated but not overly full by performance time. Remember that events don’t always run on time, so bring healthy snacks with you in case you need to refuel. Stay hydrated, and of course, no alcohol until you’re firmly planted on the ground for good!
Pack Your Bag
Don’t leave home without everything you need. We recommend packing the following in a wheeled suitcase, rather than a heavy shoulder bag:
- Your apparatus, if you’re providing it, and all necessary rigging. If someone else is rigging you, it helps to have extra carabiners, swivels, slings, and spansets to ensure your height is just right.
- Costume, including any necessary undergarments, tights, and shoes. Some performers also pack backup costume pieces, just in case.
- Double-stick tape, or anything you need to keep costume pieces in place.
- Warmup clothes (if you’re not wearing them to the venue).
- Makeup bag and mirror – the dressing room will likely have lots of performers vying for limited space.
- Hair accessories. If you’re doing something elaborate, we’re going to assume you’ve successfully completed several practice runs with it. Make sure you have all the pieces together and that they’re easy to find.
- Baby wipes to clean your feet before you go onstage. Alternatively, you can wear socks or booties while you walk around the venue. Do not go onstage with dirty feet.
- Your favorite grip aid(s) and plenty of it.
- Reusable water bottle.
- Cash, in case you need it for parking or other things.
- ID, in case you need it for venue access.
- Backup copy of your music. If your music is on your phone, bring your phone charger as well.
- Headphones, so you can listen to your music without everyone else having to.
- Yoga mat, so you don’t have to stretch on the hard, cold, (possibly) dirty venue floor.
- Towel, to clean up spills, dab sweat, etc.
- Safety pins, straight pins, scissors, needle and thread, and extra fasteners.
- Band-aids and other minor first aid supplies, including ibuprofen.
- Post show celebration outfit.
Leave yourself extra time to get to the venue, especially if it’s somewhere you haven’t been before. Account for possibilities like bad traffic, construction, wrong turns, or difficulty finding parking.
Once you arrive, follow instructions on where to store your stuff, pay attention to when you’re needed for sound and rigging checks or to tech your piece (remember that a full run may not be possible), and try to relax.
Do what makes you comfortable, whether it’s socializing with other performers or plugging in your headphones and ignoring the rest of the world. This is your time for final physical and mental preparation. You’ve put in countless hours of work, and it’s finally going to pay off. Right before you go on, check your teeth, adjust your costume, apply your grip, and get ready to shine.