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Tag: dance recital

Dance Recital Organization Tip: Laundry Baskets

dance recital organization

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…)

Makeup kit

Healthy snacks in a ziplock bag

General dance accessories in a ziplock bag (hair ties, bobby pins, deodorant)

dance recital organization

What else do dancers bring with them backstage that could fit in your new dance recital organization invention?

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Three BIG Ideas to Make Your Recital More Profitable

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.

  1. Three BIG Ideas to Make Your Recital More Profitable

  2. 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…

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

    1. Better experience for the ticket buyer = higher perceived value.
    2. Offer perks for more loyal families.
    3. Increases urgency to get the ticket = you get the money in hand sooner.
  6. 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!

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

    1. Invite “warm” prospects to your recital
    2. Donate tickets to community charities
    3. Leverage local schools / end of year activities
  9. Recap

    1. BUNDLE and sell online
    2. Manage your INVENTORY wisely
    3. Use your recital to GENERATE LEADS

    So you want to sell tickets and merchandise online—now what?

  10. TutuTix: The Easiest Way to Sell and Distribute Tickets to Your Dance Performances

  11. 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:

    1. Your event info
    2. The ticket prices
    3. The date you want your tickets to go on sale
    4. 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.

  12. 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:

    1. Reserved seating, general admission and mixed reserved/general seating.
    2. Promo codes, discount codes and comps.
    3. Password-protected onsales.
    4. Shopping cart for multiple performances or merchandise sales.
  13. How It Works: Step 2 – Patrons Buy Tickets

    When your tickets go on sale, your patrons can buy them:

    1. Online at tututix.com/yourstudioname
    2. On their mobile devices
    3. On your Facebook page
    4. From our toll-free call center
  14. 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.

  15. How It Works: Step 2 – We Deliver Tickets

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
  16. You Get Paid Weekly

    We deposit ticket proceeds into your account weekly, giving you the flexibility to use those funds when you need them.

  17. Souvenir Tickets

    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.

  18. 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!

  19. Door Ticket Kit

    Our FREE door ticket kit makes it easy to sell any remaining tickets on the day of your event.

  20. 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.

  21. Want to Learn More?

    Send us your questions at tututix.com/contact-us. If you’re ready to get started, simply fill out our easy online sign-up form.

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Stage Makeup for Kids: How to Do Recital Makeup on Young Dancers

Applying stage makeup for kids and younger dancers requires a slightly different approach. Here are some tips on appropriate stage makeup for young dancers!

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:

The Face

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.

The Eyes

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.

The Lips

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.

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Dance Recitals: Checklist for 2 Weeks Out

dance recitals

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:

  1. You have a timely delivery of the final product
  2. 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.

Need a quick backstage organization tip? Laundry baskets.

Put Together Supply Boxes

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.

 

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Event Safety: Dance Recital Safety Tips

event safety

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.

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Backstage Management: 3 Tips for Organizing Dancers Backstage

backstage management

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:

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Event Volunteers: Recruiting and Managing Help for Your Dance Recital

event volunteers

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.

Recruit Strategically

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.

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Planning A Dance Recital: 4 Weeks Away From the Big Show

planning a dance recital

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.

Prepare Programs

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:

  • Rehearsal information
  • Posed/recital photo sessions/information
  • Recital day schedule/info, including drop-off/pickup information, parking, etc.
  • Costume reminders/information
  • Cost of recital add-ons, and any related order forms
  • Information about remaining volunteer needs/perks

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.

dance recital information

Confirm Volunteers

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.

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Backstage Management Tools for Dance Recitals

Backstage Management Tools for Dance Recitals

As a studio owner, I have three lists running in my brain at all times. I’m always asking myself the following three questions:

What needs to be done today?
What needs to be done in the next 2-6 months?
What can I make for dinner without going to the store?

(Not kidding on that last one. Anyone whose business is open almost exclusively nights and weekends is sure to have some challenges in the getting-dinner-on-the-table department!)

But, back to practical things. It’s the second week of March, so while our bodies are busy distributing recital costumes and getting ready for competition, our minds are on RECITAL. And, a great show from the audience perspective is dependent on having an awesome act backstage.

Are you gearing up for recital? Keep reading for 5 Backstage Management Tools to make your backstage flow smoothly this year for all ages!


  1. Entertainment reigns supreme for little ones.  
    At our recital, we run different types of activities to keep little kids entertained backstage. First are the quiet hands-on activities such as drawing, reading and making crafts. When the attention for crafting wanes, we watch a bit of a movie. Nothing lasts more than 20 minutes, so we rotate activities often.
  2. Manage quick changes for really little ones by using “shape cards.”  
    It was a real “a-ha” moment for me as a teacher when I realized that the reason our little kids couldn’t keep track of their things backstage was because they couldn’t read yet. Now we line up their shoes, accessories and costume changes on easy to identify “shape cards.” Three- and four-year-olds may not be able to read name labels, but they won’t forget their items are on the card shaped like a sunshine! Other shapes include rainbows, stars, clouds, animals and more. Get creative. Kids love picking out their “shape cards!”
  3. Have a backstage “show.” 
    Our younger dancers wait for their turn in the show in a large room just off the true backstage area. We take advantage of the generous space by having older girls practice their dances in front of the little ones backstage before they hit the big stage. This serves two purposes: First of all, you don’t want the first time that your older students run their choreography that day to be on the stage. The backstage “show” takes care of this. Second, the little kids don’t ever really get a sense of how amazing it is to be in your studio’s production if they only see the stage for a few minutes during the entire show. Sharing dances helps the little ones see a mini-version of recital and increases their understanding of the bigger picture.
  1. Have a code word, hand signal or rhythm clap for getting attention.  
    All of our students know that when they hear the iconic “clap, clap, clap clap clap,” it’s time to listen. The students repeat the clap pattern in a call-and-response fashion followed by silence. If your waiting area is too close to the stage for rhythm claps, consider having a hand signal for silence. We use the “quiet fox,” which is a hand signal where the third and fourth finger touch the thumb and the pinky and pointer go up for the fox’s ears. If a teacher puts up her fox, it’s a race to see how quickly the kids can put up their foxes as well. The “quiet fox” was intended for little ones, but I think the older ones get more of a kick out of it than the little ones do.
  2. Keep performers moving “stations and checkpoints.”  
    Another go-to that we use backstage with all age groups is “stations and checkpoints.” Students stay in their dressing room until called by the stage manager. From that point they go to a costume checking station where everyone is checked for accessories, correct shoes, clean tights and tidy hairstyles. If anything needs attention it is taken care of before hitting the true backstage area. Next, they are “in the hole,” which is the area just outside the backstage followed by “on deck,” which is true backstage or side stage. And then, it’s time to dance on stage! The whole process is both very orderly and anticipation-building for the dancers.

Do you have a great tool for backstage management? I’d love to hear  from you in the comments below.

Merde! 

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Dance Recital Stress? Great Ways For Dancers To Relieve Stress Before A Recital

Dance Recital Stress? The Fastest Ways To Relieve Stress Before A Recital

Most dancers know that dance recitals can be stressful. They’re a culmination of a dancer’s hard work all season. They’ll put in endless hours to practice their performances to make sure they nail every move perfectly. However, when the day of the recital finally arrives, you’re still uncertain whether you’ll be able to perform every single step perfectly. What if something goes wrong? What if your music skips or your costume tears? So what are you to do? Consider these five tips on how to relieve your dance recital stress as quickly as possible.

1. Talk To A Friend

One of the fastest ways to reduce anxiety and lower your heart rate is to talk to a friend, Helpguide.org noted. Having a light, easy conversation can help distract you from overreacting to any type of stressful event, including dance recitals. Talking to someone you know and trust can make you feel safe and comfortable, allowing you to relax and forget your worries about dancing. Usually this feeling of safety is subconscious, which is why it’s so effective. The body will pick up on nonverbal cues, such as a smile, a hug or another warm gesture and begin to relax in that person’s presence. However, this interaction should be be in-person in order to work, so  calling up your best friend who isn’t attending the show might not have the same effect.

2. Meditate And Walk

Meditating and walking is a fast and easy trick that only takes four minutes to complete, Real Simple magazine noted. The act of doing both at the same time helps distract the brain from the stressful event at hand and instead focus on the present, which allows dancers to lower their blood pressure and helps them gain clarity before hitting the stage.

A few minutes before your performance, inhale and take four steps forward. Then, exhale and take another four steps. Repeat the process and add a few steps in each time. Try to complete this exercise in at least three minutes. The longer you do it, the better off you’ll be. Regulating your breathing is one of the easiest ways to reduce your stress and steady your heart rate, reducing amount of the hormone cortisol that is released. This exercise is perfect if you’re sitting in the hallway or a back room waiting to go on stage.

3. Have Some Dark Chocolate

When you’re stressed, you might begin to eat everything in a desperate attempt to soothe your nerves. Of course, eating the wrong things could cause you to feel bloated and possibly give you an upset stomach before the show. Instead of eating anything within reach, grab a bar of dark chocolate, Health magazine suggested. Believe it or not, this sweet is known for its stress-relieving properties. Dark chocolate isn’t very high in sugar, which can actually make you feel more anxious. Studies have shown that it can help lower the levels of cortisol running through your body, making you feel calmer.

4. Step Outside

If you’re really feeling overwhelmed watching dancers practice and get ready around you, simply step outside for a moment. Getting some fresh air and taking a few deep breaths can help you relax, feel calm and allow you to forget about those small worries. Don’t have a minute to go out? Bring along a little lavender or lavender oil, which is a proven elixir for stress relief and can help regulate your immune system and bring it back to normal levels.

5. Listen to Calming Music

If you’ve got a little time to burn before you strut your stuff, listen to some music with a calm, relaxing melody. Find a quiet space away from the din of the recital and drift away to the soothing music. Research has shown that when people listen to calming music, their brain waves will align with slow rhythm and immediately cause you to relax.

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6 Tips for Dancers: Surviving Dance Recital Week

dance recital week

Recital week can be an exciting time, but it can also be very stressful. Between the constant travel and hoping to look your best during every performance, things can get exhausting quickly. Luckily, there are a few simple ways to get through this stressful time of the year. These tips and tricks can help your dance recital week seem like a breeze, instead of an anxiety-ridden event. Consider these suggestions on how to survive dance recital week.

1) Plan Ahead

Plan, plan, plan ahead! Begin setting aside items that you’ll need for the recital, but won’t need to use the week before. That could be pieces of costumes, hair accessories, shoes, makeup and so on. Beginning to pack this far in advance means that you won’t be scrambling at the last minute trying to get things together for your show or series of shows. Instead, you can calmly grab your bags and head to the studio.

2) Label Everything

When you’re packing, you don’t want to get confused or mix things up. That’s why it’s critical to create categories and sections for all of the pieces you need for recital week. Once you’ve got your costumes and essential items organized, labeling them is just as important. Label each with your name and the purpose of the item. You may even want to go as far as listing the recital number as well as your personal phone number. This is a good idea in case you lose your bag or leave it somewhere and another person finds it. That way they can call you and hopefully you can get it before the show!

3) Make Copies of Your Rehearsal Schedule

Rehearsals are just as important as the recital themselves. After all, what’s more important than making sure you completely have the steps down for your routine? Once you get your rehearsal schedule from your teacher, look it over several times to make sure you know where and when you are rehearsing for the dance recital, and write down the schedule in your planner.

If you don’t know these details, you might get distracted and forgot or accidentally arrive at the wrong studio, causing you to be late for the rehearsal and potentially ill-prepared. Though these schedules can seem overwhelming, as you may have several practices in a row before the actual performances, they are critical to you doing well.

Bringing extras can help you be your best on stage. Having extra dance essentials on hand helps ensure that your focus stays where it needs to be—on your performance.

4) Bring Extras

It’s always wise to bring extras of things. That way, if you lose one item, you can quickly grab the backup. Also, recitals can be an exciting time, but they can also be unpredictable. You may not anticipate that your tights will rip or the straps to your dress will come loose, but they might. Keeping an extra pair of tights and some safety pins on hand can help alleviate these issues as they happen. Aside from those two items, have extra bobby pins, pain relievers, hairspray, makeup, baby wipes and band aids. That way you can be at your best no matter what happens.

Looking for a guide to help organize these extras? Check out our dance competition survival guide! Competitions and recitals have TONS of crossover materials needed, so you can use this guide be sure to have everything covered.

5) Create a Checklist

Thanks to DanceMom.com, who put together a checklist of lots of items you need to pack and things to keep in mind. Run through that list more than once to make sure everything is on there!

After packing, compare the list with your packed dance bag not once, but twice. Attention to the little details can make a big difference on recital day! Once you know everything is packed, you can head into the studio assured and confident instead of worried and concerned that you forgot something.

6) Eat Smart!

If you’re running from performance to performance, you’re bound to get thirsty fast. That’s why it’s so important that you pack plenty of food and water.

Make sure you bring along a resilient, large water bottle that you can refill and keep at the studio. The same goes for food and snacks. You don’t want to be running on empty during your favorite performances, so pack some healthy snacks to help keep you going.

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5 Ways To Perfect Your Dance Makeup On A Budget

dance makeup

Many dancers know that a great performance takes more than just dance skill. It also includes makeup, costume, hairstyle and even facial expressions. If one of these areas is even the slightest bit off, it could hurt your score with the judges. However, many dancers don’t have the time – or the money – to constantly worry about perfecting their hair and dance makeup to a tee. Buying new dance makeup for every performance can cost tons of money. So what is a dancer to do? Consider these five tips on how to perfect your dance makeup on any budget.

1. Start With Show-Stopping Eyes

One look to the judges can really wow them, right? Right. That’s why it’s important to find a couple of affordable pieces of quality dance makeup for your eyes.

Let’s start with the mascara. On stage, most dancers want their eyelashes to look full and dramatic, no matter what type of dance they are doing. However, it’s also wise to get a product that doesn’t clump your lashes together or make them look overdone. Consider getting Maybelline New York Full N’ Soft mascara, priced at an affordable $8 at most drugstores. According to Real Simple, this mascara is tried-and-true – it really gives eyelashes fullness without causing them to be weighed down or clumpy.

Most dancers also prefer a little eye shadow to help boost the effects. Try L’Oreal Paris High Intensity Pigments Concentrated Shadow, which costs $8, to help give your eyes an extra pop with a collection of colors to choose from. Finish the look with Wet n’ Wild eyeliner for $1.50, which comes in 12 different colors so you can change when you want to.

2. Follow With Stand-Out Lips

Some lipsticks can fade over time, especially after eating or drinking. Dancers don’t always have a minute to reapply between performances. What can dancers do? Try a moisturizing lipstick that holds longer. Or, if you have a beloved color you can’t go without, add a little Vaseline to your lips to help it stay.

If you’re looking for a cheap yet lasting lipstick to complete your look, try Revlon ColorBurst Lipstick for $9, Elle recommended. This lipstick comes in 20 different colors, so you can match it with any outfit. It also contains almond oil to keep your lips moisturized and your lipstick on without issue.

3. Create A Full, Even Complexion

You want to glow when you’re on stage, so use your concealer and bronzer to help. Begin with L’Oreal True Match concealer for a mere $9, which helps hide any blemishes or dark spots and reduces redness. Try out the L’Oreal Paris True Makeup Foundation, $11 at drugstores, that comes in a variety of shades so you can blend effortlessly.

To add color and shape to your face, try an easy blush, such as Almay Touch-Pad Blush for $10 or Physician’s Formula Multi-Colored Bronzer for $13. Try both or just one depending on what type of look you’re aiming for. To help keep your complexion from smudging, test out Coty Airspun Face Powder, which costs $7 and is light enough to change the color of the foundation, blush or bronzer on your face.

4. Give Yourself Some Color

If you’re worried you might look washed out under the bright lights while on stage, don’t fret and run for a darker pair of tights. Instead, keep your color looking natural with spray tan. Sometimes spray tans can come out streaky or turn a different shade than you expected.

Luckily, that’s not the case with Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs, priced at $10. This spray-on formula goes on easy and smoothly so you don’t have to worry about discolored legs or stripes. It also dries fast so you can apply even if you’re in a hurry. If you’re looking for the most even coverage, ask a friend or fellow dancer to spray you down.

5. Consider the imperfections

While you might try your best, not everything can go perfectly all the time. You might accidentally smudge your lipstick, your mascara may smear or you could forget you’re wearing blush and leave an outfit with makeup marks. That’s when it’s wise to have backup. Always bring along a pack of Q-Tips and even a few makeup remover wipes to help you get rid of those errors as soon as they happen.

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Profitable Recital Costumes Start Now

Profitable Dance Recital Costumes Start Now

No one in our industry would question that producing a recital takes the TOP spot for biggest project of the year. Coming in at a close second, however, is the process of ordering recital costumes. From concept to selection, from measuring to ordering, from try-ons to exchanges and alterations, recital costumes can be almost as time intensive as putting on the show! The costuming process presents an important opportunity for studio owners—it’s a chance to delight dance families with great service, cut down on wasted time and effort, and make a profit for your business.

Here are 5 TIPS to make your recital costume process a positive and profitable one.

#5 – Order EARLY.
You know how we all tell our kids not to lose points at competition on the obvious (e.g. not pointing toes)? Well, ordering early is the “pointing toes” of costumes. It’s plain silly to know you can earn an early order discount with most companies and not do it. Spend some time over Thanksgiving break to get your ducks in a row for an early December order. If the early order discount doesn’t excite you, then get excited over the idea of a timely delivery!

#4 – Measure and order ACCURATELY.
When I started my studio 17 years ago, all of the teachers would measure the kids in their own classes. I did it that way out of necessity—I didn’t feel I had any extra resources to pay someone to take that on. Well, my system may have been “free,” but it wasn’t without cost. With 15 different teachers measuring 15 slightly different ways, our costs on exchanges went through the roof. In addition, there were missed orders for kids who registered late and got missed by teachers altogether. I changed my process about ten years and now we have one person in charge of all costume measuring and ordering. Accuracy is up and exchanges/missed orders are down. Getting one person to champion this project saves me way more than I spend for her time.

The next 3 tips will supercharge your savings!

  1. Break up with your phone.

Have you ever closed your laptop and said, “That’s enough for tonight” only to crawl into your bed and scroll Facebook for another 40 minutes?  I’ve been there and it’s a BAD idea for a number of reasons.  Science tells us that the blue light coming off of our devices destroys the melatonin we need for a good night’s sleep. And, if you DO get to sleep, you might be woken by email alerts from a parent who forgot their child’s shoes, but is just remembering to write you about it 2 a.m.

Now let’s talk about mornings. Do you roll over after your alarm goes off and start thumbing at the screen lock for a peek at the activity that you may have missed while sleeping?  I know all you want to do is take a quick peek around your email, texts and social to make sure everything is okay before getting out of bed.  I get it.  The problem is that in doing so, you effectively hand over the steering wheel of your day to someone else’s agenda.  You are now in reactive and not proactive mode, which is a close second to starting-the-day-without-coffee on the list of bad ideas for entrepreneurs.

  1. Start owning your calendar. 

Recently I blocked the following into my Google calendar:  Morning Reading and Devotional Time, Exercise, Writing, Business Development, Lunch with Husband, Time with Kids, Email and Phone Calls.  Yes, I write them with capital letters because to me they are proper nouns—as in if I don’t treat my time properly no one else will.  Now when somebody wants to do a call, go to lunch or meet at the office I literally have take something of real value to me OFF the calendar to make room for the new activity.  If I look at my calendar and have to choose between another evening meeting at the studio or Time with Kids, my kids win almost every time.  But, if my calendar is empty, I’ll just fill with things that take me away from the kids.  The truth of the matter is that I can always attend another meeting, but I’ll never get a second chance to raise my kids.

  1. Eat the bullfrog first. 

Here’s a math problem for you:

You have a list of ten things to do.
Seven are easy and three are hard.
What do you do?  

The seven easy things, of course, because we love to feel accomplished and crossing things off of our list helps us to feel like we are really getting things done.  But are we?  What about the three meaningful, but hard things, get transferred from list to list until you’ve spent more time rewriting the difficult tasks than it would’ve taken to just do them.

The reality is that for as many hats as you wear at the studio, there are only a few functions that really move the business forward.  To that end, may I suggest re-organizing your to-do to begin the day with the hardest/most meaningful task.  That’s “eating the bullfrog first” is all about—tackling the ugliest, yuckiest project on your list and getting on with more pleasant things after that.  If you can eat the bullfrog first, everything else after that is easy.

Are you ready to get back on your A+ game?  Then turn off your phone, fill up your calendar with your own proper nouns and eat the biggest bullfrog in your day before noon☺

Looking for more great expert advice before your spring recital? Check out:

The “Expert Advice from Misty Lown” series is brought to you by More Than Just Great Dancing™ and TutuTix.

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What’s Trendy for Dance Costumes 2016

dance costumes 2016

As a dance teacher, you constantly want to stay up to date with the latest trends, including performance styles, music, and most importantly, costumes! Costume trends are ever-changing, following inspiration from actual style trends as well as pulling trends from other decades. As a result, it can be hard to keep up. Luckily we’re here to help keep you on top of the latest trends as soon as they come out. Let your dancers shine in these trends for dance costumes 2016.

1. 90’s hip hop

If you’ve got a few hip-hop dancers at your studio, they better get ready for dressing like 90’s  rappers. This year’s costumes include lots of harem pants, joggers, jerseys and even camouflage, accessorized with beanies and flannel shirts, according to Weissman costumes. Many of the colors are inspired by urban looks, including graffiti designs and geometric neon prints. Pair these costumes with your favorite pair of Converse sneakers or high-tops to complete the look.

2. 80’s style

The 80’s are back again! These costumes channel Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Michael Jackson and all of your other favorite 80’s artists. This season, dress your dancers in hologram metallics, mesh, leather and neon-colored geometric and animal prints. According to A Wish Come True costumes, hot colors include bright pinks, blues, yellows, greens, oranges and of course, black. Accessorize these costumes with leg warmers, studded accessories, denim vests and patent leather combat boots to complete the look. For the final touches, give your dancers colored highlights and blue eye shadow.

3. Havana nights

Many costumes have taken on a Spanish and Cuban influence this year. A lot of the costumes embody a look from flamenco and salsa dancers. The hottest costumes include lots of ruffles, feathers, rose prints and skirts. If you’re looking to channel Cuban influences, dress your dancers in oranges, pinks and yellows with off-the-shoulder tops. If you’re looking for a more authentic Spanish style, aim for red and black and a ruffled skirt. Accessorize with lace pieces, rose hair clips, hoops and heels!

4. 60’s mod styles

The 60’s mod look has stuck around for another year. These costumes include looks from artists like Twiggy and go-go dancers. Dress your dancers in polka dots, halter necks and geometric prints. The hottest colors include pinks, blues and yellows, as well as the standard black and white. Pair these looks with penny loafers, oxfords and flats, and high socks! Complete the look with cute headbands and big eyes.

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5 Festive Holiday Themes for Dance Performances

themes for dance performances

“The Nutcracker” is a holiday staple as much as a gorgeously garlanded tree, prettily wrapped present or warm mug of hot chocolate. Clara, Drosselmeyer and the Sugar Plum Fairy have been part of the holiday season since the ballet was first performed in Russia in 1892. While putting on “The Nutcracker” with your studio is sure to wow, why not try something new this year? These five holiday themes for dance performances are fresh and creative celebrations of the season.

1. A Christmas Carol

You’ve heard the story hundreds of times, but have you ever seen a ballet interpretation of the Dickens’ classic? “A Christmas Carol’s” dramatic scenes, from Fezziwig’s gleeful holiday ball to the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present whisking Scrooge from his bed and flying him across the city, lend themselves well to whimsical choreography. Bustling ensemble scenes set in the lantern-lit streets of Victorian England promise a festive performance that will have audiences experiencing the classic story in a whole new way.

2. The Steadfast Tin Solider

Based on a fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen, “The Steadfast Tin Solider” is a love story that will have children wondering what the toys under their trees are really up to. A tiny tin soldier falls in love for a paper doll ballerina, and they dance and twirl together beneath the sparkling light of a Christmas tree until the solider gives the ballerina his heart. It’s no lightweight tale – the pair meets a heartbreaking end when a cold winter breeze from an open window sweeps the ballerina into the fireplace – but audiences will be enraptured by this sweet tale of tiny love.

3. White Christmas

Celebrate the season with vintage class and flair by performing this Irving Berlin classic. Two entertainers fresh from the army put on a Christmas show at a cozy Vermont inn with two lovely singing-and-dancing sisters. Spectacular sets, colorful costumes and some of America’s favorite Christmas songs will have audiences clapping and singing along during a performance of this holiday favorite from the Fifties.

4. The Hip Hop Nutcracker

Treat audiences to a fresh and energizing spin on a classic. “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” takes Tchaikovsky’s classic score and turns it on its head – literally. Fierce hip hop choreography breathes new life into the tale, injecting it with an energetic dose of modern, urban flair, trading Clara’s grand living room for the city streets. We’re sure you audience haven’t seen anything like it before – and that they’ll be on their feet cheering by the end.

5. A Winter Fairy Tale

Add another performance to your typical seasonal lineup with “A Winter Fairy Tale,” a traditional Russian New Year’s Eve story. The forest animals are having their Wintertime celebration deep in a snowy, enchanted forest when the Bat Queen swoops in and steals away an innocent bunny. The forest animals unite, along with a Magician and stunning Rose Maiden, to rescue the bunny in this delightful winter fable set to music by Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov.

Celebrate the most wonderful time of the year by adding one of these festive and fresh themes for dance performances to your studio’s holiday lineup.

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