The Checklist of Champions: Getting Organized Before Nationals

Imagine that you’re standing in the wings at Nationals, ready to rock your tap number. Just as you’re about to step onto the stage, your elbow-length glove slides down to your wrist. Panic sets in as you realize you forgot to bring double-stick tape to secure your gloves, and you won’t be able to keep them in place once you start moving around onstage!

From accessory bloopers to forgotten props, the list of things that can go awry at Nationals isn’t a short one. But, by planning ahead and packing carefully, you can ensure that you’ll have everything you need on competition day. Being prepared is part of being professional, so summon your inner Girl Scout and follow this comprehensive checklist to avoid Nationals nightmares.

Note: Specific needs vary from dancer to dancer, so be sure to check with your teacher to find out what else you should add to this list.

Grooming Gear


__Makeup mirror

__Makeup and nail polish remover

__Hairbrush and comb

__Bobby pins in various colors and sizes

__Hair elastics

__Hair clips


__Hair gel

__Curling iron


__False eyelashes and lash glue

__Cotton swabs and facial tissues

__Clear deodorant


__Topical heat rub


__Elastic bandages

__Adhesive bandages


__Alcohol swabs

__Instant ice packs

__Tampons or pads

Performance Essentials




__Hair accessories


__Garment bags or zip-close bags for each costume

__A collapsible costume rack and hangers

__Tights (bring extras!)

__Practice shoes and/or foot thongs

__Warm-up and rehearsal clothing

__Shoe polish

__Safety pins

__Clear nail polish (in case you get a run in your tights)

__Sewing kit

__Instant stain remover

Healthy Must-Haves

__Water bottle

__Electrolyte-filled fluids like Gatorade, coconut water or Smartwater

__High-energy snacks like sandwiches, veggies, sunflower seeds, almonds and grapes

The Best of the Rest

__Your team jacket or sweats

__Street clothes

__Street shoes

__Bras and underwear


__Dance bag and laundry bag for already-worn items

__Markers for labeling items


__Camera and iPod

__List of important contact numbers and addresses

__Spending money

__Good-luck charm (if you have one)

About Jen Jones Donatelli

Jen Jones Donatelli is a freelance writer based in L.A. She is a regular contributor to Dance Spirit, Dance Magazine and Dance Teacher.
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