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General, How To...

Spring Recital Survival Guide

Spring time! It’s that lovely season when fresh flowers blossom, the sun starts shining, and for those of us involved in dance, tis the season for dance recitals. Just the word recital can be enough to bring on anxious jitters for many dance parents with instant thoughts of costumes, ticket sales, and endless rehearsals.

But recitals also bring great moments of joy, pride, and accomplishment for both parents and their dancers. This quick recital survival guide will help you prepare for recital season and enjoy your dancer’s special performance to the very fullest.

Early Bird Planning
Plan ahead and keep informed to avoid last minute stress. Here are some ways to stay ahead of the game before your recital.

1. Read informational handouts as soon as they are distributed and mark calendars with important dates.

2. Return participation and costume forms right away, don’t wait until the deadline.

3. Order costumes and accessories early so you have plenty of time for alterations and adding extras like rhinestones or accessories.

4. Take an early inventory of costumes and accessories needed for the performance with special attention to needs for fresh tights, undergarments, shoes, make-up, and hair accessories. Don’t wait until several days before the show to stock up on these items.

5. Make lists of what dances will be performed, and what is needed for each of those dances. List the costume, color and type of tights, shoes, accessories, and any other extras.

6. Practice dances at home often in the weeks leading up to the performance. The more comfortable your dancer is with the choreography, the less nervous they will be on the big day.

7. Be informed about procedures, dates, and times for rehearsals, dress rehearsals, and performances.

8. Consider volunteering to be a back stage parent or to help out with other performance needs. For large schools, often only a handful of volunteer parents will be allowed back stage to assist the students. If you would like to be behind the scenes with your dancer, volunteering is a great option.

Preparing for the Day of the Show

1. Stay organized. The week before the show, gather your lists of what is needed and organize everything so it can be easily located for the dress rehearsal and the day of the show.

2. Label your costumes and accessories with your student’s name. Members of the same class will have similar looking costumes, tights, and shoes. You’ll want to be able to find yours in a jiffy for quick changes.

3. Get a good rest. Recital days are long and tiring for everyone, and especially younger dances. Being well rested will help you all feel great on the day of the show.

4.  Arrive on time so that your dancer has plenty of time to dress, warm-up, and be ready to hit the stage. Late arrivals cause a great deal of unnecessary stress on the day of a performance.

5. Bring quiet activities, games, water, and healthy snacks for long days. There is often a lot of idle time waiting backstage for your turn to perform. Quiet games, books, and other activities will help pass the time. Pack healthy, non-messy snacks and drinks for long days. Be sure they are allowed in the dressing room and keep potential spills far away from costumes.

6. Consider bringing a small flower arrangement or thoughtful gift to congratulate your dancer. This performance tradition makes every dancer feel extra special after a job well done. Some studios have a tradition of chipping in for a group gift for the teacher, or bring small individual tokens of appreciation to the recital. Ask what is customary at your studio if you are not sure.

7. Relax and enjoy. You’ve done such a wonderful job preparing, and now is the time to sit back, grab that camera, and enjoy watching your little star shine on stage. Give yourself a pat on the back and give your dancer a great big hug for all they have accomplished!

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About Kristen

Kristen Padden has more than 20 years experience working as a dance choreographer, educator, and performer. She received a BA in Dance from Point Park University and enjoyed a professional career in New York City following college. "The art of dance is a wonderful form of creative expression and I love sharing that with students of all ages." Kristen also enjoys writing, especially about her favorite subject ... dance!

2 Responses to “Spring Recital Survival Guide”

  1. On August 30, 2012 at 7:52 pm DL responded with... #

    I’ve worked back stage at our recital for years now and I see one important time not listed here. Don’t leave your child out of the planning. Teach them to be responsible for their own costumes and getting ready.

    As the mom you may know to bring all the proper items for each costume but make sure your children do also. Last year I had a 5 year old back stage helping me put on her classmates costumes. She was great! She knew what color tights they needed, what side of the head the hair piece went on, etc. It can be crazy backstage and when you say “Where is your hat?” most of them look at you like you have six heads because mom does everything and they have no idea.

    • On August 30, 2012 at 7:57 pm Kristen responded with... #

      What a great point you make! Thank you for sharing and kudos to your 5 year old star who knows the ropes!

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