If there’s something I’ve learned about recital programs over the past twenty-two years of owning a studio, it’s that a recital program can be so much MORE than a guide to the show! It can highlight your students’ achievements, congratulate them on an awesome season, display their photos, celebrate the community around your studio, and support other businesses in the neighborhood. It can also serve as a special memento, just like a school yearbook, that commemorates the whole studio’s accomplishments for the year.
The recital program at my studio has grown from a dozen cobbled-together pages in our first year to a sleek professional publication. Our team puts hours upon hours each season into its design and organization to make it a real WOW for our studio families. Even now that the digital era is here, our recital program is still considered by our families to be a cherished keepsake.
Your recital program serves that same purpose as a keepsake, whether you realize it or not! With that in mind, I wanted to share some of the ideas that have made our recital program a rousing success. Whether your current recital program is a simple series of photocopies or a magazine-style book, these ideas are intended to make you think about where you can make improvements, making your program truly Worthy Of Words!
Here are my 6 Ideas for Creating a WOW Recital Program:
Looking for more great ideas to create an amazing Recital Program? Check out the following articles:
Recital Season is upon us! For most dance studios, this is “the big game” in our industry. It is an opportunity to build community over a shared interest, celebrate your students’ progress, and impress your clients. There’s no better marketing tool than an efficient, polished, and purposeful recital experience!
In order to make it happen, you have to (1) be prepared in your organization and leadership, (2) you have to communicate expectations and standards in advance, and (3) you have to follow through.
Below are 3 tips that have helped us immensely in curating an amazing Recital Weekend Experience!
THE RECITAL ROOKIE
For many in the dance industry, the concept of a dance recital is second nature. This likely is not the case for the majority of your clients. Often, they are new to the recital experience, or at the very least, they may be new to your studio’s systems and processes.
Your clients are also probably busy and juggling a million things. They may miss an email, feel overwhelmed at the thought of making a bun, or misinterpret the correct way to put on a recital costume. That’s okay!
It is easy to react with frustration, but this season, shift the perspective and approach your clients with empathy and understanding. It will go a long way in building client loyalty!
We’ve helped educate Recital Rookies in the following ways:
Looking for more great ideas on how to Rock Your Dance Recital? Check out the following articles:
There is no doubt that this time of year for studio owners can be hectic and, let’s face it, a little crazy! With recital on the horizon, class placements being prepped, and audition details coming together, it’s not surprising that you may begin to physically feel the effects of stress of the busy season.
I went through far too many years of entrepreneurship knowing this season was coming and yet not quite preparing for it to the degree I should have! Now that I know better though, I do better. And one of the best ways I do better is by understanding that yes, it will be busy, and yes, I can still take good care of myself. And I encourage YOU to do the same!
It’s so easy to get swept up into stress and let it overtake your mindset. But you know what’s also pretty easy? Making a plan to relieve that stress by having a few simple tactics in your pocket. Here, I’m going to share my best tips for thriving in the busyness of your life. These are all things that help me tremendously at this time of year, and I hope they will serve you well too!
Here are my 5 Quick Ways to Recharge During the Busy Season:
Looking for more tips keeping your sanity through the busy season? Check out the following articles:
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.
Have you ever gotten to the day of recital and been surprised by something you know you could have prevented, if only you had prepared ahead of time? Yep, me too. I’ve been in those shoes before and boy do they hurt! With time and experience though, I’ve learned better tactics for planning out my dance recital day.
I distinctly remember this one dance recital moment early in my career as a studio owner when we had mounted an ambitious opening number to “Be Our Guest,” complete with seven-year-old tap dancing waiters! The first show went off without a hitch and so I didn’t check to see if all of the classes were in place for the second show. There we were, mid-production, with a faculty member gesturing to the side of the stage to usher in the waiters …. and NO WAITERS! You should’ve seen our faces of shock! We finished the dance, found the waiters, and ran the number again. And you can bet that’s an oversight I never made again.
While surprises will pop up, the best thing you can do to set yourself up for success is to plan your work and then work your plan. The effort you spend upfront will save you from mishaps, when the last thing you need is to put out one more fire (or find a class of missing waiters!).
Keep reading to learn 6 Steps to a Satisfying Dance Recital Day.
Are you looking for some more recital tips and ideas? Check out these other articles and resources from Misty:
We recently teamed up with Jackrabbit Dance for a webinar on how to produce a more profitable recital. Check out the recording above or read through the main points below for tips on how to financially improve your biggest production of the year!
Three BIG Ideas to Make Your Recital More Profitable
Is it okay to make money on your recital?
How do you collect money for your recital?
Recital fees: 38%
Ticket sales: 62%
Do you sell your tickets as reserved seating?
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.
Accept credit debit cards on-site at your event or studio.
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.
There’s nothing more satisfying than the feeling you get when your studio is thriving! When the hallways are buzzing and the classes are full, you feel such pride in having grown your business to a successful place. But it’s not all sunshine and daisies, of course. Success can also mean growing pains in every facet of your business—especially at recital time.
As your studio gains families and dancers, you will inevitably need to decide how to present your recital in the best way possible, which may mean adding shows as you grow. The single 90-minute performance that worked well five years ago might no longer be a reasonable option if you’ve doubled your student count since then. While there’s no magic enrollment number that equals two shows (or three or four!) there are certain factors you can consider in your planning process.
If you are at the tipping point, keep reading to learn about the four factors to consider when deciding whether to add a second show for your recital:
Are you looking for some more recital tips and ideas? Check out these other articles and resources from Misty:
The choreography is prepared, your technique is strong, and you have been rehearsing in preparation for your upcoming performance/competition. Go through this checklist and make sure you are applying the following ways to improve your dance routine(s).
Dance Routine Checklist
Perform! Have a backstory, and use your movement to convey a story.
Let your energy flow all the waythrough your fingers and toes. Don’t let your energy stop at your wrists or ankles.
Connect your transitions. Keep the “in-between” moments fluid and purposeful, as you transition from one important sequence to another.
Stretch, and elongate your lines to their fullest. Relax the shoulders, and don’t let yourself get tense!
Let your timing and musicality be second nature. Play your music on repeat until you know it by heart.
Keep the eyes up! Recognize when you have opportunities to connect with the audience, and use them to enhance your performance.
Strengthen your arms. Let them have as much purpose as your feet!
Confidently execute the movement. Know your weak sections and adjust/rehearse until they are no longer weak.
Perfect your turn preparation, execution, and landing.
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.
Once you complete your end-of-year show, you may have a few remaining souvenir merchandise items. If you are wondering what to do with them, here are some creative ways we make use of our leftover dance recital items!
Distribute A Copy to Advertisers
Save Copies to Promote Next Year’s Program
Place A Few In the Lobby for Reference
Frame the Cover for Display
Play in Your Lobby
Send to Prospective Clients for Reference
Recital-Specific T-Shirts or Clothing
Frame and Display in Your Lobby
Use As Summer Door Prizes
Replace the Show T-Shirt with a Logo T-Shirt and Include in Auction Baskets/Giveaways
Donate to children’s hospitals
Donate to preschools
Donate to elementary schools
Flowers or Flower Bouquets
Donate to a Nursing Home
Give extra flowers to your parent volunteers
Give flowers to any of the merchants you used for your recital (printers, caterers, venue management staff, etc)
There’s nothing like seeing a dancer’s joy after a successful recital! And having a great gift for them after the performance will make the night that much more special. Check out these 9 dance recital gift ideas your dancer will love!
1. Bouquet of Flowers
For many dancers, flowers after a performance are a sign not only of a job well done, but of recognition for all of the hard work they’ve put in throughout the year. Plus, a dancer in costume holding a beautiful bouquet makes recital pictures exciting and vibrant.
As far as what kind of flowers to include in your bouquet? That’s where you have the opportunity to make this gift extra special. Roses are a staple flower choice, and for good reason! But if you know your dancer likes a particular kind of flower, or you know a flower might have a special meaning, you can use this opportunity to customize the bouquet for your dancer.
After the recital? Take them out for some ice cream!! Or include gifts like candy, chocolates, and other treats the dancer can enjoy. You can even make a tradition of going out for ice cream after dance performances, so the whole family can celebrate the big night.
3. Dance-Themed Jewelry
Dance is a part of who dancers are, and so giving them a gift that reminds them of their talents and passions will be that much more meaningful. Think about getting a dancer a personalized necklace, set of earrings, or other piece of jewelry to remember their achievements, and to create a beautiful memory for this particular recital!
4. Charm Bracelet Tradition
We mention charm bracelets separately from jewelry, because a charm bracelet is the start of tradition instead of a single gift. By giving a dancer a charm bracelet, you can then buy a new charm for the dancer after big recitals, competitions, or other dance events. That way, they can look back and remember all of the amazing memories from dancing throughout their life.
5. Studio Swag
When dancers performs on stage, they’re acting as ambassadors for the studio. The teachers who have worked with them care a lot about their development as both dancers and people. So, help your dancers show off some studio pride with studio-branded items!
What you get your dancer depends on what your studio currently offers as merchandise. But, if you and a group of parents get organized ahead of time, you can work with your studio to produce a custom piece of swag (like a recital-specific shirt, or jacket, or other item) so your dancer always remembers this recital!
6. The Gift of Comfort
At the end of the day, dancing is work. Those dancers on stage have tired feet, tired muscles, and could use a little rest and relaxation after the recital is over. Consider giving dancers comfort items like:
7. Summer Dance Prep
More serious dancers know that dance never stops – after a big show, it’s time to take a break before getting back into training mode and getting better and better every day! If your dancer plans on continuing to dance over the summer, think about getting them some new dance gear that will help them on their dance journey.
This might be a new pair of sweats, warm-up gear, or a new dance bag as a reward for their previous hard work, and a sign of your continued support for their art. Plus, with a little preparation, you can even add some dance studio designs to personalize the gift!
8. Picture Frame
Recitals are events that create long-lasting memories, and what better way to capture that memory than by framing a beautiful recital picture? Dancers will appreciate a nice frame for their recital photos, and can decorate their room, locker, or future dorm with a memory of their friends and mentors.
9. Feeling Ambitious and Creative? A Dance Scrapbook
Just like a picture frame can help capture an important memory, a scrapbook can show a collection of memories, and can also help your dancer remember their dance journey over the course of a whole year. When the next dance season begins, go out of your way to start taking pictures of the dance class, competitions, dress rehearsals, and compile those pictures into an amazing scrapbook for your dancer!
VERY IMPORTANT: ask your studio for permission to be taking pictures! For example, you shouldn’t be taking pictures at recital. But, with permission, maybe you can take a picture or two at the dress rehearsal? The same goes for competitions. And always remember, no flash!!
We hope these ideas have been helpful! Leave us a comment with any other suggestions for gift ideas your dancers have loved in the past!
At your performances, pre-show announcements regarding safety, etiquette, and intermission should be conveyed to your audience members. You may choose to deliver the announcements on stage, from backstage, or via a pre-recorded message.
General Pre-Show Announcements Template
ProduceAPlay.com had a great template for a standard announcement for the performing arts:
“Welcome to the Sidewalk Studio Theatre’s production of Milk and Cookies by Jonathan Dorf.
At this time, please turn off or silence any cell phones or electronic devices and refrain from texting, and please keep in mind that recording the performance or taking photographs is not permitted.
There will be one fifteen-minute intermission, and next month, we hope you’ll join us for our production of Great Expectations, adapted from the Dickens classic by Rocco P. Natale.
In case of an emergency, please exit through the door through which you entered, or through the curtain to your left. Thank you, and enjoy the show!”
The language can be customized for your studio. Produce A Play is clearly geared towards a drama production, not a dance recital, but they nail some of the basic information to include:
Welcome and Introduction to the evening
Cell Phone / Photography / Recording
Information about the order of events (this may already be in the program, but it’s often worth it to mention it again)
Announcement about any other dance studio events coming up
Emergency exits or other emergency information
This year, we are going to start our show with our Opening Number (in order for the audience to be attentive), and THEN we’ll play the pre-show announcements. This method also helps us facilitate some quick changes before the second piece!
Thanks to the new TutuTix POP app, dance studios can now accept credit card payments AT their recitals. POP makes it easier for dance families to make purchases at events, and can help generate extra income for studios. If you haven’t been able to accept credit cards in the past, or you’d like a simpler, low-cost way to accept credit cards and collect sales proceeds, take a look at these 5 ways you can now offer more to your dance families.
Dance studios who use TutuTix offer tickets to dance recitals online, letting family and friends of dancers purchase tickets ahead of time, without having to wait in line on ticket day. But, sometimes those family members and friends aren’t able to get tickets early, and instead need to purchase them on the evening of the event.
Now they don’t need to show up with cash in order to see their favorite dancers perform. The TutuTix POP app will simply scan their credit card, and you can give them a beautiful TutuTix ticket with their seat number for the evening.
Many studios offer packages prior to the recital that include flowers for dancers following the performance. But, depending on the studio, flowers might instead be offered for sale at the venue at the performance itself.
Just like tickets, dance studios can now receive credit card payments for flowers, making it that much easier for dancers to be celebrated after the finale.
Branded Dance Studio Merchandise
When we say merchandise we’re thinking:
And whatever other merchandise your studio has to show off some dancing spirit! A dance recital is the perfect time to set up a merchandise table, since family and friends will be excited about the event. Attendees are likely to see merchandise on the day of the event and buy items as gifts for their dancer.
Plus, you want your dancers wearing some studio swag around over the summer! Branded clothing items and other merchandise are a great way to get some word-of-mouth marketing for your studio going around in the local community.
Souvenirs (like DVDs)
Besides merchandise, souvenirs act more like memories of the event, and might include items like DVDs, photo packages, or souvenir playbills.
With TutuTix, you can offer packages for items like these before the recital itself that include bundled items, including a ticket to the event.
However, you can also take orders for DVDs or sell printed programs at the event, and can now accept credit cards for these higher-ticket items! Souvenirs can be a special way to remember a big performance, and by accepting credit cards you offer one more way for family to go home and receive a DVD of the evening’s dances.
Depending on the venue in which your studio performs, you may or may not be able to sell concessions during the performance. For those venues that do allow concessions, being able to accept credit cards can be a great solution if there isn’t an ATM nearby.
Some of the most common buyers of concessions are dance parents who may have arrived a little earlier in the evening to drop off their dancer on time, but haven’t had a chance to get dinner! If your venue allows concessions, they can be a big lifesaver for your dance parents.
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.