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:
Does your studio send home a dance recital information sheet a few months before recital? At the DanceExec’s studio, a recital detail sheet goes home in January/February and includes the following details for each student (for each class) on a customized sheet:
Class Routine Name
Class Costume Description
Class Show Time
Class Picture Time
In-Studio Rehearsal Time
Dress Rehearsal Time
This detail sheet basically conveys who, what, when, and where information that parents need to know. Encourage parents to transfer the information to their calendar and to store the document in a secure location.
Want an easy template to start from? You can download our Sample Recital Detail Information template using the form below! It’s a Microsoft Word document, so you can edit the details according to your needs.
The recital detail sheet can and should include as many details as possible, including: location of each event, call times for each event, costume specifics (color of costume, tight information, hair piece information, hair style information, accessory information, and dance shoe information).
Editing the Dance Recital Information Template
Like we mentioned earlier, you are welcome to make any changes you’d like to the template, and use it for your studio’s needs! Here, we’ll talk about how we built the document so you can easily make your changes.
To change the logo in the top left corner to your studio’s imagery, simply delete ours and replace it with a jpeg or other image file. The logo and Dancer/Class/Recital Date/Call Time at the top of the document are included in a table, in order to look as neat as it does, so keep that in mind as you manipulate that top portion!
The center portion of the document is straightforward: we chose some of the criteria/details used by the DanceExec, and spaced it out to leave room for comments/notes. Change it up as you like/need!
Address / Parking Information
The bottom portion is a table, just like the very top! One cell per piece of information: venue address and parking information. We built it this way to keep the sheet on one page. You can easily replace information in either of the cells, or you can delete the table altogether and include that information differently.
We hope this is helpful!!! Questions/comments/suggestions for the Dance Recital Information Sheet Template? Send us an email at email@example.com.
Do you need any other dance studio resources? Check out some of our other free downloadable content:
Your recital is likely your largest production during the calendar year, and often can be a deciding factor whether or not parents will return with their children for the following year. Pricing your dance recital tickets correctly is an extremely crucial part of planning.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published January 21, 2015. It has been updated with current data as of February 2017.
First, decide your goal.
Are you just trying to cover production costs? Will your recital profits provide some financial cushion for the slow summer months? Are proceeds going to charity? Beginning with the end in mind will help you not only make decisions about the production, but will ultimately help you arrive at a price point that helps you achieve your objectives.
Next, figure out your cost.
Consider all of the cost drivers for the typical recital production. There’s auditorium rental (plus rehearsal), lights, sound, music mixing and licenses, security, insurance, staff payroll, tickets and programs, just to name a few.
Finally, do the math.
Use the simple formula:
Ticket Price = (desired profit + cost) / (Tickets per student x Number of students )
If you’re unsure about how many tickets per student, work with the average. In 2016, our studio clients sold about 3 dance recital tickets per student enrolled.
What do others charge?
At TutuTix, we know a lot about dance recital ticketing. Working with over 1,100 studios in the US, we’ve sold over $36 million dollars’ worth of dance recital tickets since we were founded in 2010, including $10 million in the spring of 2016 alone. Here are some interesting stats:
The average price for dance recital tickets in the US in 2016 was $13.74.
In 2016, the average studio sold more than $11,000 worth of tickets per recital season, and more than $4,600 per event (performance).
The most popular prices are $10 (21%), $15 (20%), $12 (15%), and $20 (10%), collectively, and account for more than 66% of all sales.
Can you charge more?
Apart from the overwhelming popularity of these prices, there is no identifiable correlation between ticket price and number of sales, which means that sales DO NOT SUFFER when tickets are priced higher. Further, there is no correlation between price and whether the ticket sold in advance versus at the door, meaning sales aren’t even delayed when tickets are priced higher.
There ARE compelling differences between tickets sold as general admission and those sold as reserved. Ticket buyers are willing to pay a premium for reserved seating, with reserved seats selling for an average of $14.03, over just $10.80 for general admission–an almost 30% difference! Check out our article on reserved seating here for even more in-depth information.
Need more information?
Our dance recital ticketing experts have helped hundreds of dance studios price, sell, and distribute their recital tickets. To request a professional consultation please contact us.
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:
Recital and performance season is here! Looking for an inexpensive (and easy) dance recital organization tip? 🙂
When I was dancing, I always kept all of my belongings in a laundry basket which helped in transporting items to and fro. I encourage all of my students and backstage volunteers to follow suit- when everything is labeled and organized, this makes sorting and organization super easy!
Some things to label:
Shoes (by costume or by piece as needed)
Each individual prop or accessory for costumes (if dancers have every single piece labeled, there’s a great chance they won’t forget anything at home…)
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 official UDMA website
Check Out the Seminars
During the four sessions this year, UDMA will be offering seminars on the Saturdays of the show that dance teachers and studio owners can attend. These sessions typically cover a range of topics, and are taught by well-known dance teachers and owners in the industry who have found years of success.
For 2016, the special seminar is called “Teaching Dance for Students with Disabilities.” You’ll receive great insight from industry leaders about good practices and proven strategies for incorporating special needs students into your classes.
Note that the seminars require a separate registration from the vendor/costume show, as well as an additional fee.
Come Visit Us at the TutuTix Booth!
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!
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.
You asked for it, and we built it – introducing the newest addition to the TutuTix editing tools, the Quick Edit Feature! You can now edit your own:
Watch the video below for a 1-minute tutorial on “Quick Edit”
TutuTix Editing Tools Video Text:
Welcome back to the TutuTix 1-minute “TutuTips” Series. You can now edit your event title, date, time and headline any time you need to. Just log in to your portal, and click any of the editable areas in your listed event.
Once you’ve made the necessary edits, simply click “Save” to populate your changes. Now once saved, your changes will show up online for your ticket buyers, so be sure to only include information in these areas that you want to be seen online.
If you have any questions or need to make changes to other aspects of your event, send us a help case or give us a call. Thanks for using TutuTix!
At a recent conference, I recently had the chance to share a presentation with studio owners on producing a profitable dance recital. I wanted to share it here; hopefully it will be of value to our blog readers as well! The major points of the dance conference presentation are below. Let us know if you’d like more detail on any of this information.
Three BIG Ideas to Make Your Recital More Profitable
Recital Fee vs. Online Sales
Many studio owners ask: “Should I charge a recital fee or just do ticket sales?” The answer is BOTH. The recital fee allows you to capture revenue at the beginning of the dance year, but a ticket sale presents an opportunity later in the year to maximize your profits in ways that add value to the experience your performers and attendees.
And that leads us to BIG Idea #1…
Big Idea #1: Bundle and Sell Online
Consumers spend more when they use a credit card than when they make purchases with cash. You can present merchandise purchase options with your ticket sales and customers will be more likely to buy, especially if they perceive that there is a bundle.
Big Idea #1: Bundle and Sell Online, cont’d.
All of our clients who sell merchandise online in advance report higher merchandise sales, with some reporting a 2x increase over previous years when they would accept cash only at the event. In addition, online sales enable you to more closely approximate the amount of merchandise you need to have on hand, so you have less inventory that goes unsold.
Big Idea #2: Inventory Management/Reserved Seating
Recognize that your seats are your inventory, and sell them in the most appropriate way to make more money. Seats in the front are worth more than seats in the back. If ticket buyers complain about a change in prices this year, explain that prices for the seats in the back are the same, but seats in the front are worth more, and therefore cost more.
So, why should you price seats according to their value?
Better experience for the ticket buyer = higher perceived value.
Offer perks for more loyal families.
Increases urgency to get the ticket = you get the money in hand sooner.
2016 Per Ticket Data
Reserved seating is a type of seating setup in which the ticket buyer can choose specific seats they want to sit in. Now, why is this important?
The average price paid in 2016 for a general admission ticket to a dance recital nationwide was $10.80, vs. $14.03 for a reserved ticket! That’s a 30% difference!
2016 Per Ticket Data, cont’d.
Moreover, the average gross per event with general admission seating was $1,715, while the average gross per event with reserved seating was $5,370! Don’t leave money on the table!
Big Idea #3: Generate Leads
Owners put forth an inordinate amount of effort into producing a recital, and most of the time, the only people exposed are the ones who already know how great their studio is! That’s such a waste! Your RECITAL is a prime opportunity to SHOWCASE your studio to prospective families and the community.
Invite “warm” prospects to your recital
Donate tickets to community charities
Leverage local schools / end of year activities
BUNDLE and sell online
Manage your INVENTORY wisely
Use your recital to GENERATE LEADS
So you want to sell tickets and merchandise online—now what?
TutuTix: The Easiest Way to Sell and Distribute Tickets to Your Dance Performances
How It Works: Step 1 – You Sign Up Online
It’s easy to get started with our easy online sign-up form. We just need some basic information in order to set up your events, including:
Your event info
The ticket prices
The date you want your tickets to go on sale
Your seating chart (if you plan on using assigned seating)
Your dedicated relationship manager will walk you through the process and help you fill in the blanks, and answer any questions you may have. After we have your information, our staff sets up your event, and you’ll get a final opportunity to review your event before we make tickets available to the public.
How It Works: Step 1 – You Sign Up Online, cont’d.
Codes? Comps? No Problem! With more than 1,200 clients nationwide, chances are, we’ve done every kind of presale setup there is. We can do:
Reserved seating, general admission and mixed reserved/general seating.
Promo codes, discount codes and comps.
Shopping cart for multiple performances or merchandise sales.
How It Works: Step 2 – Patrons Buy Tickets
When your tickets go on sale, your patrons can buy them:
Online at tututix.com/yourstudioname
On their mobile devices
On your Facebook page
From our toll-free call center
How It Works: Step 2 – Patrons Buy Tickets, cont’d.
For reserved seating, online ticket buyers can select their own seats with our easy-to-use seatPower seat selector.
How It Works: Step 2 – We Deliver Tickets
To Your Patrons – Your patrons can choose to get tickets delivered instantly to their email or smartphone, or to have souvenir tickets mailed to them. Tickets are mailed out immediately, and usually arrive within one week of purchase.
And to You – A few days before the event, we print any unsold tickets on the same keepsake ticket stock and ship them directly to you for FREE as part of our Door Ticket Kit so that you can have tickets on hand for door sales.
You Get Paid Weekly
We deposit ticket proceeds into your account weekly, giving you the flexibility to use those funds when you need them.
Your patrons can choose to have full-color, foil-embossed barcoded keepsake tickets mailed to them. We even print the dancer’s name directly on the tickets! Tickets are mailed out immediately, and usually arrive within one week of purchase.
Customizable Print-at-Home Tickets
Our print-at home tickets are customizable! You can promote upcoming classes, workshops or performances, or even sell advertising to your event sponsors!
Door Ticket Kit
Our FREE door ticket kit makes it easy to sell any remaining tickets on the day of your event.
iPhone and Android Scanner Apps
Need an easy way to scan tickets at the door? Our free scanner apps are available for iPhone and Android.
Dancers use their craft to tell a story for the audience, projecting emotions, words and ideas with their movements. The ability to wordlessly translate their feelings for the crowd is a refined skill. Dancers need to use their whole bodies and the expressions on their faces to help convey the emotion of the moment. But with the bright, shining lights flooding the stage, it’s easy for dancers’ expressions to be washed out. That means the subtle nuances that are essential for setting the tone for their story to be over-looked. For younger dancers, having well-applied stage makeup for kids makes all the difference.
By highlighting dancers’ facial features, it makes it easier for the audience to see their expressions. It’s an important and long-standing tradition in the community for dancers to include stage makeup as a routine component of their costumes. This can be a little tricky when it comes to stage makeup for kids and young dancers, however.
Less Is More for Stage Makeup for Kids
While most young dancers haven’t yet mastered the proper expressiveness for their dance routines, stage makeup for kids and younger dancers is still usually required for performances. It makes them more visible for the audience and compliments the overall costumed look of a recital.
Though stage makeup still plays an important role in the presentation of young dancers, there are some differences in how their palettes should be applied. It’s not uncommon for moms and dads to have some reservations about putting a full adult-level application of makeup on their young children’s faces. As such, simplicity and minimalism are key strategies that many parents choose for their young dancers.
There’s no need to worry about intricate contours and layer upon layer of products for young dancers. The important step is to highlight their facial features so that they can be seen.
How to Apply Stage Makeup for Kids
Parents know their kids better than anyone else does, so they may be better equipped to gauge what their little ones can handle when for the patience and cautiousness that comes with a full face of makeup.
However, in most cases it’s better to wait until closer to showtime to apply makeup on young dancers. Since they aren’t used to having makeup on it may be easier for them to forget it’s there and inadvertently rub their faces, streaking mascara and lipstick as they go. While there’s no need to reach deep into the pockets to pay for top-shelf products for kids, some parents may want to invest in waterproof or smudge-proof cosmetics to prevent some of these accidents as well.
When applying makeup to a young dancer, it’s important to make sure they’re able to sit calmly and wait for the process to be over. Kids who fidget or are too excited for their show to sit still may need to have their makeup applied in stages so they can have a break to shake some of that energy out. It would be a good idea to have them wear an old shirt over their outfit during this process as well in case anything should spill.
After they are seated and ready to go, parents can begin to apply their stage makeup:
For foundation: Some parents may prefer to opt out of foundation. Check with the instructors to be sure, but most won’t require foundation for very young dancers. If you choose to go that route, however, that will be the first step.
Make sure the color matches your child’s skin tone. If she’s never worn makeup before, test the skin on the inside of her wrist to make sure she doesn’t have any allergies to the product. Use a makeup sponge to dab the foundation evenly across her face and neck once you’ve determined that it’s safe. Dance for Kids recommends going over a liquid foundation with a powder to help the foundation set and to avoid extra shininess under the stage lights.
For blush: Stage makeup for kids will be a little more dramatic than normal makeup, so the blush should be slightly more pronounced. Since kids tend to not have defined cheekbones, have your dancer smile the biggest, cheesiest smile she can, or else suck in her cheeks to make a fish face. This will help you find the apples of her cheeks. Swipe upwards toward the temples with a blush brush.
You’ll again want to verify with your child’s program to see how much eye makeup they prefer. Some will be fine with just a little eye shadow and mascara for young dancers. The most basic stage makeup for kids will include eyeliner.
For eye shadow: Choose a neutral color to highlight the brow bone first, or just focus on the lid. The lid color should be close to your dancer’s natural skin tone, just a few shades darker. For pale dancers that could mean either a tan or light grey, for example. Sweep a brush over the crease of her eyelid and blend down toward her lashes.
For eyeliner: The Champaign-Urbana Ballet recommends using eyeliner on the bottom and top lids to help emphasize the eye. Be aware that for young children a traditional pencil liner may be too hard for their delicate skin. Instead try a liquid or gel liner that has a soft applicator.
For mascara: Most mascara tubes have brushes that are too big for small eyelashes. Try finding a small sample- or travel-size mascara, or one that’s made for lower lashes. These will be smaller and more manageable on young faces. Many kids will be wary of having something so close their eyes. A good tip is to have them roll their eyes up at the ceiling while you apply the mascara, so they don’t see the wand so close to their eye.
To help keep lipstick from smudging, apply a primer or more foundation over her lips first.
For lipliner: Lipliner will help keep lipstick in place. Use a pencil liner that matches the lipstick shade to outline the edge of your dancers’ lips, then color in the rest of the lip.
For lipstick: Apply lipstick last and be sure your dancer blots with a tissue. Keep straws handy so she can sip on drinks without smudging her lipstick.
Only two weeks left to go before the recital – can you believe it? Your dancers are probably starting to feel some nerves, not to mention the stress you’re likely feeling as you run over in your head the zillion things you have to do before showtime.
Before you drive yourself crazy running around, take a breather and look at this checklist of the things you need to do over the next two weeks.
Host a Makeup Rehearsal
Whether it’s this week or next (before the dress rehearsal) make sure you hold a makeup and hair rehearsal for your dancers, and their parents if they want to join. A beauty rehearsal is a great way for novice dancers and the parents of younger students to practice how the makeup will be applied and how their hair will be styled. This way, you save the time going over the hair and makeup at the dress rehearsal, and there’s no panic-filled moments before the actual recital.
It’s not just the newbies that need a beauty rehearsal, though. According to Dance Informa, even the most experienced dancers should attend a makeup and hair rehearsal before the recital, since this helps the dancers make sure that their hair and makeup styles are uniform and coordinated with each other.
Have Recital Programs Submitted to the Printer
Recital programs are pretty much an expectation for dance recitals, as they help inform parents and patrons about the order of dances and the general timeline for the evening. At two weeks out, you MUST have your finalized program designs submitted to your printer to make sure:
You have a timely delivery of the final product
Any emergency issues can be resolved
Collect Pre-Orders of DVDs and Other Items for Dance Recitals
If you have the resources and manpower, it can be profitable to have a table at the recital selling performance DVDs, photos and other collectible items. However, collecting pre-orders a couple weeks before the event helps maximize profits and make sure every parent or dancer who wants the extras gets them. Send out emails and social media posts reminding parents to pre-order DVDs and other souvenirs and set a deadline for orders at least a week before the recital. You can use physical forms for orders, but online forms make things easy for both you and the parents.
Give Parents Detailed Drop-off/Pick-up Instructions
Dance Exec noted that it’s important that parents have detailed logistical information for the recital ahead of time. It’s a good idea to hold a pre-dress rehearsal meeting in addition to sending a detailed letter – over email is most convenient for the parents – that describes the drop-off and pick-up process, along with any reminders about ticket and DVD sales, costumes and other important dates and times, in addition to thorough directions to the venue if the recital is not held at your studio.
Need a letter or dance recital information sheet template? We’ve made an example sheet you can download and customize in Microsoft Word for your studio’s needs below:
Have “Day Of” Plans Finalized and Supplies Prepared
Two weeks before the recital – and in the week leading up to it – reach out to your volunteers to confirm that they will be helping out. Make sure you have enough volunteers to cover all duties. If not, you have time to recruit some last-minute helpers.
For some backstage organization ideas, check out this quick video:
Along the lines of volunteers, have all of your signs and backstage planning items printed/laminated/explained/etc. If you plan to have clear signs backstage that point to “Stage,” “Lobby,” “restrooms,” or particular areas of the backstage, have them done and checked off your list.
Michelle Spezio, director of Spezio’s Dance Dynamics in Buffalo, New York, shared a great tip with Dance Studio Life. She puts together boxes of frequently forgotten and emergency items like bobby pins, lip stick, hairspray, sewing kits, nail polish remover, tape, scissors and safety pins, and then places these boxes on either side of the stage and in dressing rooms. You should still remind dancers and their parents to bring their own back-up kits, but these boxes are much-appreciated insurance.
Recital season is an exciting time, but it can also be a cause of worry for parents. Recitals are typically, frenzied and fast-paced experiences, and parents may be a little weary of dropping their child in a chaotic situation. Here are some smart event safety tips to keep in mind this recital season:
Pack an Event Safety First Aid Kit
In addition to having a bag full of extra performance essentials, like bobby pins, hair spray and a spare pair of tights, you should also safety items, like Band-aids, Neosporin and wet wipes. Make sure you have a comprehensive first-aid kit on hand at the recital venue, too.
Make Sure Emergency Contact Info Is Up to Date
Emergency contact info is often a line parents quickly fill out without a second thought, but in the worst case that there ever is an actual emergency, this information will need to be up-to-date. In the weeks leading up to the recital, verify parent or guardian contact info and make sure it’s stored somewhere that’s easily and quickly accessible.
Do a Risk Assessment of the Venue
While you already have an overflowing to-do list to prepare for the recital, you must make time to do a risk assessment of the venue, noted the resource Safe Dance Practice. Tour the venue and note fire exits. You should also familiarize yourself with the venue’s emergency procedures, and alter them to fit the recital set-up if necessary. Record this information and make sure to share it with dancers, parents and all volunteers and studio staff members prior to the event.
Practice Safe Drop-off and Pick-Up Procedures
The nerves are flying before the curtain rises, but some of the most stressful times of a recital are when parents are dropping off and picking up their dancers. When you have a dizzying swarm of dancers coming and going or when you’re distracted by a million things all at once, it can be easy to lose sight of a dancer or not notice who came to get them.
There is software that you can purchase for checking in dancers, if you feel that it would help you organize the process better. Capterra noted that many check-in systems allow multiple ways to identify who is checking in, such as using the last name or phone number, or even a bar code. While software is not necessary, and may be beyond your resources, make sure you get the full name and contact info of the person who is checking in the dancer.
Think about what the best option is for check-out, too. You can have parents come directly to the dressing room during intermission or at the end of the show, or you can have a separate table staffed with volunteers to take the info of the family members picking up. Whatever you choose, make sure you fully brief the parents, dancers and volunteers on the event safety procedures.
On stage during a recital, audiences see the result of months of hard work. They watch in awe as your students dance gracefully and perfectly hit their choreography – hopefully. But what they don’t see is all the choreographed backstage management going on behind the scenes.
As any dance teacher knows, managing your dancers backstage can be rather stressful. With nervous kids – and teachers – costume mishaps and other various issues, keeping kids in line and focused can be a real headache.
Follow these tips for better backstage management at your studio’s next recital.
1. Practice Quick Costume Changes Ahead of Time
With your dancers performing multiple routines for one recital, they’ll need to be pros at quickly changing in and out of their costumes, along with any makeup or hair alterations. In reality, though, this isn’t always the case. To help them become better at changing quickly, have them practice switching costumes at the studio.
“Our students have 90 seconds between classes to change their shoes and be ready for the next class,” said Brandon Rios, artistic director of Old Dominion Performance Arts Studio in Virginia, in an interview with Dance Studio Life. “If they can get in the habit of changing quickly at the studio, they will be able to do it come performance day.”
So grab a stopwatch and time your dancers in the weeks leading up to the recital – the extra effort is worth it to save you and your dancers stress come performance time.
2. Repeat After Me: Stay in Your Designated Area!
Young kids have trouble staying put in general – add pre-performance anxiety to the mix, and you’ve got yourself some antsy dancers. Your students might also want to wander off to the audience area to chat with friends, or sneak down to the vending machine for a snack. Big no-nos. It’s important that your dancers stay put backstage. As Dance Advantage noted, you have a lot to manage and keep track of during the performance, and students wandering off means that they might miss their entrances or interrupt someone else’s, along with being a safety issue. So, pre-performance, drill into your students’ heads: stay in place!
3. Assemble a Super Team
There’s way to much going backstage for only you to be in charge, so you need to assemble a super team. Gather volunteers or other teachers and assign specific roles to them for the most seamless operation.
Carol Zee, artistic director of The Gabriella Foundation, told dance Studio Life that she assigns the following jobs: stage manager, on-deck supervisor, quick-change supervisor, stage left headset, stage right headset and dressing room monitors.
Looking for more tips on creating a great day-of recital experience? Check out these articles from guest blogger Misty Lown:
Your dancers could be able to perform their choreography perfectly in their sleep, but without volunteers, a recital just won’t be a success. There are so many moving parts involved with putting on a dance recital, from selling tickets to managing dancers backstage. The dancers, of course, are the stars of the show, but the event volunteers are the vital gears that turn to make the recital a true showstopper.
However, the combination of recruiting, organizing and handling volunteers during recital season is no easy matter. Maybe you have a hard time finding people interested in helping out, or conversely, maybe you have too many people lending a hand and don’t know how to effectively manage them all. And how do you make sure you make the experience enjoyable enough for volunteers that they’ll be eager to help out next year? Read on for some tips that will help you have success with recital volunteers this spring and beyond.
Who Makes the Best Event Volunteers?
Your first instinct might be to ask parents to work as volunteers at the recital. However, this approach can ultimately make the volunteer recruitment process more difficult for you. Parents already spend a large amount of money and time sending their students to your studio, noted studio owner Kathy Blake for DanceTeacher magazine, so it’s important to shift your idea of how parents can lend a hand.
The magazine suggested that you instead ask parents to be “parent helpers,” instead of traditional volunteers. Ask parents to help out with duties that involve helping get the kids ready for the show, since the fact that they get to watch their own children dance from the best seats in the house can be a big incentive for volunteering their time. Great jobs for parents include escorting the dancers to and from the stage or helping out with makeup and costumes.
For the rest of the volunteers that you’ll need, check in with community service organizers at local schools and community groups. Alumni of your dance studio also make great volunteers, since they already know the ins and outs of putting on a recital and are usually eager to return to the studio and see some friendly faces.
For all types of volunteers, the best recruitment approach is to spread the word that you need volunteers through multiple channels. Create an online form that parents and other individuals can fill out that includes what tasks they would be interested in doing, what hours they would be available and their contact information. Link to this form on your studio’s website, and send it to parents, alumni and other people who you think may be interested via email.
Also, be sure to take advantage of social media to spread the word that you are looking for volunteers for the upcoming recital. Create posts about how you’re looking for volunteers and encourage your followers to share them, recommended VolunteerSpot. And, as the recital approaches, make sure you send out reminders via email or even mobile to volunteers about their commitments.
Emphasize the Benefits
Recital season is incredibly stressful, but don’t forget that parents, friends and alumni are all dealing with their own busy lives. To successfully recruit – and retain – volunteers, it’s important to keep a positive, upbeat attitude. It makes the experience better for everyone! Begging for volunteers or saying negative statements like volunteering “isn’t really that bad” or that “it’s hard to get help” sends out bad vibes and may turn off some individuals from helping out, noted PTO Today.
Instead, make sure you emphasize the benefits of volunteering to help with the recital, like the fact that parents can have a larger role in the action and can watch their kids and that you’re all working together to help the hard-working dancers shine in the spotlight.
Recognize Your Event Volunteers
In addition to highlighting the positive aspects of volunteering, providing perks for helping out goes a long way. Blake suggested that studio owners give volunteers a small gift like a 10 percent discount off purchases in the dance shop or a free ticket to the recital. You could also offer discounts on photos or flowers, or gift cards to local restaurants, cafes or day spas. During the recital, make sure you have snacks, water and coffee available for volunteers and check in with them throughout the event.
And above all, make sure you thank them. Your event volunteers are doing you a huge favor by helping run your recital, so make sure you acknowledge that you appreciate their time and effort. After your dancers are done performing, you could call up the volunteers onto the stage to thank them, or consider sending out handwritten thank you cards as soon as possible after the event.
Taking the time to thank volunteers reinforces strong relationships and makes them feel more inclined to help out again at next year’s recital and other studio events.
You’ve spent the year planning a dance recital for your studio, and now, with one month left to go, everything is finally coming together. The next few weeks will bring a flurry of emails and phone calls and the time will pass by before you even realize it. It’s possible, however, to minimize stress and stay sane – the key is being organized and having a dance recital checklist.
One of the worst feelings is suddenly remembering that you forgot to pick up the costumes, enlist volunteers or take care of another vital task. The dance recital checklist below will help you make sure you stay on track with one month to go before the recital.
Check in With the Venue
If you are holding the recital at a venue other than your own studio, now is the time to check-in with them and confirm that the space will be yours for the recital and for any rehearsals. Verify the hours that you’ll need to use the venue, and make sure that you have secured sufficient space for dressing rooms and backstage areas and that there will be enough chairs for your audience and tables for selling flowers and other items.
You also should check that there is an easily accessible parking area for audience members, teachers, dancers and volunteers. Also, make a note of what you’ll need to bring with you for the performance, such as additional lighting and music systems.
Try on Costumes
The last things you want are uncomfortable dancers and curtain-call wardrobe surprises. Don’t wait until the recital gets closer – instead, have your dancers try on their costumes well before recital time to make sure they fit, recommended Crown Awards. Consider offering a “Costume Construction Day” for alterations or provide parents with the contact info of the seamstress so they can arrange any necessary alterations or tailoring if the fit should be improved before rehearsals. Also, check that each dancer has all the necessary accessories and a garment bag for transporting the costume to the dress rehearsal and recital.
Programs can be a hassle to put together, but if they include advertiser pages they can really help boost your business. One month before the recital, layout and print the programs. You can do this yourself on publishing software if you’re design-savvy, but otherwise, you can outsource the programs to an online company. When you receive the draft of the programs, triple-check for typos, misspelled names and other errors.
If you have money in your budget, hiring a professional designer to craft your recital programs is well worth the money, advised Dance Studio Life. This way, you can create custom ads for local businesses who want to be included in your program but don’t have an ad ready, and you can have a snazzy, high-quality program that you can sell as a keepsake.
Finalize Recital Add-ons
It’s important to figure out ahead of time what you will offer at the recital. Dance recital add-ons can be both a service to your dance families and a source of added income. The Dance Exec provided a helpful list of recital “extras” that you should consider: Logo t-shirts, posed and candid recital photos, flowers, trophies, stuffed animals and recital DVDs. If you haven’t already, decide whether you will hire a professional photographer and/or videographer to record the recital, and book them ASAP. Check out this post for tips on choosing the right photographer for your dance recital photos.
Distribute Recital Packets
There are so many details for dance families to remember – make it as easy as possible by providing a recital packet. Some of the information you might want to include is:
Posed/recital photo sessions/information
Recital day schedule/info, including drop-off/pickup information, parking, etc.
Cost of recital add-ons, and any related order forms
In addition to the packet itself, make use of email, text and social media reminders to keep your dance families informed. You may also want to hold a mandatory “recital meeting,” especially for new dance parents.
Want an easy template to start from? You can download our Sample Recital Detail Information template using the form below! It’s a Microsoft Word document, so you can edit the details according to your needs.
Take the time now to confirm that you have enough volunteers to help out with the recital – and recruit some if you discover you’re falling short. It’s easy to forget certain little jobs that need volunteers, so sit down and list out every aspect of the recital to make sure you’ve enlisted enough help. Do you have people to man the flower or recital DVD table? What about someone to help organize the dancers backstage? Someone to take tickets, give out the programs, or direct parking? Make sure you have all your bases covered!
Take Care of Yourself
With all the craziness that comes with recital season, you need to make sure you’re taking good care of yourself. Stay hydrated, get plenty of sleep and opt for convenient, healthy meals instead of fast food after late classes and client visits. You might think that feeling pulled in a million directions all at once is a normal feeling as the recital approaches, but neglecting your health only makes it more likely that you’ll wake up the morning of the recital with a throbbing migraine and a sore throat.
And if you’re feeling overwhelmed with stress, take a step back and remember – all the little details are fun, but the true value of planning a dance recital is that your dancers get to share their passion and hard work with loved ones and a community who cares.