Photo by Universal Event Photography, courtesy Star Dance Alliance

Trends That Slayed at Nationals 2017

Stop us if we sound like a broken record (but don't, because you guys totally deserve it): 2017 was seriously the best year yet for Nationals. From minis to seniors, solos to production numbers, you comp kids proved once again that you've got all of the technique, presence, and fierceness. Until next summer—when you'll undoubtedly make our collective jaws drop yet again—here are the top 10 hottest trends we spotted at Nationals 2017.

1. Bendy Backs

This year, you literally bent over backwards to impress the judges—not to mention the audience!

Courtesy The Dance Awards

Courtesy Ash Productions

Photo by Sharesa Hendrix, courtesy Showstopper

2. Low Buns

Modern and classic, sleek and edgy, this style kept our focus on the elegance and power of your dancing.

Photo by Evolve Photo, courtesy Star Dance Alliance

Photo by Universal Event Photography, courtesy Star Dance Alliance

Courtesy The Dance Awards

3. It's a Setup

Props to you for using set pieces without letting them distract from your incredible dancing.

Photo by DRC Video, courtesy Leap

Photo by Universal Event Photography, courtesy Star Dance Alliance

Courtesy Velocity Dance Convention

4. Suit and Tie

Justin Timberlake would be more than proud of the dapper, dashing costumes for many of this year's classic jazz and swing numbers.

Photo by Tori Sullivan, courtesy Dancemakers

Photo by Silvie Damskey, courtesy Headliners

Photo by Evolve Photo, courtesy New York City Dance Alliance

5. Ms. Robot-o

Sci-fi themes were everywhere this year, showcasing a dancey vision of the future.

Photo by Evolve Photo, courtesy New York City Dance Alliance

Photo by Take Creative, courtesy Hollywood Vibe

Photo by Universal Event Photography, courtesy Star Dance Alliance

6. Sheer Elegance

Mesh, lace, and other sheer inserts on costumes made for a trendy, but never overdone, style #upgrade.

Photo by Visual Tech Productions, courtesy Adrenaline

Photo by Evolve Photo, courtesy New York City Dance Alliance

Photo by Universal Event Photography, courtesy Star Dance Alliance

7.Ladies in Red---and Burgundy

💃🏽 much? You really brought the fire this year, in ruby, garnet, and crimson shades.

Photo by Shutter Storm Media, courtesy L.A. Dance Magic

Photo by Evolve Photo, courtesy New York City Dance Alliance

Courtesy The Dance Awards

8. Free Lunge

We're declaring 2017 the Year of the Lunge. Adding drama, power, and excitement, this versatile move showed up consistently to great effect.

Photo by Universal Event Photography, courtesy Star Dance Alliance

Photo by Evolve Photo, courtesy New York City Dance Alliance

Photo by Visual Tech Productions, courtesy Adrenaline

9. Military Time

Atten-TION! We were mesmerized by the sharp, clean routines that soldiered on with inspiration from the armed forces.

Photo by Patrick Andrada, courtesy Dance Educators of America

Courtesy The Dance Awards

Photo by Dancepixs, courtesy Bravo!

10. Comps Get Real

We fell hard for the true-to-life costumes and gestural choreo that lit up Nationals stages with authenticity and relatability.

Photo by Mike Farella/Exulting Images, courtesy Encore DCS

Courtesy The Dance Awards

Photo by Evolve Photo, courtesy New York City Dance Alliance

A version of this story appeared in the November 2017 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "The Finals Countdown."

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Even if you've selected the perfect dance bag, it's important to be mindful of how you wear it.

Gearhart advocates wearing both straps when carrying your backpack. She also suggests placing heavier items towards the back of the bag, where they will sit closer to your body. A bag with straps that are too loose (or a bag that is too heavy) can create an increased arch in the lower back or cause a dancer to compensate for the weight by leaning forward. Ideally, Gearhart recommends a dancer's dance bag weighing no more than 10 to 15 percent of their body weight.

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