Dance Audition season is here!
Although this is an exciting time, it can simultaneously be a nerve-wracking experience for both dance parents and dancers. No worries. This blog will assist all dance parents in preparing their child for a dance audition. Whether your dancer is auditioning to attend a performing arts school, a college dance program, or a summer dance intensive program, there are some tips that all dancers should implement before their audition day.
As a dance parent, you play a critical role in your dancer obtaining placement in the dance program that they are auditioning for. Follow these 10 simple tips to help your dancer have a successful dance audition.
1. Research-Know who you are auditioning for
Does your dancer know who they are auditioning for? It is important to know what the main focuses of the dance program is. What is the foundation of the dance program? Is the program solely focused on ballet, modern, or variety of dance styles?
You do not want your dancer auditioning for a dance program that is looking for dancers who have a strong background in ballet and modern dance, but your dancer has taken only jazz and tap classes. Regardless of the program’s focus, it is important that your child is a well-rounded dancer. Make sure that she/he is taking as many dance classes as they can in a variety of dance styles. The goal is to create a diverse portfolio while they are young and then to specialize in a specific style when they become older.
Know who your dancer is auditioning for. It is your job as a dance parent to make sure they are prepared. Set your dancer up for success.
2. Practice doing dance combinations
Practice, practice, practice. There is no such thing as practicing too much. In dance class, your dancer will have a lot of experience with learning dance combinations. Make sure your dancer is practicing dance combinations outside of their dance class. The goal is to be able to learn dance combinations quickly, without the instructor having to show the combinations several times. This is a skill that is developed with practice. If your dancer is taking dance classes, this skill is being developed. Thus, your dancer is already off to a great start.
If your dancer is not taking dance classes and she/he will be auditioning for a dance program, please enroll them in dance classes months in advance of their audition. The audition instructors are looking for dancers who can pick up on choreography quickly without making many mistakes.
3. Know what you are wearing days before your audition
Would you wait until the morning of a very important job interview to figure out what you’re going to wear to the interview? No! You would make sure you have your outfit chosen days prior to your interview.
This same practice is important for your dancer to implement days before their audition.
Ask your dancer if they know what leotard they want to wear for the audition. Is the leotard clean? Does he have a clean dance belt? Check to make sure that their dance tights are clean and free of holes, tears, rips, and runs. Make sure your male dancer’s t-shirt is cleaned and ironed. Take the time to make sure that their dance attire is fitting properly. You want to make sure that your dancer is standing out during the audition, but you do not want your dancer standing out because her leotard is too small or because his dance belt does not fit properly.
This is also the time to make sure that your child’s dance shoes are in good shape. It is also important to note that most dance programs will tell you which styles of dance your child will be performing for the audition.
Please make sure that your dancer has all the dance shoes needed for each style of dance they will be asked to do. Don’t allow your dancer to be “eliminated” because they do not have all of the proper dance shoes for their audition.
Lastly, I can’t stress enough the importance of having the correct undergarment (i.e., nude leotard) for female dancers who will be on their menstrual cycle during the audition. If your daughter wears a sanitary pad, the nude leotard replaces her underwear. The audition is already stressful enough. Please prepare your daughter if her menstrual cycle is present during the audition.
4. Create your solo dance routine
Majority of dance auditions are structured for the dancer to show the instructor that they can follow directions, pay attention, and learn dance combinations and choreography. However, most dance auditions grant dancers with the opportunity to showcase their uniqueness through a solo dance routine.
Let’s be honest. Dance auditions are very intense and adding a solo routine to the mix can make things more intense. But your dancer will be prepared for this opportunity because they understand that this moment is a time for them to standout and show the instructors a comprehensive glimpse of what they have to offer as a dancer. This is the time where your dancer can show who they truly are and why they should be selected to join the dance program.
If your dancer is someone who has not mastered the skill of improv (i.e., most young dancers), make sure they have created their solo routine prior to their audition. This dance routine does not need to be lengthy. Hence, your dancer should choreograph about 8-10 counts of 8. This will allow your dancer to have enough choreography to shorten the routine if needed. The audition process is already intense enough. Making sure your dancer has created their solo dance routine before they are asked to perform the routine at the audition, will help your dancer remain claim and focused throughout the entire audition.
Remember, this part of the audition is there to help your dancer showcase their unique talents. The goal is to standout. Encourage your dancer to infuse different styles of dance into their solo routine. Your dancer is a multifaceted dancer. This is the time to show that they study more than one style of dance. Let your dancer know that this is their last opportunity to shine in the audition. This is the last time to show out. So, do it big!
5. Know where you need improvement and ask for dance audition advice
Other than you, your child’s dance instructors are their number one fans. Their instructors have been tracking their dance progression and have firsthand knowledge of their areas of improvement. It is essential that your dancer takes the time to sit with their dance instructors months before the audition to discuss the areas they need to improve. This is a great opportunity for your dancer to work one-on-one with their dance instructors. Most dance instructors offer private dance lessons.
Take advantage of this opportunity. This is valuable, personal time that your dancer can receive to increase their chance of obtaining placement in the dance program they are auditioning for. This is a great time for your dancer to learn the art of improving. Also, remember that your child’s dance teacher has participated in several dance auditions. They have a wealth of knowledge about what is expected at a dance audition.
Make sure your dancer takes the time to ask their dance instructors about their experience with dance auditions. They have so many tips and secrets that they are dying to share with your dancer. All they need to do is ask and be prepared to implement what has been shared with them.
6. Eat a nutritious meal before the audition
Eating nutritious meals daily is a very vital part of keeping your dancer’s body healthy. Just as it is important to eat a nutritious meal before a test, it is especially important that your dancer eats a nutritious meal before their audition. Feeding your body, a nutritious meal allows your anxiety level to lower, it brings clarity, and allows your body and mind to be alert. These are all the benefits that you want your dancer to possess. Aim to feed your dancer this nutritious meal at least two hours before the audition.
For many reasons, it is not wise to eat right before an audition. Your dancer’s body needs time to digest the food properly. Can you imagine what would happen to a dancer who is dancing on a full stomach while dealing with high anxiety levels? A disaster is what’s going to happen. The last thing you want is for your dancer to throw up in the middle of their audition! You also want to allow time for your dancer to use the bathroom if needed. Eating healthy moves our bowels. Allow them time to empty their stomach.
Some great foods to eat before a dance audition includes eggs, blueberries, Greek yogurt, oatmeal, whole grain bread, walnuts, quinoa, lentils, beets, spinach, fish, broccoli, asparagus, salmon, and chicken breast.
Drink plenty of water and green tea to stay hydrated and energized. Feed your dancer foods that are high in protein and low in fat.
Don’t feed them too much. You don’t want your dancer too full and sluggish during the audition. You also don’t want them starving and focusing on quieting their growling stomach rather than paying attention to the instructor.
7. Arrive to the audition early
Have you ever heard the saying, “Arriving on time is late?” This is true in the dance world.
Prior to the day of the audition, take time to plan out the big day. Make a schedule and write down what you need to do to get your dancer to the audition early. Are you picking your dancer up early from school? Are you cooking that nutritious meal the night before or the day of the audition?
Plan everything out. Arrive to the audition early, but not too early. Arrive at least 30 minutes before the audition starts. Take this time to mentally prepare your dancer for the audition. Remind them that they have been practicing for this moment.
Tell them to breathe, do their best, and to have fun! Make sure your dancer is also using this time to start warming up for their audition.
8. Your first impression is the most memorable impression
Dance auditions are often very nerve-wracking. However, you never want to show emotions of nervousness or defeat during an audition. Although it is normal and okay for your dancer to feel nervous and anxious, the goal is to not let these emotions show on their face. This is show-biz. Let your dancer know that this is their moment. To own this moment. To take up space. Remind them to walk into that audition confident with their head held high and to maintain this confidence throughout the entire audition.
Tell your dancer to smile. The power of smiling is real. Even when you are not feeling your best, smiling helps to boost your mood. Everyone is going to appear nervous and will be dancing without a smile on their face. But your dancer will be smiling and will have a joyful arura and energy which helps them to standout.
The positive energy that your dancer will emit will show the instructors that they are prepared to have a successful audition.
9. Pay attention and remain focused
It is so important to pay attention the entire time the audition is in session. In auditions, dancers will often audition alongside other dancers that they know. It will be very tempting for your dancer to want to talk to their friends. Remind them that they will have plenty of time to talk with their friends after the audition.
Your dancer must block out everything that is going on around them and solely focus on what the instructors are teaching them. During an audition, there is no talking, laughing, or playing around. Your dancer should treat their audition as if they are interviewing for a job.
Discuss proper dance etiquette with your dancer. Poor dance etiquette (e.g., leaning on the barre, talking, and dancing while the instructor is talking or demonstrating a dance step) is a sign of a dancer not paying attention. Your dancer wants to show the instructors that they are taking this opportunity seriously. Although it is so easy for them to get distracted, their main goal is to remain focused and on task, blocking out everything around them.
Tell them to keep their eyes on the prize…..a spot in the dance program.
10. Stay positive and have fun
Where your focus goes, your energy flows. It is vital that you instill in your dancer to keep positive thoughts throughout the entire audition, even when they make mistakes. Many times, the instructors are not paying the most attention to the dancers who are perfecting the choreography. They are often watching and looking for dancers who are giving their all, trying their best, and applying the corrections that are given to them. People are more willing to appreciate someone who is giving their all. Even if their all is not the best in the room.
They are looking to see who is willing to continue after they have made a mistake. No one is expecting the dancers to be perfect.
Instill in your dancer the power of keeping positive thoughts. It is very hard to remain focused and to do your best when negative thoughts are running rampant in your mind. Before the audition, have your dancer listen to positive affirmations on YouTube to plant positive thoughts in their subconscious and conscious mind. Make this a daily practice. It’s amazing how our minds have the ability to shift when we feed it positive words. It is your job to show your dancer how to remain positive despite something not going correctly. This is a daily practice and is very important for their audition.
Overall, the number one thing to remember about dance auditions is to have fun. Yes, Have fun. A dance audition is an important event, but all of your dancer’s hard work is not worth it if they’re not having a great time.
Maybe you have never participated in a dance audition, but you have done a job interview. The process is no different. The more prepared a dancer is for their audition, the better the outcome. There will be hundreds of other dancers who are auditioning for the same placement that your dancer is auditioning for. Work with your dancer to prepare them for the audition. Everyone will not take the time to properly prepare for an audition or they may not know how to prepare. But you do! Take advantage of these tips.
If your dancer is auditioning for a dance program this year, start implementing these tips immediately! Remember, as a dance parent, you play a critical role in your dancer securing placement in the dance program that they are auditioning for. Remain calm and positive.
Your thoughts, words, and beliefs have the power to shape the thoughts, words, and beliefs of your dancer.
Create a checklist to make sure your dancer has all their dance supply needs. If you need assistance with finding dance attire to help your dancer standout among the other dancers in the audition, come in to see us.
For the dance parents who have been through a dance audition with your dancer, we want to hear from you. What dance audition tips do you have to share with other dance parents? Share with us below.
If your dancer is auditioning for a dance program, share below which dance program they are auditioning for.
Break a leg dancers!
Dance shoes are essential dance supplies for all dancers. Whether your dancer is just beginning dance classes or a pre-professional dancer, quality dance shoes are an absolute necessity in order to progress as a dancer.
In this blog post, we are sharing five hacks to help you extend the life of your child’s dance shoes.
1. Get Your Dancer Professionally Fitted for Dance Shoes
Let’s get real. It’s 2019. Shopping online and having products delivered directly to your front door is very convenient and time efficient. We also know that shopping online for many products can also be more cost efficient. However, there are some specialty products that you should always try to purchase in person. Dance shoes are specialty products that should be reserved for purchasing from a dance supply store. Dance shoes are sized differently from regular street shoes and often require conversions when fitting.
Professional dance supply consultants are trained to know how to properly fit the feet of all dancers. They have many techniques to help your dancer find the correct size dance shoes. A professional shoe fitter will know how to make sure your dancer has growing room in their dance shoes.
Although dance shoes are made to fit snugly, you never want your dancer’s shoes to fit too small or just right. It is good practice to purchase dance shoes (except for pointe shoes) with a little bit of growing room.
Being professionally fitted for dance shoes and having a little growing room in the fit of the dance shoes will help extend the length of time that your dancer wears the shoes.
Allow the professional shoe fitters at Ultimate Dancewear to assist you with this first hack. We perform free professional shoe fittings for every dancer for all styles of dance (e.g., ballet, pointe, tap, and ballroom).
2. Purchase Quality Dance Shoes
In addition to shopping online, we understand that it is very tempting to purchase dance shoes from discount department stores, such as Walmart or Target. However, the quality of dance shoes from Walmart or Target versus the quality of dance shoes from a dance supply store differs greatly.
Most dance shoes found in discount department stores are made from bonded/blended leather. Bonded/blended leather is a very low-grade leather whereby the leather is manufactured by binding small pieces of leather together with other non-leather material. As a result, these low-grade leather dance shoes tend to feel as stiff as cardboard and are uncomfortable to the foot. This can cause soar, achy feet, and technical failure for your dancer. Now, imagine your dancer trying to dance with cardboard shoes. Would you agree that this would be very uncomfortable?
Unlike the dance shoes that are found in a discount department store, the dance shoes found in dance supply stores are made from genuine leather. Dance shoes made from genuine leather creates a soft feel and a range of flexibility. One of the primary purposes of the use of dance shoes is to enhance dance movements. Therefore, you do not want your dancer’s shoes hindering their progress because the shoes are too hard and uncomfortable. Your dancer will not endure as long in a low-grade leather dance shoe as they would in a higher-grade leather dance shoe.
Feel free to visit us at Ultimate Dancewear to examine the difference in the quality of the dance shoes from the discount department stores and the dance shoes from our dance supply store. If you want your dancer to have dance shoes that are going to last, invest in good quality dance shoes.
3. A Mesh Bag is a Dance Shoe’s Best Friend
Dancing is a sport and a form of exercise. As a result, dance shoes are filled with pounds of sweat, dead skin cells, and bacteria. Over time, sweat, dead skin cells, and bacteria work to break down dance shoes. A mesh dance bag is used to slow down this process.
Did you know that dance shoes have so much sweat in them that they can take up to 48 hours to dry completely? After every dance class, have your dancer remove their dance shoes from their enclosed dance bag and allow the dance shoes to dry in a mesh bag. A mesh bag contains small holes throughout the bag to allow air to circulate in and out so that the moisture will dissipate. The larger the holes in the mesh bag the greater the flow of air throughout the bag.
You may be wondering why not just take the dance shoes out and allow them to air out without a mesh bag. Like a regular dance bag, a mesh bag also keeps dance items organized in one place. Also, please note that your dance bag should be a breathable bag and not a plastic bag. A plastic or non-breathable dance bag will create a damp environment and will work to shorten the lifespan of your dance shoes.
4. Clean Dance Shoes Properly & Never Place Dance Shoes in the Dryer
Dance shoe manufacturers generally advise to refrain from washing dance shoes. We also advise against washing dance shoes. Although dance shoes, especially canvas dance shoes, can get pretty dirty, it is important to remember that your child’s dance shoes are canvases that showcase all of their hard work.
If you want to wash your dancer’s shoes, we recommend that you only wash the shoes right before a dance performance. Do not wash their dance shoes for dance class.
Wash canvas (cloth) dance shoes in the washing machine in cold water with a mild detergent. Then allow the shoes to air dry until they have completely dried. Do not place canvas dance shoes in the dryer! Please be mindful that canvas shoes will shrink slightly (like denim jeans), but will stretch to your dancers’ feet after they start to wear them again. Use your handy-dandy soap and water or leather shoe cleaner to wash leather dance shoes. Do not place leather shoes in the washing machine or in the dryer!
Properly cleaning your dancer’s shoes only when necessary and avoiding placing them in the dryer will help prolong their lifespan.
5. Never Wear Dance Shoes Outdoors
It is important to understand that dance shoes are not regular street shoes. The soles of dance shoes are created with the intent to be used on wooden or padded floors. Although dance shoes are created to be durable shoes, dance shoes are not materialized to withstand the rough exterior textures of concrete or gravel.
Do not allow your dancer to wear their dance shoes to and from dance class. Wearing dance shoes outdoors will diminish the longevity of the dance shoes. Always have your dancer wear their regular street shoes to and from dance class.
Dancers are to place their dance shoes on once they are inside of the dance studio or theatre.
Wearing dance shoes outdoors will also damage dance shoes by creating rips, tears, and holes in the shoes.
Extend the lifespan of dance shoes and prevent the frustration of dance shoes being unnecessarily ruined by simply not allowing your dancer to wear the dance shoes outdoors.
Bonus Hack: Know When It’s Time to Get New Dance Shoes
We understand that you are not looking forward to having to purchase new dance shoes every year. However, it is important to remember that dance shoes are still shoes. Although dance shoes are created to withstand even the most enthusiastic dancer, it is important to remember that not even the strongest shoe is meant to last forever. Just like your dancer’s feet outgrow their school shoes every year, your dancer will also outgrow their dance shoes every year (and sometimes more than once within one year).
Growing feet = need for new shoes.
If you want to extend the lifespan of your child’s dance shoes, you must intentionally work to implement the hacks that we have shared with you. It is also important to understand that these hacks are only a starting point to help you begin practicing how to properly care for dance shoes in ways that will allow for longer use.
Follow us on Instagram to specifically learn how to extend the life of your dancer’s pointe shoes.
Above all, it is vital to understand that dance shoes are not meant to last forever. Once you fully grasp this reality, you will have a much easier time following the steps to prolonging the life span of dance shoes and you will also be ready to purchase new dance shoes when it is time.
We want to hear from you! Which hack(s) do you plan to implement or what hack(s) are you already implementing? Or maybe you have a hack to share that we did not list. Comment below.
During dance recital season, we often hear two common questions from parents: “Why does my child need to wear makeup?” “Why does she have to wear so much makeup? She’s too young.”
We have been in your shoes. Your concerns about applying makeup to your child’s face, especially your toddler, are real. No worries. We are here to help you understand the top reasons why it is important for your dancer to wear stage makeup.
Although there are 4 top reasons why stage makeup is a necessity for all dance performances, there is one main purpose for stage makeup. Dancers wear stage makeup to enhance their facial features to be visibly clear to the audience. Simply put, stage makeup is the only way we can clearly see your dancer’s face from the audience.
In this blog post, we are sharing the top 4 reasons why stage makeup is essential for all dance performances.
Once you finish reading, we promise that you will be less hesitant to have stage makeup applied to your dancer’s face.
1. Stage Makeup Enhances Dancers’ Facial Features
It is not uncommon for dance moms and dads to have some reservations about having makeup applied to their child’s face. It is extremely important to understand that without stage makeup, a dancer’s facial features will not be defined or visibly clear to the audience.
Stage makeup creates a clear face from a distance. Unlike everyday regular makeup, stage makeup is more dramatic so that the dancer’s facial features are more pronounced.
Tips: There are some basic components of stage makeup that you will need for your dancer: makeup primer, foundation, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, blush, and lipstick. Make sure your stage makeup is hypo-allergenic, waterproof, and long-lasting.
2. Distance Can Diminish the Facial Features and Expressions of a Dancer
Have you ever attended an orchestra performance or a music concert and noticed that the individuals performing appeared to be faceless people in action?
If your dancer does not have on stage makeup, this is how your dancer will appear on stage—as a faceless dancer. Theatre, concert hall, and auditorium stages are huge. These stages are also elevated and are a distance away from the audience. The distance from the stage to the first row can be up to 100 feet. Whether you and your family are sitting in the 13th row or in the balcony, you want to witness your dancer’s joy, excitement, nervousness, and/or shyness. Stage makeup will help your dancer’s facial features look bigger, brighter, and more pronounced on stage.
Tips: Eyeliner is used to emphasize the dancer’s eyes to help them stand out from afar. Both female and male dancers wear eyeliner to define their eyes. For male dancers, eyeliner is applied in basic form.
For female dancers, eyeliner can be applied in basic form or with a wing to make the eyes look more feminine. Apply blush in a red or pink color with a shimmer tone to highlight your dancer’s cheekbones. Also, use eyeshadow colors that have a shimmer tone.
3. Stage Lighting Can Wash Out a Dancer’s Face
If your dancer does not have on stage makeup and they are performing on a stage with bright, shining lights, their face and facial expressions will be washed out and hard to see. You want the stage lighting to enhance your dancer’s facial features, not wash them out. For dance performances, stage lighting works to highlight and place emphasis on where the audience should place their eyes. Stage lighting also works to set the mood or tone of the dance.
Dancers are storytellers who project words and emotions through movement. For dancers to properly tell the story to the audience, they will need their entire bodies, including their facial expressions, to be visibly seen.
But, with bright lights shining on the stage, a dancer without stage makeup will appear washed out and faceless and the story would be misunderstood, lost, and left untold.
Tips: Stage lights are very intense and hot! Use a makeup primer to make sure your dancer’s makeup will last for several hours throughout dress rehearsal, awaiting backstage, and performing on stage.
4. Dance Costumes Can Overshadow Your Dancer’s Beautiful Smile
Dance costumes are over the top! Tutus, big bows, and fringes are only a few of the many extravagant features attached to costumes. Dance costumes are created to “wow” the audience. If your dancer does not have on stage makeup, their costumes will easily overshadow their beautiful smile and cute little face.
Can you imagine your dancer on stage in an extraordinary costume with bright lights shining down on them and they did not have on makeup? That’s correct! Once again, you would have a faceless dancer on stage.
This is not something you would want. Without stage makeup, your dancer’s facial features will disappear behind their costumes and the bright stage lights. Stage makeup is a part of your dancer’s costume.
Tips: Red lipstick is a staple for all dance performances. Female dancers wear red lipstick to make the shape of their lips visibly defined from the audience. Without red lipstick, the audience will not be able to see the dancer’s mouth, including their smile. How awkward? Male dancers wear brown or nude lipstick to help define their lips.
For first time dance moms and dads, we understand that the initial acknowledgment that your dancer must wear stage makeup may cause some concern. Just remember that stage makeup is key in enhancing and highlighting the facial features and expressions of your dancer to be seen from a distance.
Now that you understand the importance of wearing stage makeup, we want to share a before and after photo of our young dancer without and with stage makeup applied to her face.
Take the time to reflect on the difference of having a bare face (before photo) versus a made-up face (after photo) on a huge, brightly lit stage.
When applying stage makeup, do not shy away from using beautiful, fun, and bright colors.
It is always great to hear from you. Comment below to share your dancer’s experience with stage makeup.
Most dance parents understand that a dance recital is an opportunity for dancers to display all their hard work, dedication, and progress they have made throughout the dance season.
However, for the first-time dance parent or caregiver, preparing yourself and your dancer for a successful dance recital performance can be a bit overwhelming. Whether your dancer is a toddler or a teen, this process can be very demanding and exhausting. No worries, we were once in your shoes. Here are 15 of our favorite dance recital tips that helped us navigate the dance recital process and eliminate feeling overwhelmed.
1. Attend Every Rehearsal
As it gets closer to recital time, it is important to be flexible. Dance class schedules may change. Additional rehearsals to perfect the performance may occur. Understand that this is a part of the dance world. Your dancer’s director and instructors have a vision that they are entrusting your dancer to fulfill.
If you cannot make a mandatory rehearsal, such as block rehearsal or dress rehearsal, please inform the dance instructor. During recital season, communication is key to a successful performance.
2. Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice makes better. There is no such thing as practicing too much. Whether your dancer is a toddler or a teen, there are a couple of ways that your dancer can practice outside of their dance class.
For all dancers, the suspense of keeping their dances top secret is a strong tradition in the dance world. I am sure you have asked your dancer to share their recital dances with you and they have responded in a way that says “no way.” If your dancer is not willing to practice in your presence, do not get upset. This is normal. Honor your dancer’s wishes. I promise that you will get to see your dancer perform at the dance recital.
However, there are things that you can do to ensure that your dancer is practicing at home. For toddler dancers, play their recital music and leave the room. Your baby will practice independently. Share this cool tip with your non-toddler dancers. While in bed, close your eyes and visualize yourself practicing your dances until you fall asleep. It really works!
3. Prepare for Your Professional Dance Photos
Many dance studios and dance companies provide their dancers with the opportunity to take professional group and individual photos in their recital costumes. Dance photos are generally scheduled to be taken prior to your recital date.
You want your dancer to look their best for their dance photos and the dance recital. Therefore, it is extremely important for your dancer to wear clean tights (without holes and runs) and clean shoes when in costume. It is very disappointing to see dirty or torn tights and tattered shoes in your beautiful recital photos.
This is also a great time to ensure that all your dancer’s shoes still fit properly. Remember our little ones’ feet are continuously growing. We do not want our prima ballerinas and jazz dancers to not give it their all on the stage because their shoes are too small. If your dancer’s shoes still fit, that is great. Take the time to clean their shoes with soap and water or shoe cleaner to spruce them up for their photos and the grand performance.
Please avoid placing your dance tights and shoes in the dryer!
4. Connect with Other Dance Moms, Dads, and Caregivers
Staying connected with the dance moms and dads in your dance class is essential. As a first-time dance parent or caregiver, the entire production of a dance recital and all the rehearsals and activities can be extensive. You will be thankful for the support that your dance family will provide to you.
In addition to phone calls and text messages, there are so many ways to stay connected with your dance family. Group chat apps, like GroupMe and WhatsApp, are very helpful ways to stay connected and to talk together with everyone on one platform. Remember you are a team and teamwork make the dream work. Use this opportunity to coordinate activities and snacks for backstage. Send out reminders for extra rehearsal times or special events (e.g., dance photos).
Over the next few weeks, you all will be getting pretty close. Enjoy building new relationships!
5. Volunteer to Be a Backstage Mom
We know this is a very exciting time and you want to see your dancer on stage finally performing the dances that she or he has been rehearsing for many hours. However, the reality is that every parent will not be able to enjoy the show from the audience. We know how hard this may be for some parents, especially for first time dance parents. So, here are some rewards that are exclusively for backstage moms.
Backstage moms will be able to see their dancer perform from the side of the stage. This could be the best view in the house! You will have the opportunity to show off your innovative, fun skills in keeping toddlers and teenagers entertained. You will also get to bond and build relationships with all the dancers in the class.
Here is a little secret, toddlers absolutely love the dance version of freeze tag and teenagers love music, free Wi-Fi, and their space.
It is awesome to know that the show cannot go on without the backstage moms. The production of the show depends on you.
6. Costume Tips and Tricks
Getting your costumes is such an exciting and overwhelming moment. Costumes often come with accessories, such as hair pieces and gloves. Thus, it is so important to keep the accessories and the corresponding costume together.
Place your costume accessories in zip lock bags. Label the costumes and the zip lock bags with your dancer’s name and then pin or tape each zip lock bag to the hanger of the corresponding costume. Take your time and double check to verify that you have attached the correct zip lock bag to the correct costume.
Flesh tone or nude leotards and bra tops are absolutely necessary garments to wear under costumes. There will be no talk about costume malfunctions. These undergarments provide coverage to eliminate any discomfort when changing costumes in the presence of other dancers. These undergarments are also great solutions for quick changes backstage.
Do not forget to pancake (cover with facial foundation) the beige straps on the costumes with your dancer’s makeup so that the straps camouflage with their skin tone. On the day of the recital, secure your dancer’s hair accessories by crisscrossing bobby pins through their hair and the hair accessory. Allow her to whip her hair back and forth and you will see that her hair accessory is not going anywhere. It will be secure.
Clear fingernail polish and hair spray are superwomen saving the day to stop last-minute runs in dance tights. Pack spare tights in each color that your dancer will perform in, just in case the runner cannot be caught.
A garment bag is a housing bag that allows you to keep everything organized in one central location. You can use a standard garment bag, which is generally used for costumes only or you can use a more modern style garment bag that has separate components for costumes, dance shoes, dance accessories, and makeup.
7. Label Everything with Your Dancer’s Name
A typical dance class can have as many as 15 to 20 students. Imagine what would happen if the dancers did not have their dance supplies labeled with their name. The likelihood of things getting mixed up or misplaced is very high. Be proactive and label everything. Yes, everything. Including but not limited to costumes, dance tights, dance shoes, costume accessories, makeup, dance bags, garment bags, snacks, games, books, tablets, phones, and chargers.
8. Pack Snacks, Water & Activities
Having access to snacks and water backstage is extremely important. Depending on how many dancers are enrolled in the dance studio or company, recitals can last for a few hours. This can be very critical, especially for toddlers.
As always, healthy snacks are favored. It is important to feed your dancer snacks that are going to boost their energy and not make them sleepy or lethargic. Dancers who perform more than one dance may have a significant downtime in between their dances. Thus, it is essential for the dancer to stay energized, but of course not too energized. Pack non-messy foods: dried fruit, nuts, granola bars, cheese and crackers, chips, and sandwiches. Once you connect with the other dance parents, make sure you ask about food allergies.
Avoid, avoid, avoid soda and juice! Pack water. Sugary drinks do not have the best impact on children that have to sit in a room for hours. You also do not want to risk your dancer showing up on stage with a bright orange stain on her beautiful yellow ballet dress or his white dance tights.
Pack activities that you know your child will use and enjoy to keep themselves entertained. This may be a tablet, puzzles, iPod, reading books, coloring books, stuffed animals, card games, or a phone. Having some form of entertainment will help shorten the time.
9. Pack Your Dance Costumes, Accessories & Supplies
Create a checklist of all the items you need to pack. Then, take the time to pack all your costumes and accessories, dance shoes, and dance tights prior to the recital day.
Remember your garment bag is an essential component in keeping everything organized in one place. You will want to make sure that you have everything in place during dress rehearsal and the actual performance.
On the night before the recital, take the time to check and recheck that everything is packed. Yes, you will be exhausted and ready to get into bed. However, it is worth taking 10 minutes to ensure that your dancer has everything to have a great show. Trust me when I say, an evening of excitement can suddenly go sour when you realize that your dancer is missing his left tap shoe or her ballet gloves 20 minutes before they are set to go on stage.
Additional items you may want to consider packing include bobby pins, gel, hair spray, hair ties, head scarf, a robe, shoe slides, razors, toilet tissue, hand sanitizer, tampons, sanitary napkins, deodorant, baby wipes, pain reliever medicine, lotion, fingernail polish remover, and an extension cord.
Pack your car the night before or place everything at your front door to prevent leaving anything at home.
10. Talk About the Nerves and Excitement
Performing on a brightly lit stage in front of a lot of people can be very scary. Start talking with your dancer now. Encourage them to do their best and to keep dancing no matter what. Yes, this means even if they forget a step or two, they will know to continue to dance because you took the time to teach them this important lesson. Take the time to talk with your dancer to see how they are feeling about their performance. Reassure them that they will do great!
Remind them to have fun. A dance recital is a celebration to show how much progress your dancer has made during the dance season. If this is your first dance recital, you are probably more anxious and nervous than your dancer. So, pause and take a deep breath in through your nose and exhale through your mouth. As you exhale, push out all your anxiety and nervousness and enjoy the show or enjoy being a rock star backstage mom.
11. Purchase Your Dance Recital Tickets
What stage is your dancer performing on? A theatre stage, concert hall stage, or perhaps on a school auditorium stage?
Regardless of where the performance will occur, ticket sales are paramount. The monetary profit gained from ticket sales covers the cost of the venue and other expenses (e.g., liability insurance, stage props, and stage technicians). Your dance director and instructors have worked extremely hard to create an amazing production. Please do your part and sell tickets to your family members, friends, and colleagues. This is the time to show off your child.
12. Purchase Flowers or a Special Gift
How are you going to show your dancer how proud you are of them? Flowers, a gift basket filled with favorites, balloons or a handmade card are just a few ideas. Recital gifts are a staple. Do not be the only person empty handed.
13. Show up Early on Recital Day
On the day before the dance recital, make sure that you and your dancer get a good night’s rest. On the morning of the dance recital, you will be up very early. In the dance world, showing up on time is showing up late. On the day of the show, arrive at least 15 to 20 minutes before call time.
14. Document the Memories
Our memories in the form of photos and videos will last a lifetime. So, please take many pictures and videos. It is going to be so exciting to see how much your dancer has progressed. Make good use of dress rehearsal and the time backstage to document your memories.
Now, what I am about to say next is very important so repeat after me. “I will not take pictures or videos of my dancer while they are performing on stage.” For the safety of the dancers performing on stage, flash photography is prohibited. Did you know that a flash from a camera in the audience has the power to temporarily blind a dancer, putting them in a compromising position and increasing their risk of injury? Taking a picture is not worth compromising the safety of the dancers.
15. Have Fun, Relax, and Enjoy the Show
Breathe you made it! Now, enjoy the show. Break a leg, dancers!
We are here to ensure that you and your dancer have a smooth journey to the big stage. We are confident that these 15 tips will help you eliminate feeling overwhelmed about all the intricate pieces of the dance recital process. Start implementing these tips now and you will start to feel relief immediately.
Ultimate Dancewear is your supplier for dance tights, dance shoes, and costumes your dancer will need to stand out and shine bright on stage. We also have accessories: garment bags, dance bags, flesh tone leotards, flesh tone bra tops, sport bras, bun makers, hair nets, hair pins, earrings, makeup, toe pads, rosin, stitch kits, twirling batons and much more. Stop by to see us for all your dance supply needs.
First-time dance parents and caregivers, we want to know which tips resonate with you. What tips will you start to implement immediately to help ease your stress? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Even if you are not a first-time dance parent or caregiver, we also want to hear from you. What insider tips can you share with new dance parents to help them eliminate feeling overwhelmed with navigating the dance recital process? We would also love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Have your dreams excelled and outgrown their original space?
Whether that space was in your mind, a room in your home, or in an office space, your dreams have more than likely transitioned into a new space.
Over the last 22 years, we have learned so many valuable lessons from our customers and we have experienced tremendous growth. We are forever grateful for our customers’ support. We want to take the time to share the continuing progression of Ultimate Dancewear & Accessories from birth to current day with you.
We hope our story inspires you to keep pushing to grow your dreams or to go back and water your seeds. Everyone has dreams. How are your dreams growing?
In the Beginning
It all started in a car trunk and with a growing need for a dance supply store in North Jacksonville. During this time, there was an abundance of dance studios and dancers located in North Jacksonville, but they did not have access to a dance supply store nearby.
For Ovena, not having a dance supply store nearby was a personal problem. Having two small grandchildren enrolled in dance classes while having to travel 15 miles across town to purchase one or two items was very inconvenient. Ovena also experienced this inconvenience over three decades ago when her daughter was enrolled in dance.
With a dream and understanding the need, Ovena worked to develop a business plan to open a dance supply store in North Jacksonville. Traveling by car during the evening and night to meet the dance supply needs of dance studios and dancers was the beginning of Ultimate Dancewear & Accessories.
Ultimate Dancewear’s First Stationary Space
In 2000, Ultimate Dancewear & Accessories’ first storefront was located in North Jacksonville on Lem Turner Road. Dancers and dance studios finally had access to a dance supply store that was conveniently located near them. If you were a part of the Ultimate Dancewear family in the early 2000s, you were fortunate to have developed a personal relationship with the owner, Ovena.
By 2004, Neke joined the Ultimate Dancewear team full-time. Did you know that Neke is Ovena’s daughter?
During this time, Ultimate Dancewear also had assistance from a tiny helper, baby A’kera. It was such a joy having A’kera in the store. The customers adored her bubbly presence. At the start of this year, A’kera turned 15 years old. Although, she is no longer a baby, A’kera will always hold a special place in the hearts of the Ultimate Dancewear family. Neke and A’kera were a dynamic duo.
Ultimate Dancewear’s Move to a Second Location
Although Ultimate Dancewear experienced great success at our first location, we had the opportunity to relocate into a new space with a greater frequency of shoppers. In 2012, Ultimate Dancewear & Accessories moved into its current location in North Jacksonville on Dunn Avenue. Honestly, this move was not easy. During the transition, we lost many customers.
Despite our efforts over the years to spread the news of our move, we still have customers discovering our current location today. We often hear “Were you located on Lem Turner” or “Did you used to be across from Kmart?” Yes, this is us.
Expansion in Services and Products Offered
Over the years, Ultimate Dancewear has experienced tremendous growth. Since our doors first opened in 2000, Ultimate Dancewear has supplied a full inventory of dancewear, liturgical praisewear, gymnastics wear, dance shoes, and accessories. Today our inventory has grown to also include dance costumes, cheer uniforms and gear, and ballroom dance apparel and shoes.
In addition to working with dance studios and dancers, we consult and supply dance and mime ministries at churches, students attending performing arts schools, students in after school dance programs, pageant participants, and school auxiliaries. However, not only did the type of dancers that we served expand, but our reach to service customers outside of Jacksonville also expanded.
Today, we have customers in multiple cities in Florida and Georgia, and in other cities throughout the United States and beyond. Our farthest customers reside in the Caribbean Islands! How cool is that?
Celebrating Over 20 Years of Service & Amazing Customer Support
This year we are celebrating 22 years of service in the dance community! We are truly honored and grateful.
We cannot go without acknowledging that we would not have experienced so much growth over this 22 year period if it were not for the continued support of each of our fantastic customers. We cannot thank you enough.
As a result of our customers being so amazing, we have so many new and fun things in store for you. Please make sure you explore our newly designed website, continue to read and learn from our blog posts, sign up to receive our sales and promotions, and stay connected with us on social media: Facebook and Instagram.
Our Commitment to Continued Growth
In closing, we would like to officially welcome Nekea to the Ultimate Dancewear team. You have most likely had the opportunity to work with her or had the pleasure to meet her in the checkout area. We are excited that she will be working with us to bring more innovative and creative ideas to Ultimate Dancewear. So, stay tuned.
Please remember that it is our duty to intentionally work to continue to grow and to provide you all with the best services and dance products offered in the dance community.
Ultimate Dancewear & Accessories is family owned, led, and operated by three generations of women—a mother (Ovena), daughter (Neke), and granddaughter (Nekea).
Don’t leave your dreams in their original space. Share with us, how are your dreams growing?