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Studio Owner Dance Recital Checklist: 4 Weeks Out

Studio Owner Dance Recital Checklist: 4 Weeks Out

I remember it so clearly…during one of my early years of studio ownership, I was sitting at the kitchen table with my head in my hands, completely paralyzed and overwhelmed. We had just crossed into the month of April and there were SO MANY things that I still needed to do in order to get ready for our May shows.

The longer I sat there thinking about my growing list, the more I became convinced I could NEVER get it all done. That’s when my husband stepped in and did what all great husbands do when they see their wives unravelling right before their very eyes: he sent me to bed and said we would talk about in the morning. Smart man.

Morning came and with it returned my ability to see past the loose ends and make a studio owner dance recital checklist list to get things in order before the real show. And, I’ve been building and refining the list ever since.

Keep reading for 30 things you can do now to have a seamless recital experience four weeks from now.

Planning as it relates to students and families:


  1. Schedule a photo day for groups (and individuals if necessary).
  2. Begin rehearsals for any specialty dances such as Daddy Daughter, Opening Number, Finale or any dance involving new, or large, props.
  3. Make a last call for rehearsal CDs or practice videos.
  4. Make a last call for ads and corrections to the recital program book.
  5. Place an additional order for tights, shoes and undergarments for those who outgrow or lose theirs before the show.
  6. Distribute information regarding how families can order or receive recital videos.
  7. Host a “Costume Construction” and “Hair and Makeup Day” where you provide assistance with alterations and where older company members can teach younger dancers how to do their hair and makeup.
  8. Announce “In-Studio Dress Rehearsals” where students will do a full run through in costume, hair and makeup right in the studio during the last week of classes. This allows all costume questions to be addressed before heading into “Stage Dress Rehearsals” and saves valuable time on stage.
  9. Distribute all pertinent information regarding “Stage Dress Rehearsals” including rehearsal times, costume items needed, makeup and arrival and pick up instructions.
  10. Coordinate any extra rehearsals for classes that may behind on choreography at this point or classes that may be combined due to low enrollment.

Planning as it relates to staff and teachers:

  1. Finalize the show order and copy edit the recital program book one more time so that the files can be sent to the printer.
  2. Order recital t-shirts for all those who pre-ordered, plus a 20% overage for interest that will surely come up at the show.
  3. Have a planning meeting with teachers to coordinate backstage roles and responsibilities for staff and crew.
  4. Have a meeting to set expectations and provide training for ushers, parent volunteers and child care helpers.
  5. Plan activities to keep kids entertained backstage such as coloring supplies, games, movies.
  6. Establish a clear system for dancer drop off and pick up.
  7. Make name badges for staff and order recital crew t-shirts. Communicate dress code expectations for staff regarding rehearsals and recitals.
  8. Make signage for venue. A “Dancers: This Way –>” sign will give first time families a sense of belonging and direction as soon as they get to the theater.
  9. Make reservations for sub sandwiches or other meal options to be delivered to the theater on heavy rehearsal nights or show days for your staff.
  10. Assemble an emergency kit for the theater including first aid supplies and extra safety pins, bobby pins, hair spray and makeup. We also include shout wipes, a sewing machine and a steamer.

Planning as it relates to vendors, community partners and venue:

  1. Email tech sheets to the theater including headcounts, entrance and exit information, costume descriptions, music files and lighting requirements for each number.
  2. Finalize any music licensing or insurance certificates needed for rehearsals and recitals with the appropriate agencies.
  3. Arrange for a local flower company to sell flowers at the show.
  4. Arrange for delivery of recital t-shirts and program books directly to the venue.
  5. Order any other recital swag you may be interested in selling or providing, such as recital bears, bracelets, trophies, awards or “Step and Repeat” banners for the lobby.
  6. Get a report from TutuTix regarding your ticket sales and make a decision about what you want to do with unsold tickets. We donate a percentage of our unsold tickets to students at the Boys and Girls Club and Big Brothers, Big Sisters each year. Senior citizens also appreciate the opportunity to see a show.
  7. Send invitations to important community leaders encouraging them to come see the big show and celebrate the accomplishments of the students.
  8. Submit a press release to your local media outlets and community calendars.
  9. Hire a photographer to take shots during rehearsal or recital that can be used at a later date for publicity or marketing for your studio.
  10. Write thank yous and put together care baskets now for your those who will be helping you to put on an amazing show for kids and community.

Do you have other ideas? Please send your ideas to MistyLown@gmail.com. I would love to hear what you do at your studio! Blessings for a GREAT show!

Download a printable version of the Studio Owner Dance Recital Checklist here:

Are you looking for some more recital tips and ideas? Check out these other articles and resources from Misty:

The “Expert Advice from Misty Lown” series is brought to you by More Than Just Great Dancing™ and TutuTix.

More Than Just Great Dancing

Misty Lown

Misty Lown is the founder, president and energized force behind More Than Just Great Dancing™. Misty shares her methods of creating a professional environment where people learn and grow from the life experiences lived in the dance studio. Sharing information, providing helpful observations, and giving feedback to parents, teachers and students is an essential part of the learning process that Misty delivers with More Than Just Great Dancing™. Misty's new book, "One Small Yes," is now available on Amazon.