So I’m getting ready to go to Lindy Focus, and DWT fans are all like, “Give us a post about preparing for a dance event!” And I’m like, “Write it yourselves, ya freeloaders!”

A scene from Lindy Focus 8, three years ago. Raucous fun, I tell you. Photo credit: Colin Butler

As you can see in their thoughtful responses to my questions here, my readers have provided. (By the way, if you see your comment here and would like a link to your website, let me know!)

Special shout out to reader Patrick Klima (PK), who went out of his way and wrote a whole boat-load of useful tips. Thanks!

Here are 47 top-shelf tips for attending a dance event, according to DWT readers (initials in parentheses). Preparation, travel, what to bring, food, staying healthy, and how to have fun.

Preparation

It’s really tough to do it all while staying happy and healthy, so decide what your priorities are and make choices accordingly. (JiM)

Picking the right event to begin with is helpful. If you know you want to compete or not, if you want specific teachers or audition style, dance camp vs dance vacation, lots of friends going vs few. (LC)

Read the event website top to bottom before you sign up, then read it again a week before you leave. (DWT)

Choosing classes: choose sparingly, and base your choice on the instructor, not the content. Over-scheduling makes the weekend no fun. And the benefit will come from what the instructors say during the class, not what they teach. Leave time for chilling, sleeping, and hanging out. (PK)

Prepare for auditions, if you have ’em! (DWT)

I wish I had known not to put my private bicycle among the rental bikes outside Folkets Hus… (SW)

Un-sueded Keds + ultra-sticky floors = how I strained my foot the first night of Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown one year.

[I wish I’d known] That Lindy Hop dance styles were not the same everywhere and that I’d need to know how to adapt my dancing to different people from around the country and world. (BC)

Suede your shoes or invest in a pair of leather dance shoes (dance floors at big events like Lindy Focus and ILHC tend to be rented floors that are stickier than the ballroom floors you are used to). (SA)

Smooth Travels

Never rent at a cheap nearby motel if the event is in a hotel. It’s totally worth it to pay the extra $$ to stay at the event. (SA)

Hotel roommate selection can really help make a weekend special, but it won’t ruin you if you room with randoms. (PK)

If there is a road trip involved a good sing-a-long playlist is a MUST for me. Also look up car games on the internet if you don’t know any good ones. If you are crossing a border make sure everyone has their passports before you leave home [editor’s note: learned from experience, did you?]. (AB)

Carpool with only one or two other people you know well, or drive yourself. Group excursions can turn into a massive pain. (PK)

Clothes, and Apparently There Are Other Things to Bring

Don’t forget your stuffed bunny Mr. Cuddles. Photo credit: Tiberiu Ana

Pack twice as many shirts as you think you’ll need, then add ten more. And bring a fan if it’s DCLX or a similarly hot venue. (KB)

Take your sock estimate and triple it. (BT)

Bring clothes, more clothes, and everything that goes with your clothes (belts, suspenders, shoes, accessories). (DWT)

Buy more comfortable dance shoes. The ones I wore to my first event were not okay with 12+ hours of standing, learning, and dancing. (CH)

I wish I had known how to dress comfortably rather than wearing a vintage dress and heels. (KS)

If it is a weekend workshop bring something to take notes on and with to keep track of everything you have learned for when you forget later. Also bring a camera and get a video of you doing it with a partner, or the instructors, for reference later. [Editor’s note: I want to see that video afterwards…] (AB)

Don’t forget to bring enough clothes. (DWT)

Food. It’s important.

Don’t forget to eat [editor’s note: seriously, this happens]. (JD)

You might get super hungry. Or your body may suppress your appetite. Either way, the more you dance, the more often you need to eat. (DWT)

If you have special dietary requirements, map out an eating plan ahead of time. (DWT)

Late night dancing: It’s all about keeping your blood sugar high. You need to plan for a 4th meal around midnight. That means getting take-out earlier in the day and stashing it. (PK)

Bringing snacks was a hard-learned lesson. (FN)

My approach: Emergen-C and healthy food. Photo credit: District 47

Staying Healthy

Drink way more water than you think you need throughout the day to keep your muscles working. Sleep in late (use the black out curtains in the hotel room and don’t forget to hang the do not disturb sign). Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. (PK)

Napping is crucial! (VS)

Ibuprofen. (RG)

Take care of your feet, knees, ankles! (DJS)

[Do] Foot massages and exercises to keep them supple and responsive! (JiM)

Foot care seems to be a big thing for women. Their dance shoes seem to be a lot less comfy than mine. (PK)

Bring a water bottle. (DWT)

Having Fun (For People Who Need Help With That Sort of Thing)

You don’t have to do everything (but you did pay to be there). (ZW)

Find a group to hang out with during the weekend. (DJS)

Late-night is pretty much always worth it, even if you’re completely swungover the following day. (MH)

I wish I’d known how to ask other people to dance. (SJ)

Bring a flask [editor’s note: check the rules before you brink alcohol into a venue]. (PH)

Try to plan to get meals with a group. That’s prime social time. People are usually really welcoming (and they’re also looking for people to eat with) so it’s ok to walk up to a friendly group that looks like they’re and going someplace and ask to join. (PK)

Sleep more to enjoy past day two. (NO)

Late night dancing: Start the caffeine around 1 am, before you start losing your coordination. (PK)

Don’t freak out. Everything is going to be fine. (DWT)

[I wish I’d known] That everyone would like dancing with me. That everyone goes through that first time anxiety and wanting to fit in. (MG)

Read A Love Letter to Lindy Focus. (DWT) 

If all else fails, relax and enjoy the show. Photo credit: Colin Butler

Miscellaneous Tips

For leaders—put your wristband on the left hand! That way, wristbands on the leaders right hand don’t scratch the hell out of their followers. (SA)

I’m glad I had no idea what to expect. It was so new, so far beyond anything I’d ever experienced (in the dance world), and it was awesome every minute of every day. (EB)

Floorcraft. Floorcraft. Floorcraft. (PL)

If you are the kind of person who needs extra rest and less intensity, don’t unfairly compare yourself with others who seem to be doing it all. (JiM)

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, read Body Odor at Dance Events by the excellent Laura Windley.

Do you have a great dance event tip that we left out? Post it in the comments below!

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