Notes for New Competitors

Notes for new competitors about how to prepare for a highland dance competition.

Shoe Laces: Shoe laces should never be allowed to flop about. Tuck the bows and lace ends into the shoe or wrap them around the ankle laces, convert to elastics or whatever you need to do to clean up the look around your feet.

Hair: Hair should be up and off the neck. By allowing the hair to come down and cover the area around the neck and shoulders you are distorting judges sight lines when they are trying to assess proper body alignment. Besides that, it looks much neater. The only exception is when dancing a choreographed piece.

Placement: Know where the judge is in relation to you when you are lining up on the platform. If there are 3 dancers, the middle dancer should be directly in front of the judge. If there are 2 or 4 dancers, they should be centered in front of the judge.

Socks: If you aren’t going to wear tartan socks the socks you do wear should come to the bottom of the knee, not mid calf or lower. actually, tartan socks should come the bottom of the knee too. Please don’t wear frilly socks with your national costume as it detracts from your footwork. Garters on your socks are good to have, as socks that are falling down are distracting to the judges.

Degree of Difficulty: Beginner dancers, and to some extent novices as well, harder steps are not necessarily better. You are being judged based on how well you perform a dance. Contrary to what some people may think, you do not get extra points for degree of difficulty. Choose an easy step and do it well instead of a hard step done poorly.

Teachers and Parents: Teachers and parents should not be  in the marshalling area, whether it is to fix an outfit, or give last minute coaching. Your dancer should arrive in the marshalling area prepared, and their instructions from there are up to the marshal.

Awards: When being presented with an award, you should be in FULL dress. This means no running shoes. Stand in first position while waiting, and be attentive for the others who are getting prizes, too. You would want them to pay you the same courtesy.

What to Take in your Dance Bag:

1. Hair Kit:

  • Ponytail elastics– Bobbie pins/hair pins (in 35mm film container)– Bun-shaped donut– Hairnets– Comb/brush– Styling gel
  • Mega-hold hairspray (least expensive works best)
  • Jig hair ribbon
  • 2. Sewing Kit:

    • Threads in all colors in costume
    • Handsewing needles
    • Safety pins (assorted sizes)
    • Small scissors
    • Black quilting or uphostery thread, leather needle & thimble for gillies repair

    3. First Aid Kit:

    • Band Aids (assorted sizes)
    • Antiseptic wipes
    • Tylenol/ibuprofin (extra for moms)
    • Pepto/tums/digel tablets
    • Trainers tape & prewrap
    • Ace wrap
    • Scissors

    4. Shoe Shine Kit:

    • Liquid polish & applicators – black & red
    • Buffing cloth
    • Extra laces
    • Permanent markers
    • Sock garters / wide elastic

    5. Miscellaneous:

    • Tissues
    • Wet wipes
    • Sunscreen
    • Gillie covers
    • Spare gillies
    • Small trash bag
    • Drinking straws
    • Insect repellant
    • Suspenders (buy white at formal wear shop)