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 http://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.
Sparkly dance costumes look fantastic on stage! But it’s not so fantastic when you start noticing glitter anywhere and everywhere the costume has been.
If your dancer has a particularly sparkly dance costume for recital or competition, how can you keep that glitter where it belongs: on the costume? Check out this quick solution to keep glitter on the costume, plus some general costume care tips to help the costume last.
Hairspray is the key for a quick fix to your glitter problems!
First, take your project supplies outside, to a well-ventilated area.
Take the costume in question, and lay it out as flat as possible. Spray a generous amount of hairspray onto every glittery portion of the costume. If the costume has multiple layers or ruffles, make sure to get each one, but also make sure to let each portion dry completely before you touch it.
Ta-da! Your dance costume should now have a good hold on all that glitter.
That being said, hairspray only provides a temporary solution, and over time (and after washing) the glitter will start to fall off again. That could mean another round of spraying, depending on how frequently the costume is worn.
Another thing to note: hairspray (or any other kind of spray adhesive trick) will probably cause some stiffening of the fabric. For a quick fix, it’s probably worth it! But a better option is to try to care for the costume as much as possible to keep that glitter on as long as possible.
Caring for your Dance Costume
Some dance costumes are more fragile than others, and sparkly dance costumes are tricky to keep in great shape in the long-term. A few tips for taking great care of your costume:
Hand-wash when possible, in cold or lukewarm water. Hand-washing is gentler on clothes in general, and can help to keep glitter on instead of letting it tumble around a washer/dryer
Speaking of drying, make sure to air dry costumes with glitter on them! Less movement and friction means more glitter on the costume
Have a separate garment bag or area where the costume won’t be constantly brushing up against other articles of clothing. Less friction will help keep glitter on the costume, AND it’ll keep glitter from getting on other clothes!
Replacing Lost Glitter with Rhinestones
Is the glitter on your costume diminished to where you’re looking for more advanced solutions? Rhinestones and rhinestone patterns can make a costume pop, and can be a more permanent fix for a sparkly dance costume that has really started to lose its sparkle.
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!
This year, in order to make sure everyone is fully prepared for recital, we are taking a proactive approach to dance recital shoes and checking shoes in class. That way, we can directly communicate with parents that may need to purchase or borrow a new pair or clean up their current shoes.
The details really do matter for a stage ready look! When checking shoes, take the following into consideration:
Correct Style – having recommended brands for parents to go find can be a HUGE help in this category
Correct Color – do the recital costumes require a different color than what is typically worn in class?
Proper Fit – has the dancer’s foot grown throughout the course of the dance year?
Condition of Shoes – has dance class taken a toll on a pair of shoes, making them preferable for practice instead of performance?
It’s very important for dance recital shoes to fit properly, and to look the part: performance-ready!
For dancers who need to replace their pointe shoes, or who want to have an extra pair just in case, make sure they and their parents know the right way to get fitted for pointe shoes. Sometimes a studio will go as a group to get fitted, or might bring in a fitter for a class’ first pair. But close to recital season, studio owners and teachers won’t have time to help each dancer prepare their own materials.
If parents require some redirection, make sure you give them plenty of time to properly replace shoes. Last minute notices may create unnecessary tension or frustration. When you approach it collaboratively, it will usually yield the most successful results!
It’s biggest day of the year for your families. If your students are like mine, they are raring to go! And it’s easy to see why when you consider all of the hard work they have put in over the past year preparing for recitals:
30+ weeks of lessons
2-3 minutes of choreography for each dance
Costume measurements, fittings, exchanges and alterations
Group photos, recital tickets and t-shirts, flower orders and more!
In fact, for every minute of a dance that appears on stage, an average of 100 HOURS of preparation has already been put in before one sequin ever hits the stage. But before you sign off on your dance recital prep, I want you to put ONE MORE HOUR to make sure your recital day is GREAT.
Keep reading for 8 last-minute dance recital prep tips that will ensure you have the best recital day yet!
Are you looking for some more recital tips and ideas? Check out these other articles and resources from Misty:
Everyone knows how important a great dance costume is. All of the hard work and practice put into routines by dancers deserves to be highlighted in a special and beautiful way, and a costume can do just that! If you’re like any of the studio owners I know, you put in TONS of time and effort trying to find or make special costumes that bring out the best in your dancers. One way to enhance an already great costume or upgrade an old costume is to add rhinestone designs to the costume.
Rhinestone Designs and Application 101
New to the idea of rhinestones, or never tried it before? Check out the tutorial video below. It’s a longer video, but one of the best and most thorough videos we saw online. It talks about rhinestone designs, tools, tips, and more.
Choose A Design That Fits the Costume
So you’re ready to get started! Before you do anything else, answer this question:
What do you want your “upgraded” costume to accomplish?
Do you want to accent patterns that already exist on the costume?
Do you want to create totally new patterns?
Are you looking to just add some pop to the costume?
BDancewear’s “5 Ways to Rhinestone Your Dance Costume” has 5 suggestions on different rhinestone designs you can add to your dance costumes, plus individual how-to’s for each design included as clickable links in the video.
Like the video mentions, you can use rhinestones to:
Add some pop with a scattered design that is simple but effective
Accent an existing costume design and make different features stand out
Add a totally new design feature that re-imagines the potential of a costume
Or any combination!
Practice Makes Perfect
As with many craft projects, it takes a few tries to get it right. And if you’re trying to add some new life to a costume that will need to last for a season or a year, your work needs to be pretty good!
So, do some practicing with cheaper rhinestones on practice material to get your form down. The first video tutorial talked about some tools and techniques to make your rhinestone application perfect: don’t forget to also see what has and hasn’t worked for people before!
We found an awesome article on the blog “My Life As A Dancem0m” that talked about a few mistakes made on past rhinestone projects that became lessons for the future.
With the right preparation, practice, and perseverance, your dance costume is sure to be a future masterpiece!
This Halloween, get yourself and your dancers into the spooky spirit with these costume ideas and Halloween decorations for dance studios!
6 Easy DIY Halloween Costumes for Dance
These six costume ideas are great for a dress-up dance class day, and can even let dancers leave the studio and head straight out to trick-or-treat!
Halloween Spider Bun
Check out this super cute and fun bun hair design! Beware…..spider lovers only!
Halloween Decorations: Flying Bats
Grab some black construction paper, scissors, and use your favorite TV show time to fill your studio with some flying friends! You can find the full instructions here.
K-Cup Recycled Ghost Garland
If any of you are big fans of Keurig coffee machines (our office drinks coffee like nobody’s business), it turns out you’ve got tons of little craft-able ghosts waiting to light up your dance space! Check out the full instructions here.
Trash Bag Spider Webs
Part of the classic DIY Halloween decorations tricks, these easy spider webs can make your studio space pop without taking too much of your time to put together.
We’re fresh off our UDMA experience, and can’t get over how many amazing costume options are in style this year. Are you ready to make the move and start choosing recital costumes for next year? Check out this list of trending styles and costume ordering strategies for Dance Costumes 2017.
We heard from The Line Up that they’ve seen 5 big trends so far this year:
Graphic Branding: printing logos or other text onto fabric
Printed Lace Designs on Mesh: for the illusion of a lace “tattoo” over the primary fabric
The “Jersey” Look: mirroring athletics, sports jerseys, and cheer
Sparkling Designs: printing flowers or other designs over sparkling fabric
The “Romantic” Look: lace, fabric layers, rhinestones
A big part of several these design ideas is the use of a new printing technique, sublimation (The Line Up describes it as the ability to essentially design your own fabric at an affordable cost).
What other costume styles are on your radar? We’d love to update this article with feedback from studios!
Profitable Recital Costumes Start Now
Misty Lown of “More Than Just Great Dancing” wrote an amazing article for us with 5 of the best solutions she’s found to make the studio costume experience a positive one, and a profitable one! And it starts with:
Ordering EARLY (like, think Thanksgiving)
Measuring and ordering ACCURATELY (having one person do the measurements and being consistent)
You can read Misty’s full article for the rest of her strategies here!
A Quick Note on Reusing Costumes
Before you even get started shopping around online for potential costumes for sale that fit your ideas, take a look at last year’s costumes and see what you’ve got to work with. With some creativity and the right tools, studios hoping to save on costumes this year can get to work repurposing old costumes in a way that gives new life to great pieces.
Costumes and appearance issues can cause distractions for competitive dancers. Take the time to make your appearance a great part of your performance!
1. Costumes that fit inappropriately. Pulling, tugging, or adjusting a costume during a dance can be very distracting. The costume should fit comfortably and functionally for the entirety of a routine.
2. Costumes that do not flatter every member of an ensemble. Take every dancer into account when selecting costuming. The costume choice should make every ensemble member feel and look great.
3. Costumes lacking coverage. Costuming should be appropriate and should not make audience members uncomfortable. Keep it classy!
4. Noticeable undergarments. Undergarments (including nude leotards) should not be noticeable onstage. Pin the undergarments to hide them from view.
5. Nail polish. Unless there are uniform requirements for nails, nail polish and designs should be removed for performance.
6. Tights with Runs. Tights should look clean onstage. Tights with holes/runs are distracting. Pack extras and be prepared for emergencies.
7. Sloppy Hair. Hair should be styled and secured to last throughout the entire performance.
8. Loose Accessories. From hairpieces to gloves to bootstraps to jewelry, it is important that any and all costume accessories be secure enough to last throughout the performance.
9. Dirty or Mismatched Shoes. Shoes should be the same style and should be wiped clean for performance. Dirty or mismatched shoes are very distracting.
10. One Shoe Look. Not Okay!
Take the time to make your appearance a great part of your performance! The look is like writing your name on a school paper– take care of the preparation portion before it is time to shine on stage. Then, the performance can fully focus on the representation of your talent!
Since our industry is in the midst of its show and performance season, it seems like a good time to reiterate the importance of requiring every students to have their costume and any apparel-based item, and try it on prior to leaving the studio.
The benefits include:
(1) It allows an opportunity for you to recognize/address any problems prior to the costume leaving your facility.
(2) It prepares you for questions/concerns a parent may have about a particular costume.
(3) It allows you to be proactive, informed, and knowledgeable.
Many times, a parent will present a question/concern without realizing the costume was tried on in class.
And, while many apparel issues can be resolved with a yank/tug and/or safety pins, it also presents the opportunity for you to intercept any major problems.
Keep in mind that many parents are not familiar with the fit and look of many dance costumes. Be the professional and guide them through the process. They will appreciate it, and you will feel confident in your dancers’ onstage look and appearance!
It is the season of stoning- rhinestones! Use the following tips to expedite the application process for adding rhinestones to dance costumes.
Use a tool to pick up your stones! There are some commercially available devices for picking up rhinestones, but parrafin wax is effective…and inexpensive. Canning wax is available at most grocery stores. Cut a block of the wax and use a knife to carve down one side. The end result should look something like a short pencil with a flat tip. The flat tip is what you will use to retrieve the rhinestones. It is the perfect amount of stickiness for picking up your stones.
Use E-6000 glue for the application process. This glue is available at any crafting store.
To keep the process organized, place some glue on a piece of paper and use a bent paperclip or needle to apply the glue. Dab the stone right on top of the glue using the paraffin applicator.
By applying these tips, you will be faster and more productive in adding rhinestones, making your dance costumes glitzy and glam in no time!
No one in our industry would question that producing a recital takes the TOP spot for biggest project of the year. Coming in at a close second, however, is the process of ordering recital costumes. From concept to selection, from measuring to ordering, from try-ons to exchanges and alterations, recital costumes can be almost as time intensive as putting on the show! The costuming process presents an important opportunity for studio owners—it’s a chance to delight dance families with great service, cut down on wasted time and effort, and make a profit for your business.
Here are 5 TIPS to make your recital costume process a positive and profitable one.
#5 – Order EARLY. You know how we all tell our kids not to lose points at competition on the obvious (e.g. not pointing toes)? Well, ordering early is the “pointing toes” of costumes. It’s plain silly to know you can earn an early order discount with most companies and not do it. Spend some time over Thanksgiving break to get your ducks in a row for an early December order. If the early order discount doesn’t excite you, then get excited over the idea of a timely delivery!
#4 – Measure and order ACCURATELY. When I started my studio 17 years ago, all of the teachers would measure the kids in their own classes. I did it that way out of necessity—I didn’t feel I had any extra resources to pay someone to take that on. Well, my system may have been “free,” but it wasn’t without cost. With 15 different teachers measuring 15 slightly different ways, our costs on exchanges went through the roof. In addition, there were missed orders for kids who registered late and got missed by teachers altogether. I changed my process about ten years and now we have one person in charge of all costume measuring and ordering. Accuracy is up and exchanges/missed orders are down. Getting one person to champion this project saves me way more than I spend for her time.
The next 3 tips will supercharge your savings!
Looking for more great expert advice before your spring recital? Check out:
As a dance teacher, you constantly want to stay up to date with the latest trends, including performance styles, music, and most importantly, costumes! Costume trends are ever-changing, following inspiration from actual style trends as well as pulling trends from other decades. As a result, it can be hard to keep up. Luckily we’re here to help keep you on top of the latest trends as soon as they come out. Let your dancers shine in these trends for dance costumes 2016.
1. 90’s hip hop
If you’ve got a few hip-hop dancers at your studio, they better get ready for dressing like 90’s rappers. This year’s costumes include lots of harem pants, joggers, jerseys and even camouflage, accessorized with beanies and flannel shirts, according to Weissman costumes. Many of the colors are inspired by urban looks, including graffiti designs and geometric neon prints. Pair these costumes with your favorite pair of Converse sneakers or high-tops to complete the look.
2. 80’s style
The 80’s are back again! These costumes channel Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Michael Jackson and all of your other favorite 80’s artists. This season, dress your dancers in hologram metallics, mesh, leather and neon-colored geometric and animal prints. According to A Wish Come True costumes, hot colors include bright pinks, blues, yellows, greens, oranges and of course, black. Accessorize these costumes with leg warmers, studded accessories, denim vests and patent leather combat boots to complete the look. For the final touches, give your dancers colored highlights and blue eye shadow.
3. Havana nights
Many costumes have taken on a Spanish and Cuban influence this year. A lot of the costumes embody a look from flamenco and salsa dancers. The hottest costumes include lots of ruffles, feathers, rose prints and skirts. If you’re looking to channel Cuban influences, dress your dancers in oranges, pinks and yellows with off-the-shoulder tops. If you’re looking for a more authentic Spanish style, aim for red and black and a ruffled skirt. Accessorize with lace pieces, rose hair clips, hoops and heels!
4. 60’s mod styles
The 60’s mod look has stuck around for another year. These costumes include looks from artists like Twiggy and go-go dancers. Dress your dancers in polka dots, halter necks and geometric prints. The hottest colors include pinks, blues and yellows, as well as the standard black and white. Pair these looks with penny loafers, oxfords and flats, and high socks! Complete the look with cute headbands and big eyes.
Can you imagine the following? A house builder works for nine months with clients to build a beautiful family home. The builder communicates and plans; hiring subcontractors, building walls, insuring the project, financing the materials and making the finishing touches just right. The builder takes draws from the clients for expenses along the way, but when it comes time to deliver the final product and hand over the keys, he takes a pass on getting paid for the last weeks of work.
This would never happen in the “real world,” but in “our world,” it happens all too often.
Studio owners put nine months of work into building a beautiful product and then fail to take it to the finish line from a business perspective.
If you are looking for dance recital ideas to produce a dance recital that pays you for your time and effort, keep reading!
The “Expert Advice from Misty Lown” series is brought to you by More Than Just Great Dancing™ and TutuTix.