For the fifth year in a row, we are excited to present the survey results collected from our annual dance studio software reviews survey. We asked thousands of dance studio owners to answer questions about their dance studio management software, and over 950 studio owners did just that.
If you’ve considered investing in software to help you manage your studio, this data will definitely be eye-opening.
The percentage of studio owners that are using dance studio management software dropped slightly this year, with 72% of respondents saying they used the software.
Just like last year, studio owners overwhelmingly choose software based on its ability to meet their needs; referrals from friends and associates also carry significant influence in the purchase decision.
Attending the United Dance Merchants Association’s (UDMA) yearly costume shows can be a beneficial and fun experience for any studio dance owner. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about new costume trends and get to see the latest styles in person. You’ll also be able to learn about a number of studio-related products and services that can help make our life easier.
UDMA even offers educational opportunities with renowned dance professionals on a variety of topics. If this is your first time attending a UDMA event, check out the tips below to make your first experience a success!
When it comes to attending one of the large UDMA shows held each year, it’s important to be prepared. These events allow dance professionals to get insight on upcoming costume trends and do some groundwork for recitals and performances. The shows include information and vendors beyond costumes, too—be prepared so that you are ready to make the most of it!
Bring a big bag or, even better, a rolling suitcase. You’ll be happy you have it after receiving lots of catalogs, giveaways from vendors, and samples.
It’s important to dress smart. As you run around from vendor to vendor, you won’t have a lot of time to sit and take a break. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes to keep you on your feet. You don’t want to have to end your visit early because your feet are blistered and sore.
Bring cash for coffee, snacks and lunches. These events last the whole day, and if you’re enjoying yourself, you don’t want to have to go far to find food and drinks.
Print off a sheet of address label stickers with your name, studio name, address, phone and email. If you want to request more information from a company or enter one of the many giveaways offered by vendors you can simplify the entry process by using your stickers on the entry forms.
From the UDMA Website https://udma.org
Check Out the Seminars
During the three sessions this year, UDMA will be offering five seminars that dance teachers and studio owners can attend. This year, there are THREE business seminars (open to studio owners who may register their staff) and TWO movement seminars.
And the lineup of speakers is impressive! Steve Sirico of DanceTeacherWeb.com. Suzanne Blake Gerety of DanceStudioOwner.com, and the man himself, Rhee Gold will each present a business seminar in each city. Anthony LoCasico of Taplife and Tricia Gomez of Rhythm Works Integrative Dance will each present the movement seminars.
This year, TutuTix will be visiting the various sessions of UDMA to talk costumes, recitals, and more. Look for our booth – it’s hard to miss (look for the sparkly pink shiny wall!)
We’ll even be hosting a surprise item giveaway: earlier this year we gave away iRobot Roomba’s to lucky guests! Stop by to pick up some goodies and sign up for our big giveaway.
Talk to People and Have Fun!
Before you get there, visit the UDMA website to find out what vendors will be attending your local event. Make a list of the booths that you’re really dying to see so you know where to go as soon as you arrive.
As you see dancers in the latest costumes, don’t be shy! Approach them and ask them to move around in their attire so you can better understand the look and feel of each costume.
Something to note: photography isn’t allowed at this event. So be sure to bring a notebook to help you jot down what you like to help you prepare for this year’s dance season.
Want to do some exploring? DanceInforma has some cool ideas for how to make the most out of your travel experience while at UDMA.
For the fourth year in a row, we are excited to present the survey results collected from our annual dance studio software reviews survey. We asked thousands of dance studio owners to answer questions about their dance studio management software. We’ve continued to see some recurring trends about how studio owners choose their dance studio software, how they utilize it, and what they like and dislike about it.
If you’ve considered investing in software to help you manage your studio, this data will definitely be eye-opening.
The percentage of studio owners that are using dance studio management software continues to rise, from 67% in 2014 to 82.2% in 2018.
Studio owners overwhelmingly choose software based on its ability to meet their needs; referrals from friends and associates also carry significant influence in the purchase decision.
Jackrabbit and Studio Director continue to dominate market share with a combined 65% , but this has decreased from 2017, when they held 74% of the market.
The features most important to studio owners continue to be billing and payment processing, email and text communication, and class management. Following the 2017 trend, however, online registration continues to increase in popularity.
For the first time since the survey inception, overall customer satisfaction dipped, from a 2017 high of 84%, to 79% in 2018.
Read the In-Depth Report on Dance Studio Software Reviews
It’s the holidays, which lets us offer a gift to those people who make such a difference in our sons’ and daughters’ lives: dance teachers! Take a look at this list of dance teacher gift ideas that could brighten their season!
It may seem cliché, but a gift card is simple and gives your teacher the freedom to use it how they want to, when they want to! Some gift card ideas to think about might come from:
iTunes, since dance teachers always need new music for class.
Amazon, where they can get pretty much anything.
Starbucks, for coffee lovers!
There’s few things that sound better to a tired dance teacher than a spa session.
Whether it’s a massage or a mani/pedi combo, your teacher will absolutely appreciate the opportunity to sit back and relax for a day.
If you’re looking for other ideas to make your teachers cozy, consider:
Bath bombs, which they can use at home
Candles, which can brighten up a space (or help a dance studio smell more….festive)
Chocolates, because dancing takes a lot of energy, right?
Dinner and a Show
Dance teachers spend many of their evenings at the studio, or planning for future time when they’ll be at the studio. Treat them to a nice dinner, or maybe tickets to an upcoming show in the city!
It’s not always “things” that make the best gifts, and since you know your teachers well, you’ll know if that upcoming concert or a new restaurant in town might be extra special for them.
Handmade and from the Heart
The reality is that sometimes a dancer might have two, three, maybe four dance teachers, plus a choreographer, plus whoever else is important at the studio! And that can add up to a LOT of gifts.
Dance teachers work to make your sons and daughters better, more expressive people, and recognition that they’re accomplishing that can really go a long way. Sometimes a simple “thank you” card written by you and your dancer can communicate your thanks! Or maybe some nice baked goods (only if you know nobody is allergic to anything!!), or a knitted scarf.
Also, keep in mind that it’s not just the teachers on the front lines who would appreciate thanks. Behind the scenes of every dance studio are husbands and wives who support teachers working long nights and traveling to competition. Add them to your holiday list and it’ll really make a great personal impact on your dance studio family.
We hope you found these ideas helpful! Please feel free to share this article on Facebook or browse our “Dance Teacher Gift Ideas” board on Pinterest.
Also, you’re welcome to comment below with any gifts you’ve given that teachers particularly loved!
Editor’s Note: As a reader mentioned, not all of these dance movies/shows are appropriate for children. Parents—please use discretion when making viewing choices.
What the next-best thing to dancing? Why, dance movies, of course! If you have a Netflix subscription, there are a bunch of awesome movies available to see great choreography and talent on the big screen.
Here are some great movies that dancers need to watch!
1. ‘A Ballerina’s Tale’
If you haven’t seen this documentary, make a point to watch it. It’s a must-see story following the journey of world-famous Misty Copeland.
2. ‘Ballet 422’
Go backstage with the New York Ballet, from the first rehearsal to world premiere, following choreographer Justin Peck as he and the company prepare a new piece.
“Newsies” is a Broadway production featuring tremendous talent in musical theatre. Follow the turn-of-the-century story of “newsboys” hoping to build a better life for themselves on the streets of New York.
4. ‘Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan’
Wendy Whelan is one of the most celebrated dancers of our time. In this documentary and behind the scenes film, we get to see Wendy (now retired) continue her artistic journey.
5. ‘High Strung’
This movie is fun and has some really talented performances! Kick back and let the hip-hop/classical fusion take you away.
6. ‘High School Musical’
It’s hard to forget just how great a job the producers of this movie did with the choreography. It’s worth a watch just to see that impressive group dancing!
When a dancer grows out of a pair of dance shoes, it’s time to ask an essential question: “What do we do with these shoes?” Dance parents, let’s talk about the various options for handling these “extra” shoes.
Saving Dance Shoes for Younger Siblings
If your dancer has a younger sibling or siblings, you can consider hanging on to the shoes, and seeing if they’ll fit. If they’re a perfect fit, you’ve saved yourself from needing to buy another pair of shoes!
If they’re not a perfect fit, then treat these extra shoes as backups. The reality is that dance shoes need to fit very well for dancers to stay healthy and avoid injury.
BUT sometimes it’s good to have that backup! Plus, if you have those extra shoes and they don’t fit, you can sell them to other dance parents in your child’s class who might need some.
Selling shoes can be a win-win solution, to help you make back some of your money and to help another dancer who can save some money instead of buying new.
If you decide to sell your dancer’s used shoes, make sure they’re in good enough shape for the next dancer. If you’re not sure about the shoes’ condition, go ahead and ask the dance teacher for their opinion. Yes, you want to be able to sell the shoes, but not at the expense of causing an injury to another dancer because of shoes that are too worn.
Donation Programs at Dance Studios
Maybe it turns out you have held on to some extra shoes and can’t sell them. Could your dance studio benefit from having a few extra shoes on hand?
We all know that sometimes dancers will forget their shoes at home, and there’s no time to go get them before class starts. If your studio has a collection of donated shoes, they’re in luck! Those extra shoes can help a student who needs to borrow a pair.
That keeps students in class, working on their technique, until next time when they bring their own pair. Studios win, and students win. If your studio doesn’t have a program like this already, maybe you and other dance parents can get it organized!
We’ve gotten great feedback about our article on Ballet Vocabulary Terms for Beginners, and have put together some ideas for easy class activities that teachers can include in their lesson plans. Do you have other activities that you use to teach the little ones essential vocab?
Ballet and Dance Move Alphabet
This one is great even for lots of students, and can really work at any age (granted, the students need to be able to spell).
Have everyone line up, and go down the alphabet: A, B, C. For each letter, have a different student name a ballet move that begins with that corresponding letter. Then, have that student (or all of the students) demonstrate that dance move.
This activity helps keep students on their toes (no pun intended) since they’ll need to know their vocab in order to answer the question. Plus, they’ll reinforce that ballet vocabulary with some muscle memory!
Mystery Ballet Move
Super easy, and has the element of surprise for dancers.
Write out ballet moves on pieces of paper, index cards (maybe laminate these items so they last longer), and put them into a hat, box, or container where the kids can’t see them.
One by one, have the kids in class draw a card from the hat, and tell the class the move! Everyone must now demonstrate that ballet move.
(Note that this can still work with younger kids who can’t read yet: just have them hand you the index card they’ve chosen, and you can announce which ballet move was picked. Easy workaround!)
Super fun, and keeps students active and moving!
Use white boards, or tape pieces of paper around the room with ballet vocabulary written on them. Then, start the music, and have dancers go around the room like they’re playing musical chairs! Ideally, ask them to use a traveling step (like chasse). When the music stops, they have to get to a sign.
Once they’re there, they need to demonstrate the move! You can go around the room quickly to check their form, and can make any corrections or use that opportunity to praise a dancer who has done a great job.
For the third year, we are excited to present the survey results collected from our annual dance studio management software reviews survey. We asked dance studio owners to answer questions about their dance studio management software. We’ve continued to see some recurring trends about how studio owners choose their dance studio software, how they utilize it, and what they like and dislike about it.
The percentage of studio owners that are using dance studio management software has steadily risen year after year, from 67% in 2014 to 80% in 2017.
The three most important features of studio management software have consistently been billing and payment processing, email or text communication and class management, but over the last year, online registration has seen a marked increase in importance.
The percentage of studios who have a majority of students paying by credit/debit card has continued to increase (to 54% in 2017), though studios across the country still vary widely in their ability to process credit card payments.
Overall satisfaction with dance studio management software has continued to creep up with 84% indicating that they were either “extremely satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied,” up from 82% in 2015.
Read the In-Depth Report on Dance Studio Software Survey Results
There’s nothing like seeing a dancer’s joy after a successful recital! And having a great gift for them after the performance will make the night that much more special. Check out these 9 dance recital gift ideas your dancer will love!
1. Bouquet of Flowers
For many dancers, flowers after a performance are a sign not only of a job well done, but of recognition for all of the hard work they’ve put in throughout the year. Plus, a dancer in costume holding a beautiful bouquet makes recital pictures exciting and vibrant.
As far as what kind of flowers to include in your bouquet? That’s where you have the opportunity to make this gift extra special. Roses are a staple flower choice, and for good reason! But if you know your dancer likes a particular kind of flower, or you know a flower might have a special meaning, you can use this opportunity to customize the bouquet for your dancer.
After the recital? Take them out for some ice cream!! Or include gifts like candy, chocolates, and other treats the dancer can enjoy. You can even make a tradition of going out for ice cream after dance performances, so the whole family can celebrate the big night.
3. Dance-Themed Jewelry
Dance is a part of who dancers are, and so giving them a gift that reminds them of their talents and passions will be that much more meaningful. Think about getting a dancer a personalized necklace, set of earrings, or other piece of jewelry to remember their achievements, and to create a beautiful memory for this particular recital!
4. Charm Bracelet Tradition
We mention charm bracelets separately from jewelry, because a charm bracelet is the start of tradition instead of a single gift. By giving a dancer a charm bracelet, you can then buy a new charm for the dancer after big recitals, competitions, or other dance events. That way, they can look back and remember all of the amazing memories from dancing throughout their life.
5. Studio Swag
When dancers performs on stage, they’re acting as ambassadors for the studio. The teachers who have worked with them care a lot about their development as both dancers and people. So, help your dancers show off some studio pride with studio-branded items!
What you get your dancer depends on what your studio currently offers as merchandise. But, if you and a group of parents get organized ahead of time, you can work with your studio to produce a custom piece of swag (like a recital-specific shirt, or jacket, or other item) so your dancer always remembers this recital!
6. The Gift of Comfort
At the end of the day, dancing is work. Those dancers on stage have tired feet, tired muscles, and could use a little rest and relaxation after the recital is over. Consider giving dancers comfort items like:
7. Summer Dance Prep
More serious dancers know that dance never stops – after a big show, it’s time to take a break before getting back into training mode and getting better and better every day! If your dancer plans on continuing to dance over the summer, think about getting them some new dance gear that will help them on their dance journey.
This might be a new pair of sweats, warm-up gear, or a new dance bag as a reward for their previous hard work, and a sign of your continued support for their art. Plus, with a little preparation, you can even add some dance studio designs to personalize the gift!
8. Picture Frame
Recitals are events that create long-lasting memories, and what better way to capture that memory than by framing a beautiful recital picture? Dancers will appreciate a nice frame for their recital photos, and can decorate their room, locker, or future dorm with a memory of their friends and mentors.
9. Feeling Ambitious and Creative? A Dance Scrapbook
Just like a picture frame can help capture an important memory, a scrapbook can show a collection of memories, and can also help your dancer remember their dance journey over the course of a whole year. When the next dance season begins, go out of your way to start taking pictures of the dance class, competitions, dress rehearsals, and compile those pictures into an amazing scrapbook for your dancer!
VERY IMPORTANT: ask your studio for permission to be taking pictures! For example, you shouldn’t be taking pictures at recital. But, with permission, maybe you can take a picture or two at the dress rehearsal? The same goes for competitions. And always remember, no flash!!
We hope these ideas have been helpful! Leave us a comment with any other suggestions for gift ideas your dancers have loved in the past!
As the big day approaches, dancer nutrition choices are very important. You need to make sure performers’ bodies are getting the right nutrition, so that they are healthy before, during, and after practice, and build muscle to come back better and stronger for the next rehearsal. On the day of recital, don’t make big changes to your eating habits! In this article we’ll talk about some best practices for dancer nutrition, especially in the 24 hours before a recital.
Eating For Performance Day: The Night Before
Staples of great dancer nutrition: lean protein, healthy carbohydrates, veggies, and PLENTY of water.
Several professional ballerinas were interviewed by Coveteur magazine, and they offered some of their favorite choices for meals and ingredients packed full of nutrients:
“Dance nutrition experts mostly agree that the best approach to performance day nutrition is eating small meals throughout the day, starting with a substantial breakfast to get your body and mind fueled and ready to go.”
They recommend a few breakfast choices like:
Oatmeal with fruit
Plain greek yogurt
Whole grain toast with peanut butter*
As far as small meals throughout the day go, it’s up to the individual dancer as to what foods they like and what kinds of foods can keep them feeling full.
Hardboiled egg or string cheese with 5-10 whole grain or rice crackers
Pre-made bar or oatrolls (see article for recipe) with fruit, dates, nuts and/or whole grains.*
(You can make a large batch of these and freeze them, then just put frozen oatrolls in his/her dance bag in the morning so by the afternoon they are thawed and yummy.)
Gluten-free or dairy free snack requirements?
Rice cakes with nut butter and a piece of fruit
Popcorn, pumpkin seeds, GF pretzels, and dried fruit trail mix
Coconut water, dark chocolate almond milk or coconut milk
*Author’s note: In past articles, readers have mentioned their concern about bringing nuts due to possible peanut or tree nut allergies among the dancers. Please be sure to consider those with nut allergies when deciding what to bring to the studio or to a performance, and remember that some severe allergies can be triggered by contact with very small amounts of the allergen.
The experienced studio owner knows that putting on a great recital takes a lot of preparation, and a lot of quick thinking! Having the right supplies and tools on hand can make a tremendous difference for you and your staff. We’ve put together a list of (potentially) essential items that will help you have the best recital yet!
Oh before we get started, we’ll include a link to our Dance Competition Survival Kit. Reason being: think STORAGE. In the competition kit, we suggest bringing some kind of rolling container, bag, etc, that is easy to move around and easy to organize.
At the end of the night, you’ll want to be able to pick up all your supplies as quickly and neatly as possible. If you can opt for a few simple storage containers that are easy to move, it’ll save you so much time and energy at the end of an already-tiring evening.
Costume Fixes and Makeup Adjustments
It doesn’t get much more “last-minute” than backstage at the recital!! Having some tools to help you deal with last-minute makeup adjustment and costume fixes will help you do the best job you can before your dancers hit the stage.
Clean up kit (for any on-stage accidents…)
Body tape/butt glue
Nail polish remover
Hot glue gun
It’s so important to have clear communication with your studio staff, venue staff, and any volunteers who are helping to run the show. Clear signage, reliable ways to talk with one another, and lighting for a dark backstage are at the top of the list.
Headsets (instead of walkie talkies, so audience members don’t hear your chatter)
(Multiple) Printed Schedules
Signs for dressing rooms, age or class-specific rooms
Nametags / Buttons / Lanyards / Shirts for volunteers and staff to wear
There are a lot of moving parts (and moving people) at a dance recital. Thinking ahead and preparing to bring (or request that the venue provide) essential event items will keep you from those day-of “whoops” moments!
Fans (for a hot backstage full of moving people)
Extra Gaff tape (for when the first roll disappears somewhere)
Spike tape (to help dancers see their spots in the dark)
Fanny packs, aprons, or other extra-pocket items for your staff
Phone Charger (and outlet brick)
Extra Phone Charger (for when someone borrows the first and it never makes it back to you)
Backup sound system
Coloring books/crayons (for the little ones)
Binder clips (to close any curtains in a dressing area, etc)
Tables and tablecloths (for merchandise, studio marketing materials, admission)
Thank you list (so you don’t forget to thank anyone at the end of the night)
Everyone at the recital (yes, including yourself) needs to take care of themselves in the high-stress, fast-paced environment that is a dance recital. Snacks and beverages should be available for any dancers, as well as you and your staff. Plus, recognize that you and your staff will be moving around A LOT and should think about comfortable (but appropriate) attire for the night.
Presentation and speaking outfit
Water / Gatorade
Granola Bars* / Animal Crackers / Saltines
*Editor’s note: Several readers have mentioned their concern about bringing nuts due to possible peanut or tree nut allergies among the dancers. Be sure to consider any dancers or family members with nut allergies when deciding what to bring, and remember that some severe allergies can be triggered by contact with very small amounts of the allergen.
Are there any other items you’ve found that can really save the day at a dance recital? Let us know in the comments and we’ll add them to our list for other studio owners to see.
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Planning a big show takes a lot of time, and a lot of preparation. So, it’s important to get started early!
In putting together the Official TutuTix E-Book, we consulted several studio owners to get an idea of how and when they plan their recitals.
Take a look at the dance recital preparation timeline we’ve created below, and see how it stacks up against your current planning schedule!
According to the studio owners we worked with, these are some recommended checkpoints throughout the year to make sure you’re on track for a successful dance recital.
Use summertime to your advantage by preparing for next year’s recital now! But, keep an easy pace: you’re helping yourself by starting this early, so there’s no need to rush through these early planning sessions.
By August, try and have your music for the recital chosen, even if your choreography isn’t fully fleshed out yet. By having music picked, you can move more quickly to build choreography that fits the music’s narrative. Plan some specific choreography moves – start your dancers on their tougher moves from day one!
Also, go big this year and start planning your performance venue and booking a recital date. The earlier you get your location settled, the sooner you can focus on getting parents involved.
Build some of the tougher choreography moves into class warm-ups and technique sessions. Adjust your choreography to best fit your group of students.
October – December
Keep your dancers’ muscle memory and flexibility intact by continuing to practice the spring’s tougher moves. Come spring, you and your dancers will be pleasantly surprised by the progress that’s ben made all throughout the year!
Set up as much as possible for the final recital before you really dig in and start teaching final choreography. That means:
Finalizing Venue Details
If you can nail down the details early, only a follow-up is needed later in the spring.
February – March
Hopefully the logistics of your recital are mostly taken care of by now, and you’re in full teaching and dancing mode. Don’t forget to wrangle parent volunteers and have costumes fitted, but otherwise put your energy into your students!
Time to follow up with ANYONE and EVERYONE involved with your recital to make sure everything is in order! And, it can’t hurt to send out several final reminder emails to parents.
Writing a dance studio business plan is a BIG project. But an important one! This plan will lay out your studio’s hopes and dreams, as well as the step-by-step process for getting from Point A to Point B. A few questions to ask yourself as you get started:
Where are you now?
Where do you want to be in three years? In five?
Who will help you get there?
The point of a dance studio business plan is to clearly lay out the aspects of a new company: strengths, challenges, and all of the minor details that will make the business a success. This document is an opportunity for entrepreneurs and hopeful business owners to put all of their ideas on paper, so that colleagues and other advisors can review the plan and offer any advice or criticism before the business is launched.
As an example, TutuTix has created a sample dance studio business plan for our imaginary dance studio, TIPS (the TutuTix Imaginary Performance Studios).
Feel free to use our guide’s ideas in your own plan, and please send us feedback about ideas we might not have that work particularly well in your studio! You can download the example dance studio business plan for free by completing the form below:
The layout of a business plan follows a logical progression of topics that a company needs to have defined prior to opening for business.
That order of topics should look something like this:
A concise description of your company, that acts as an overview of your goals and values. Keep it short but sweet! Why did you choose to build this kind of company?
Here, you can flesh out your overview and touch on how your business will function. Talk a little about your customer base, marketing goals, and strengths of your company. Why are you the best? Is it because you have the best staff, the most experience, the best rates?
Who are you competing against? How strong is that competition, and why do you think your studio can handle it? How will your business grow in this community over time?
There are lots of talented teachers and dancers who would be great studio owners. But in their current city or location, they would have a really hard time getting into the market and signing up students. That might be because of competition, lack of student interest in the area, or other reasons. How will your studio stand up to these tests?
Products and Services
Which dance classes will you offer? Will you rent out your space? Will you sell any retail items?
This section lists out your business functions: what do you offer, and how much will you charge? All of the items listed here will add up to be your studio’s income.
Marketing Publishing Strategy
How will people find out about your business, and how will you recruit additional students after your first season? What does your brand mean to you, and what do you want it to mean to others?
Operational Plan, Legal, and Startup Expenses
You can’t start a business from scratch: you’ll need funds and some professional consulting to get your company off the ground. How will you pay for your startup costs? Do you have that money already, or will you need to raise money with partners? Is a loan from the bank your best option?
By the time you get to writing this portion, hopefully you’ve talked to colleagues who might be opening the studio with you, or you’ve found a legal and/or financial professional who can advise you on the best way to move forward. Taking on debt to open a business is always risky, so you want to find funds the right way and have a plan to pay that debt back.
Most importantly: don’t be afraid to adapt! After the completion of the business plan, go back through and make adjustments based on information you’ve learned along the way! Ideas can and should evolve when they’re laid out on paper, so be sure to look for guidance from other teachers and business owners when putting together your plan.
It’s that time of year again: time for studios to showcase their students’ talent and put on a big show! And like any big event, there are bound to be a few (sometimes unwelcome) surprises. So it’s best to be prepared and in good spirits! Prepare your dancers for whatever situation might come up during a dance recital with the following tips.
1. Costume Issues
Whether it’s something relatively minor like a run in someone’s tights, or something more perilous like a broken strap, be prepared with a performance survival kit. You’ll want to have extra tights, shoelaces, bra straps and double-sided tape, a multipurpose tool to tighten taps, and any other items you need for potential repairs.
Hopefully you’ll be able to check the status of everyone’s costume during dress rehearsal, but it’s best to prepare your dancers in case a problem arises during their performance. For minor problems, coach them to keep performing – it will be more distracting if they try to fix the problem mid-dance. If you are truly concerned about how well a costume will hold up, have them wear a nude leotard as a base layer.
iSport’s Ballet section included a list of potential costume malfunctions that might come up, with some great solutions and tips to keep dancers dancing.
2. Stage Fright
Sometimes, dancers can get nervous – especially your youngest students! Make sure that everyone has had a chance to rehearse in the performance space. If you can simulate the performance experience by letting fellow dancers/staff act as an audience, even better. That way, you can encourage your dancers by reminding them that they CAN do their recital piece in front of a crowd – they already have!
Hand-in-hand with pre-show butterflies are those moments on stage where a dancer might draw a blank and forget the next step. Many of us have experienced this firsthand, and know how upsetting it can be!
Dance Advantage recommends reminding dancers that they have practiced the routine, and know them so well that muscle memory will kick in once they relax! Encourage them by reminding them that they have prepared for this day, and if they focus on the dance and enjoy the moment, they will be fine! If they do happen to miss a step, coach them to jump right back into the dance, and shake off the mistake – learning to recover from a misstep is an important part of being a performer.
4. Makeup Mishaps
Makeup is just as important as the rest of the costume! And applying dance recital makeup is tricky, no matter how many years a performer has been dancing.
For younger performers, it’s best to let a parent volunteer apply the makeup AND be ready to clean up a smudge or other problem that comes up. If they need help, you can refer those parents to our guide on applying dance makeup to younger dancers.
For older performers, who might do their own makeup or may need to quickly make an adjustment in-between pieces, emphasize that the dance is key. Their dance recital survival kit should equip them with the critical Q-tip or baby wipe to adjust a smudge. But if they have long lashes that are threatening to block vision or throw them off, lose them and make sure the piece takes precedence!
We found a few great ideas at Dance Spirit for some “recital rescues” like addressing stained quick change clothes, or fast makeup solutions.
5. Music Woes
Music malfunctions can catch even the most experienced performers off guard. For older performers who may be able to more easily recover from a music glitch, encourage them to continue to perform if a sound issue arises. For younger dancers, instruct them to pay attention to their teacher, who hopefully is stationed nearby and can guide them in the event of a technical problem in the performance hall.
6. Unfamiliar Environment
As we mentioned above, it’s critical that performers be given a chance to rehearse in the performance space. Letting dancers acclimate to the stage, lighting, sound, etc. can go a long way towards alleviating related issues.
There are other environment-related considerations, however. Especially for younger or less-experienced performers, the dance recital day can be overwhelming due to the sheer number people, level of noise and change in environment. Experienced studio owner Misty Lown has some great tips on managing your backstage area in a way that creates a positive environment conducive to the success of your dancers.
A lot of dance studios have finished up their competition season; plenty have competitions coming up soon. For those of you who are finished with competition season: did you win? For those of you headed to competition, are you hoping to win?
Mama wants a trophy. No doubt. And every studio can benefit from having a reputation for strong results at competition and a fun experience for the team.
But like, did you WIN? Are you happy with the results of the competition? Here’s the TutuTix take on how to win a dance competition.
How to Win a Dance Competition
The dancers are the priority
All dance studio owners, competition teachers, and dance parents want the best for their dancers. At competition, that means that dancers (hopefully) walk into the competition with confidence, with beautiful costumes, with composure, and with enthusiasm to leave it all on the dance floor and represent their team well.
Walking out of competition, hopefully those same dancers have worked through the INEVITABLE issues that surprise you at competition, they’ve become more mature through great wins or tough losses, and they’ve kept a strong sense of self knowing that they’re doing what they love.
If you as a competition team have accomplished that, you’ve won, right?
We need to teach dancers that preparation before a big event is important. Not just so that their performance at competition is top-notch, but so they recognize that great results require you to put in the work beforehand.
That work doesn’t necessarily mean just practice time. Especially for older dancers, involving them in putting together a dance competition survival kit and other competition materials will help them to be more responsible and invested in their own preparation.
The Performance Experience
It’s important for dancers to see others compete, and to be able to recognize other great talent on the stage regardless of who ends up with what trophies. That’s not to say that teams should be watching every other dance, especially before they perform- the priority should be focusing and preparing for your own dance.
And part of that focus needs to be an understanding that you are going out onto the stage to be judged for your art. Though the context might be competition, the dance team on stage is leaving it all on the dance floor, expressing themselves in a medium that is meaningful and powerful for them.
So yes, you want great scores and great feedback from judges, but remember that judging at a competition is done by humans, and there will always be some subjective room for error.
Regardless of the judges’ scores, the goal for dancers needs to be taking scores with a grain of salt, comparing the scores with how they felt on stage, and remembering these two very important questions:
“Did you have fun? Was your performance a work of art?”
It’s not just about going through the motions and hoping for a good score- life doesn’t work that way, and we should hope that the lessons dancers learn on stage translate to the rest of their lives in a meaningful way.
After the Competition
Once you’re back home from competition, back in the studio and gearing up for spring recitals, how is your team feeling? Dancers might feel a lot of different ways: tired, determined, excited. It just depends on how their competition experience went.
For those teams who got great scores, great feedback, and are coming back buzzing with excitement: that’s amazing! Ride that wave of enthusiasm all the way through recital season.
For those teams who didn’t get the results they were expecting, or had some tougher-than-usual trouble at competition, never fear: there are plenty more opportunities to dance and improve on your technique for next time.
Regardless of your competition experience, make sure your dancers know that their efforts made a difference to you, and that you loved watching them dance! It means a lot to a dancer to know that their hard work paid off, and will help them work that much harder to put on their best recital performance yet.