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.