The importance of a dress rehearsal!

You have practiced your dance routines time and time again and feel that you are ready to compete or perform. But have you done a dress rehearsal? And I mean a full-on dress rehearsal – dress, shoes, hair, nails (if you’re using fake), etc.?  Speaking from personal experience, don’t forego the dress rehearsal!

Anderson Sylvestre and Yuliya Frid at 2008 Mexico Open

Although many of the following points are directed at the ladies, it is very important for the gentlemen to be aware of them.

  1. When you are in full costume, it’s amazing how different it feels to dance those same routines. Especially for smooth and standard styles, for example, your movement across the floor will be impacted by the heaviness or lightness of your skirt, as well as its length. How many times have you seen a heel get stuck in a skirt? I know I have seen plenty! Are you ready to recover from this kind of situation if it were to happen to you during a performance?

2. There is a reason dance clothing cannot be bought at a regular store. Dance-wear is designed and made to help you avoid the usual mishaps: the skirt riding up, buttons getting caught or unbuttoned, zippers getting unzipped, underwear showing and many more. Nonetheless, even with the best of costumes, there is always a chance for a wardrobe malfunction. I’ll tell you the story of mine!

I was competing with Anderson in Cancun, Mexico in American Rhythm. My dress was a perfect fit, my hair was pulled back tightly into a bun and my shoes had been broken in many times, so I thought I was golden! Who knew that I was about to get stuck, literally, in an uncomfortable position?! We were dancing the Rumba, I was doing a sort of swiveling action while lowering to the floor with my back against Anderson, when I realized, painfully, I was stuck! My hair bun had somehow gotten stuck on Anderson’s shirt hook and I became immovable. I couldn’t straighten my legs to stand up, I couldn’t turn around and I didn’t want to pull away in fear of ripping my hair out and ripping my partner’s shirt. So there we were, in the middle of a fierce competition, just standing there trying to untangle my hair. I was mortified and probably red as a beet despite my heavy fake suntan. Somehow we managed to hustle off the floor and detach me from Anderson, but we never got to finish our dance and we will definitely never forget this story!

I have several other stories on wardrobe malfunction, I won’t bore you, but I do suggest to always test out your costumes!

3. When it comes to jewelry, ladies, choose lighter pieces that fasten well and don’t fly off at the first spin – have seen too many of those! Bracelets, rings, all types of accessories need to be tested out during practice. Don’t leave it until the show or competition only to find out it’s not as comfortable or practical as you had hoped.

4. Test out your hairdo. Does hair get in your eyes when you’re turning? Does the pony tail come undone when you’re doing flips and tricks? Does your hair get caught on your partner’s buttons/hooks (as happened to me)?

In this same category, let’s include nails. Ladies, if you’re going for sexy long nails, make sure you get a few practices with them on too! I have a personal little horror story to tell about this but won’t go into too much detail. In short, one of my nails almost got ripped off my finger while holding on to my partner’s hand during multiples fast turns. Ouch!

5. And finally, break in your shoes well in advance! Your feet need to get used the shoes you will be performing in, so give them several weeks of wear.

Dancers, there is nothing better than to be ready for any and all dance events. So take those dress rehearsals seriously!

By Yuliya Frid