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!
Want to make your recital picture days as efficient as possible? Pre-plan the classes’ portrait poses, so that they can be immediately prepared when they enter the photo room. There are several things to think about when planning your studio’s recital photos. But, if you put in a little preparation you’ll save yourself stress and save everyone time on the day of recital pictures.
Timing and Location
When are you going to have your recital pictures taken? Will it be at the dress rehearsal, or on the day of the recital? Will you be having your dress rehearsal at the performance venue?
Answering these three questions will determine a lot of things about your recital pictures: the scenery and setting, how much time you’ll have to get good pictures, if you’ll be hiring the photographer for one or two nights.
Let’s say you take your recital pictures the night of the dress rehearsal, and have access to the performance venue.
This means that your advance work might mean going by the venue and picking a good spot for photos, and scheduling the pictures as part of the evening! The only downside might mean the cost for the photographer for an extra night (unless you have a package deal that includes recital pictures and performance pictures).
With some good logistics and planning with your teachers, you can have one group of dancers taking pictures, and then heading for the stage so that there aren’t any dancers (and parents) sitting and waiting.
If you take your recital pictures prior to the recital but don’t have access to the venue, you can be a little more flexible in your setting! But, timing is important: having pictures on a night where all dancers are required to be there (like the dress rehearsal) helps to ensure that all of your dancers actually attend. As far as the photographer, it’s the same situation: are they charging by the night? As a package? That’s up to you and the photographer to figure out.
If you take your recital pictures on the night of the recital, at the venue, you’ll be in great shape to have everyone there, and in a great setting! Keep in mind that you’ll be in a little more of a time crunch, since parents/family/guests will be eager to get into the venue space. Plus, even if you take pictures somewhere different than the stage, dancers will be easily distracted by their family members. Preparing recital pictures will probably be the MOST helpful in this kind of situation.
Depending on the age of your dancers, the simpler the arrangement, the better. Your goal with these recital photos is to make sure everyone’s face is clearly visible. Very basic setups put taller dancers in the back, shorter in the front. From there, you can arrange dancers in a way that shows off costumes, featured soloists, etc.
Depending on your agreement with the photographer, you can ask them to come by the studio to help with this planning. They might be able to offer some creative tips to make your recital pictures really pop!
Even if your professional photographer can’t make it to a planning session, you might know that one of your dance parents enjoys photography, and might be able to help out as well.
Make notes and keep track of every class’ designated position. When it’s time for the official photo shoot, make sure your studio representatives have access to and knowledge about all of the poses for each of the pictures. While poses may be adjusted slightly to work for the camera, this will create efficiency, evoke creativity in the photographic composition, and save time.
*Editor’s Note: This piece is based on an article written by Chasta Hamilton-Calhoun of the DanceExec.
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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The curtain call is the final moment of the show where all of the students re-appear for a final time. This year, I challenged myself to heighten the organization and systemization of our Curtain Call for our varying shows. To do this, I planned out specific curtain call choreography and practiced it in our classes for the weeks leading up to recital.
This is the culmination of your year, as a studio, and the results should appear effortless, organized, and fun for students. Select fun, inspiring music (or a mix of music) that compliments your theme, and delegate times for each group to take their bows.
Each year, the Curtain Call is organized into group numbers (for example, a 2-3 year old class might be Group #1). Prior to curtain call, the hallway backstage is lined up with the group numbers to make the curtain call process easy to fluidly feed into the stage area.
All students are asked to remain onstage after the curtain call. If the students were held in the younger students area, then their room chaperones take them back to their area. If the students were held in the backstage area, they return to their dressing rooms to wait for dismissal.
The final product is a tabled infographic specific to each show and showtime, which you can see below:
CURTAIN CALL 2017
Show Time (7PM)
3-8 Counts to Walk Out / 1-8 Count to Bow / 1-8 Count to Move to Final Pose
This is an easy to read, easy to understand diagram. It will be posted in all of the studio rooms with a copy of the music for class rehearsal. We usually rehearse the Curtain Call for 5 minutes at the end of each class for 4-5 weeks before recital.
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 the 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.
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 your 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:
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.
Download a printable version of the Studio Owner Dance Recital Checklist here:
Of the many hats studio owners wear, one of the most important ones is that of a marketer for our business. In fact, if you think of all of the ways you have marketed your studio over the past year you will probably be surprised to find out just how much time is spent promoting your studio to the next generation of dancers. When I reflected on my studio’s marketing initiatives over the course of this school year I came up with a long list including: printed brochures, postcards, Facebook ads, free trial classes, free dance days, community performances, camps, workshops, master classes, birthday parties, field trips, print ads in the local parenting magazine and various community partnerships.
But if you are only marketing to the public you are missing one of the most powerful marketing tools of all: re-selling to your existing client. Various studies report that it costs anywhere between five to seven times more to attract a new client than to re-sell an existing client. And there is no greater opportunity to re-sell the value of being a part of your studio to your families than the upcoming annual studio dance recital.
Make the most of your annual studio dance recital by adding these 5 Easy WOWs to make a great day-of experience for both dancers and attendees:
Are you looking for some more recital tips and ideas? Check out these other articles and resources from Misty:
Thanks to Chasta Hamilton Calhoun, founder and creator of the Dance Exec, we’ve put together a complete dance recital checklist to help studio owners get ready for their big event. You can download this extensive guide for FREE below!
As studio owners, we know the power that the recital has on your brand. At the end of each year, this is your culminating event that will ultimately affect registrations for the upcoming seasons. The planning process should be taken very seriously, and you should get started early!
Pre-planning, organization, preparedness, and professionalism are essential elements in creating a strong, cohesive positive performance experience for students, parents, and instructors. If people love your recital, then they will love your brand! In fact, if the recital is an enjoyable experience, your clientele will eagerly anticipate the arrival of the event each year.
Looking for more ideas to take your recital and your studio to the next level? Check out these additional resources:
How many times have you wondered, “What did that song just say?” or “What does this song really mean?” If you are unsure about the meaning of dance lyrics or the content of a song, it is likely that the song should not be played in your dance classes or used for a performance/competition routine (and, if something is questionable, research the answer).
Many popular songs that receive radio play are pushing the limits of appropriateness with insinuating, suggestive, or inappropriate dance lyrics that are not appropriate for children. In a similar vein, songs that are played in your high school classes may not be appropriate for six and seven year old dancers.
One resource we found was songmeanings.com, where you can search for songs and research what the content is actually talking about.
Take the time to find class music that is age appropriate for your class composition. Err on the side of caution and make choices that will positively influence your student base.
Today, we begin the first of seven spring recitals that will span through June 7th!
For me, spring recitals are the most exciting time of the year – teachers and students have worked hard to present a product that will showcase their work. We begin planning spring recitals immediately after each year’s event, so we have 11 solid months of planning. Once the immediate recital season arrives, most of the work is finished!
For some, I know it can be a stressful period. And, even if the midst of joy and celebration, stressful moments occur- like the time our balloon drop pull wasn’t pulled out at intermission or an upset child that will not calm or a parent that feels exceptionally frazzled. Know that the stressful moments happen, but, more often than that, use the following tips to create a happy, exciting, and positive event!
1. Set the tone: Your mood and leadership will set the tone for the event- keep it positive and fun!
2. Be prepared and organized: Allow yourself plenty of time to be as organized and prepared as possible.
3. Delegate: Manage and assign tasks to every piece of the puzzle. This will result in a smooth operation.
4. Communicate: Let people know every detail of what to expect, multiple times. This includes students, parents, staff, and backstage volunteers.
5. Have support: Rely on your immediate support team for ideas and strategies.
6. Do not procrastinate: Recital is the not the time to procrastinate – finish everything with plenty of time to spare.
7. Be flexible: When everything does not go as planned, be flexible.
8. Be calm: Even when dealing with difficult situations and problems, remain calm and diplomatic. Isolate and address the problem and move on.
9. Take care of yourself: Don’t forget to include some rest and relaxation (when you can)!
10. Have fun: Think of the children you are inspiring and the memories they are making. Produce an amazing event that will continue cultivating their love of dance for years to come!