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 some 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 that time of year again: time for studios to showcase their students’ talent and put on a big show! And like any big event, there are bound to be a few (sometimes unwelcome) surprises. So it’s best to be prepared and in good spirits! Prepare your dancers for whatever situation might come up during a dance recital with the following tips.
1. Costume Issues
Whether it’s something relatively minor like a run in someone’s tights, or something more perilous like a broken strap, be prepared with a performance survival kit. You’ll want to have extra tights, shoelaces, bra straps and double-sided tape, a multipurpose tool to tighten taps, and any other items you need for potential repairs.
Hopefully you’ll be able to check the status of everyone’s costume during dress rehearsal, but it’s best to prepare your dancers in case a problem arises during their performance. For minor problems, coach them to keep performing – it will be more distracting if they try to fix the problem mid-dance. If you are truly concerned about how well a costume will hold up, have them wear a nude leotard as a base layer.
iSport’s Ballet section included a list of potential costume malfunctions that might come up, with some great solutions and tips to keep dancers dancing.
2. Stage Fright
Sometimes, dancers can get nervous – especially your youngest students! Make sure that everyone has had a chance to rehearse in the performance space. If you can simulate the performance experience by letting fellow dancers/staff act as an audience, even better. That way, you can encourage your dancers by reminding them that they CAN do their recital piece in front of a crowd – they already have!
Hand-in-hand with pre-show butterflies are those moments on stage where a dancer might draw a blank and forget the next step. Many of us have experienced this firsthand, and know how upsetting it can be!
Dance Advantage recommends reminding dancers that they have practiced the routine, and know them so well that muscle memory will kick in once they relax! Encourage them by reminding them that they have prepared for this day, and if they focus on the dance and enjoy the moment, they will be fine! If they do happen to miss a step, coach them to jump right back into the dance, and shake off the mistake – learning to recover from a misstep is an important part of being a performer.
4. Makeup Mishaps
Makeup is just as important as the rest of the costume! And applying dance recital makeup is tricky, no matter how many years a performer has been dancing.
For younger performers, it’s best to let a parent volunteer apply the makeup AND be ready to clean up a smudge or other problem that comes up. If they need help, you can refer those parents to our guide on applying dance makeup to younger dancers.
For older performers, who might do their own makeup or may need to quickly make an adjustment in-between pieces, emphasize that the dance is key. Their dance recital survival kit should equip them with the critical Q-tip or baby wipe to adjust a smudge. But if they have long lashes that are threatening to block vision or throw them off, lose them and make sure the piece takes precedence!
We found a few great ideas at Dance Spirit for some “recital rescues” like addressing stained quick change clothes, or fast makeup solutions.
5. Music Woes
Music malfunctions can catch even the most experienced performers off guard. For older performers who may be able to more easily recover from a music glitch, encourage them to continue to perform if a sound issue arises. For younger dancers, instruct them to pay attention to their teacher, who hopefully is stationed nearby and can guide them in the event of a technical problem in the performance hall.
6. Unfamiliar Environment
As we mentioned above, it’s critical that performers be given a chance to rehearse in the performance space. Letting dancers acclimate to the stage, lighting, sound, etc. can go a long way towards alleviating related issues.
There are other environment-related considerations, however. Especially for younger or less-experienced performers, the dance recital day can be overwhelming due to the sheer number people, level of noise and change in environment. Experienced studio owner Misty Lown has some great tips on managing your backstage area in a way that creates a positive environment conducive to the success of your dancers.
It’s biggest day of the year for your families. If your students are like mine, they are raring to go! And it’s easy to see why when you consider all of the hard work they have put in over the past year preparing for recitals:
30+ weeks of lessons
2-3 minutes of choreography for each dance
Costume measurements, fittings, exchanges and alterations
Group photos, recital tickets and t-shirts, flower orders and more!
In fact, for every minute of a dance that appears on stage, an average of 100 HOURS of preparation has already been put in before one sequin ever hits the stage. But before you sign off on your dance recital prep, I want you to put ONE MORE HOUR to make sure your recital day is GREAT.
Keep reading for 8 last-minute dance recital prep tips that will ensure you have the best recital day yet!
Schedule a production meeting with your staff
Communication is key to a successful show. Getting your staff together for a final round of show notes, last minute lineup changes and planning for prop transitions will help to avoid surprises during the show. This is also a great time to thank them for all of their hard work to remind them of the positive impact they will have on so many children on show day.
Assign specific staff duties
Make sure your team knows where every staff member should be and what they should be doing during pre-show, backstage, finale, dancer pick up and post-show clean up. Post these assignments backstage and provide printouts for each teacher.
Create signage to dressing and audience areas
Nothing makes parents more anxious on show day than not knowing where to go or feeling like they might arrive late. Help parents get their dancers to the appropriate pre-show gathering place by providing signage and friendly staff/crew members to personally guide the way.
Prepare info-boards for each staff member
Equip your team for success by giving them a clipboard for each show containing all all pertinent show information. Be sure to include all costume information for each class as new parents are likely ask ANY staff member for help, not just their own teacher.
Identify quick changes or back-to-back numbers
Notify back stage crew of any tight spots in show flow that may require changes backstage. Prepare the emcee ahead of time to plan on engaging the audience a little longer between numbers in the event you have back-to-back numbers for any dancers.
Build a backstage entertainment kit
Keep little ones busy while waiting for their turn including non-messy snacks, coloring books, movies and games. Parents will be more confident leaving their little ones in dressing rooms with your staff if they know they will be entertained while waiting for their turn to dance.
Coordinate a backstage show for the little ones
Giving the older students an opportunity to run dances before they hit the stage can double as entertainment for little ones waiting to dance. We call it the “backstage recital”!
Equip your staff to be able to figure things out
We have a saying at recital that says everything is “figure-out-able”. This means that my team has to ability to solve problems in all situations. Lost shoes? We can borrow from someone else? Costume left at home? We can put that dance later to give Dad time to run home? Communicate now that everything is “figure-out-able” if you work together.
Are you looking for some more recital tips and ideas? Check out these other articles and resources from Misty:
Literally speaking, producing a recital is the act of looking back and showing what you have learned or accomplished over the course of a school year. It’s all about making great memories that can be enjoyed for years to come. The whole recital experience is full of memory-capture elements such as the recital program book, the celebratory trophy, the annual t-shirt and the commemorative DVD and group photos.
In fact, if you really think about it, most of what we promote at recital celebrates what has already been DONE. Today I hope to convince you that we should be spending as much, if not more time, promoting what IS TO COME at our spring shows.
Don’t miss promotional opportunities at your recital this year.
Keep reading for 5 ways you can serve your audience by promoting what’s coming up at your studio at recital 2017.
The captive audience
Marketers know the best audiences are captive audiences. As a dance studio owner you have better than a captive audience. You have a captive and INTERESTED audience. Consider the other places that companies try to market to captive audiences: taxi cab screens, bus ads, airplane commercials and posters in waiting rooms. Even the backs of bathroom doors in restaurants have become the target of ad placement! Take advantage of the fact that you have a captive AND interested audience by promoting things they might be interested in at your show.
The recital program book
The recital program book has a long shelf life. Not only is it read by many of the attendees for much of the show (i.e. pretty much anytime the dancer they came to see is not on stage), but it is likely to stay on the kitchen table for weeks to come. Placing promotions for summer and fall classes throughout your program book is a great way to get parents and grandparents thinking of the next thing their dancers can sign up for. Be sure to include an easy link to sign up and don’t be surprised if you actually receive a registration at intermission.
The pre-show video
I was recently teaching for a convention that had a high energy announcement video playing on a loop before the showcase began. One of the prompts in the video was a reminder to sign up for nationals as well as an announcement of the next season’s event dates. The video gave us something to focus on while waiting for the show while informing us of how to take the next step with the convention. So guess what I did? I ordered a video and looked up their summer camp info. Their promotion definitely worked on me (and I was on staff!)
The on-stage announcement
Whether you do your own announcements or hire an emcee to play host at your recital, close the show by thanking the families for their participation. Enthusiasm for dance will be at an all time high immediately following the success of recital. Ride the momentum by inviting kids back to the studio in the week after recital for auditions, placements, parent-teacher conferences or registration for fall classes. And, yes, do it right from the stage as a small part of your closing comments.
The follow up thank you
Immediately after recital parents should get an email (or better yet a text) with a short, but heartfelt appreciation for their hard work and dedication. Include a link to sign up for next year’s classes or to audition for teams for upcoming season. Make it easy by writing the thank you a week ahead of time and them scheduling the delivery for an hour after the show. Don’t worry if you are not tech-savvy. There are several email or text service providers that can do this for you. All you have to do is write a few sentences from the heart and provide a link.
Promoting at recital doesn’t have to feel sales-y. Promoting what you provide for kids and informing them how they can take them next steps at a time when they are most interested in learning more is SERVICE.
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.
Planning as it relates to students and families:
Schedule a photo day for groups (and individuals if necessary).
Begin rehearsals for any specialty dances such as Daddy Daughter, Opening Number, Finale or any dance involving new, or large, props.
Make a last call for rehearsal CDs or practice videos.
Make a last call for ads and corrections to the recital program book.
Place an additional order for tights, shoes and undergarments for those who outgrow or lose theirs before the show.
Distribute information regarding how families can order or receive recital videos.
Host a “Costume Construction” and “Hair and Makeup Day” where you provide assistance with alterations and where older company members can teach younger dancers how to do their hair and makeup.
Announce “In-Studio Dress Rehearsals” where students will do a full run through in costume, hair and makeup right in the studio during the last week of classes. This allows all costume questions to be addressed before heading into “Stage Dress Rehearsals” and saves valuable time on stage.
Distribute all pertinent information regarding “Stage Dress Rehearsals” including rehearsal times, costume items needed, makeup and arrival and pick up instructions.
Coordinate any extra rehearsals for classes that may behind on choreography at this point or classes that may be combined due to low enrollment.
Planning as it relates to staff and teachers:
Finalize the show order and copy edit the recital program book one more time so that the files can be sent to the printer.
Order recital t-shirts for all those who pre-ordered, plus a 20% overage for interest that will surely come up at the show.
Have a planning meeting with teachers to coordinate backstage roles and responsibilities for staff and crew.
Have a meeting to set expectations and provide training for ushers, parent volunteers and child care helpers.
Plan activities to keep kids entertained backstage such as coloring supplies, games, movies.
Establish a clear system for dancer drop off and pick up.
Make name badges for staff and order recital crew t-shirts. Communicate dress code expectations for staff regarding rehearsals and recitals.
Make signage for venue. A “Dancers: This Way –>” sign will give first time families a sense of belonging and direction as soon as they get to the theater.
Make reservations for sub sandwiches or other meal options to be delivered to the theater on heavy rehearsal nights or show days for your staff.
Assemble an emergency kit for the theater including first aid supplies and extra safety pins, bobby pins, hair spray and makeup. We also include shout wipes, a sewing machine and a steamer.
Planning as it relates to vendors, community partners and venue:
Email tech sheets to the theater including headcounts, entrance and exit information, costume descriptions, music files and lighting requirements for each number.
Finalize any music licensing or insurance certificates needed for rehearsals and recitals with the appropriate agencies.
Arrange for a local flower company to sell flowers at the show.
Arrange for delivery of recital t-shirts and program books directly to the venue.
Order any other recital swag you may be interested in selling or providing, such as recital bears, bracelets, trophies, awards or “Step and Repeat” banners for the lobby.
Get a report from TutuTix regarding your ticket sales and make a decision about what you want to do with unsold tickets. We donate a percentage of our unsold tickets to students at the Boys and Girls Club and Big Brothers, Big Sisters each year. Senior citizens also appreciate the opportunity to see a show.
Send invitations to important community leaders encouraging them to come see the big show and celebrate the accomplishments of the students.
Submit a press release to your local media outlets and community calendars.
Hire a photographer to take shots during rehearsal or recital that can be used at a later date for publicity or marketing for your studio.
Write thank yous and put together care baskets now for your those who will be helping you to put on an amazing show for kids and community.
Do you have other ideas? Please send your ideas to MistyLown@gmail.com. I would love to hear what you do at your studio! Blessings for a GREAT show!
Download a printable version of the Studio Owner Dance Recital Checklist here:
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:
Tell your story
The recital is a great opportunity to tell your story either in a welcome letter at the beginning of your recital program book or laced throughout the show announcements. For example, if one of your core values is being family-friendly, take time to highlight some of the ways a studio becomes like family. Ideas include having seniors share what it meant to them to grow up at the studio or including quotes from parents and students in your program book. If academic achievement is one of your core values, take time to highlight how your the discipline of dance is helping your students to achieve in the classroom.
Go full service
There are a lot of details that go into planning recital including rehearsal times, picture information, show details, costume instructions and hair/makeup directions. While it’s important to have all information on a master document, it’s even better to deliver JUST the necessary information so that parents, especially first time parents, don’t have to wade through hundreds of lines of information just to find the few details that apply to them. Whether you present this info digitally or a hand out, parents will appreciate this concierge approach.
Greet them at the door
Nothing says “We’re happy you are here!” like actually having someone at the front door of rehearsal and recital actually greeting families in person. At rehearsals we have a rotating team of teachers greeting students at the door and showing them where to go. At recital, our teachers move from the greeter position to the backstage and dressing posts and I take the lead on greeting families. Every year I hear from families, especially new ones, how nice it is that the studio owner is accessible. Recital is likely the only time of year you will see every parent in one weekend so this is your chance to get personal and thank them for being part of your program.
Double down on details
Over the nineteen years I’ve had my studio I have found that more parents arrive at our rehearsals and shows each year with less preparation. We do our best to combat this trend on the front side with great information, but still we will have parents show up to rehearsal without the proper tights and costumes that need attention. We’ve turned this trend into an opportunity to serve families and provide some WOW with our “Emergency Table.” The emergency table is a place where we can solve most of the common problems of rehearsal and recital. We have a sewing machine, a steamer, extra tights, shoes and makeup. If it’s broken or they haven’t bought it yet, we can fix it. Our Emergency Table has saved a lot of tears over the years.
Adopt the phrase: “Everything is figure-out-able”
Even with the best of planning you are going to run into issues once the curtain goes up, so have your team adopt the mentality that “everything is figure-out-able!” Did a child forget their shoes? No problem, we can borrow a pair from another student. Missing headpiece? No worries, we can come up with a solution. Did something major happen backstage? No need to stop the show if you can calmly switch the order of a couple of dances. Issues and challenges that happen backstage should never become the audience’s worry. Just remember, “everything is figure-out-able”!
So give these a try! Make the most of a marketing opportunity that you already have and create an even better recital day for your dance families.
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.
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…)
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 (hopefully) few or no questions 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 the rest of the dancers in the group.
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.