855-222-2TIX (2849)   |     sales@tututix.com   |   Studio Login   |
Tag: inspiration

Dance Recital Prep: It’s The Final Countdown

Dance Recital Prep: It's the Final Countdown

It’s biggest day of the year for your families. If your students are like mine, they are raring to go! And it’s easy to see why when you consider all of the hard work they have put in over the past year preparing for recitals:

  • 30+ weeks of lessons
  • 2-3 minutes of choreography for each dance
  • Costume measurements, fittings, exchanges and alterations
  • Group photos, recital tickets and t-shirts, flower orders and more!

In fact, for every minute of a dance that appears on stage, an average of 100 HOURS of preparation has already been put in before one sequin ever hits the stage. But before you sign off on your dance recital prep, I want you to put ONE MORE HOUR to make sure your recital day is GREAT.

Keep reading for 8 last-minute dance recital prep tips that will ensure your have the best recital day yet!

Are you looking for some more recital tips and ideas? Check out these other articles and resources from Misty:

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

More Than Just Great Dancing

READ MORE +

Making the Most of Your Studio Dance Recital

Making the Most of Your Studio Dance Recital

Of the many hats studio owners wear, one of the most important ones is that of a marketer for our business. In fact, if you think of all of the ways you have marketed your studio over the past year you will probably be surprised to find out just how much time is spent promoting your studio to the next generation of dancers. When I reflected on my studio’s marketing initiatives over the course of this school year I came up with a long list including: printed brochures, postcards, Facebook ads, free trial classes, free dance days, community performances, camps, workshops, master classes, birthday parties, field trips, print ads in the local parenting magazine and various community partnerships.

But if you are only marketing to the public you are missing one of the most powerful marketing tools of all: re-selling to your existing client. Various studies report that it costs anywhere between five to seven times more to attract a new client than to re-sell an existing client. And there is no greater opportunity to re-sell the value of being a part of your studio to your families than the upcoming annual studio dance recital.

Make the most of your annual studio dance recital by adding these 5 Easy WOWs to make a great day-of experience for both dancers and attendees:

Are you looking for some more recital tips and ideas? Check out these other articles and resources from Misty:

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

More Than Just Great Dancing

READ MORE +

We Are Proud to Welcome The Dance Exec to TutuTix.com!

We Are Proud to Welcome The Dance Exec to TutuTix.com!

TutuTix is pleased to announce the addition of content from The Dance Exec into its content library. For several years, The Dance Exec (www.thedanceexec.com) has been an excellent source of training and knowledge for dance studio owners as they grow their business and strive to provide excellence in dance training. As Chasta Hamilton Calhoun, the founder of The Dance Exec, directs her focus to her thriving dance studios, the incredible studio owner resources that the site has offered through the years will find a new home as part of the TutuTix blog, which covers topics of interest to dance studio owners and teachers in particular, and the dance community in general. From time to time, Chasta will continue to contribute to the blog in her ongoing role as a studio owner (and TutuTix client!). The addition of these incredible resources is just one more way TutuTix can help dance studio owners build a successful business. Check out the first article from The Dance Exec archives today: 101 Marketing Ideas & Strategies for Dance Studios

READ MORE +

Three Ways to Evaluate Your Dance School Enrollment

Three Ways to Evaluate Your Dance School Enrollment

As I travel the country talking to studio owners the question I hear exchanged more often than any other is some version of: “How big is your studio?” I understand the motivation behind the question and have asked it several times myself. I believe the enrollment size questions are motivated by a few things:

  1. We are all just trying to figure out how our studio measures up with the rest of the world.
  2. “Am I big?” “Am I small?” “Am I normal?” We really just want to know that we are doing okay.
  3. We want to find other people like us. It makes sense that I might face the same challenges and benefit from the same solution as a studio of a similar size.

But the number of students you enroll is far from a complete picture of your actually enrollment.

If you are looking for a more complete picture of your enrollment, keep reading for 3 Ways to Measure Your Dance School Enrollment:

 

Looking for more great dance studio enrollment tips? Check out 5 Ways to Get Last Minute Dance Students in the DoorDance Studio Registration Tips—The Final Push and 6 Spring Dance Studio Enrollment Boosters.

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

More Than Just Great Dancing

READ MORE +

How to Make the Most of UDMA

How to make the most of UDMA

Attending the United Dance Merchants Association’s (UDMA) yearly costume shows can be a beneficial and fun experience for any studio dance owner. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about new costume trends and get to see the latest styles in person. You’ll also be able to learn about a number of studio-related products and services that can help make our life easier.

UDMA even offers educational opportunities with renowned dance professionals on a variety of topics. If this is your first time attending a UDMA event, check out the tips below to make your first experience a success!

Come Prepared

When it comes to attending one of the large UDMA shows held each year, it’s important to be prepared. These events allow dance professionals to get insight on upcoming costume trends and do some groundwork for recitals and performances. The shows include information and vendors beyond costumes, too—be prepared so that you are ready to make the most of it!

  • Bring a big bag or, even better, a rolling suitcase. You’ll be happy you have it after receiving lots of catalogs, giveaways from vendors, and samples.
  • It’s important to dress smart. As you run around from vendor to vendor, you won’t have a lot of time to sit and take a break. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes to keep you on your feet. You don’t want to have to end your visit early because your feet are blistered and sore.
  • Bring cash for coffee, snacks and lunches. These events last the whole day, and if you’re enjoying yourself, you don’t want to have to go far to find food and drinks.
  • Print off a sheet of address label stickers with your name, studio name, address, phone and email. If you want to request more information from a company or enter one of the many giveaways offered by vendors you can simplify the entry process by using your stickers on the entry forms.

    UDMA

    From the official UDMA website

Check Out the Seminars

During the four sessions this year, UDMA will be offering seminars on the Saturdays of the show that dance teachers and studio owners can attend. These sessions typically cover a range of topics, and are taught by well-known dance teachers and owners in the industry who have found years of success.

For 2016, the special seminar is called “Teaching Dance for Students with Disabilities.” You’ll receive great insight from industry leaders about good practices and proven strategies for incorporating special needs students into your classes.

Note that the seminars require a separate registration from the vendor/costume show, as well as an additional fee.

Come Visit Us at the TutuTix Booth!

This year, TutuTix will be visiting the various sessions of UDMA to talk costumes, recitals, and more. Look for our booth – it’s hard to miss!

We’ll even be hosting a surprise item giveaway: earlier this year we gave away iRobot Roomba’s to lucky guests! Stop by to pick up some goodies and sign up for our big giveaway.

Talk to People and Have Fun!

Before you get there, visit the UDMA website to find out what vendors will be attending your local event. Make a list of the booths that you’re really dying to see so you know where to go as soon as you arrive.

As you see dancers in the latest costumes, don’t be shy! Approach them and ask them to move around in their attire so you can better understand the look and feel of each costume.

Something to note: photography isn’t allowed at this event. So be sure to bring a notebook to help you jot down what you like to help you prepare for this year’s dance season.

Want to do some exploring? DanceInforma has some cool ideas for how to make the most out of your travel experience while at UDMA.

READ MORE +

Dance Competition Music: 4 Tips on Choosing the Right Songs

dance competition music

With competition season, you’re probably in a whirlwind of costumes, choreography and cosmetics. Hopefully you’ve coordinated all these different aspects of your team’s performances to really impress the judges, but don’t overlook one of the most crucial aspects: the dance competition music.

Sure, you could go with a classic like “All that Jazz” or “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” but you might see some peoples’ eyes glaze over when they’ve already heard it three times that day. There are certainly a number of overused songs that you’ll hear at competitions – here’s a handy list from the Dance Exec – so spruce up your routines this year with unique, infectious music that will have the crowds on their feet.

1. Consider Age Appropriateness

If you’ve been competing for a number of years, you’ve likely seen a great dance team get cringes from the audience because their music crossed a certain line. While “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke is certainly catchy and has a fun beat, the lyrics aren’t something that parents want to see young dancers connecting with.

Always take the age of your performers into account when choosing music for their performances. It’s best to steer clear of songs with overly suggestive or mature themes – there are plenty of clean options to choose from!

2. Stay Away From Top-40 Songs

Your students may be clamoring to perform to “Uptown Funk,” but you can bet that hundreds of other studios have the same idea. Top-40 songs are a go-to for many choreographers, so stand out from the pack by choosing tunes that will make your performances unique.

Whether you choose an “oldie” or a track that hasn’t made it to the radio yet, you’ll be putting your team in position to give a one-of-a-kind performance.

3. Make Sure Everyone Loves It

You may love a certain ’60s rock ballad, but if your dancers aren’t keen on the music, their performance may fall a little flat. Work to find music that both you and your performers enjoy. After all, you’ll probably be hearing it 500 times or so before the competition, so it’s better if everyone likes the tune.

4. Look for Must-Haves

Once you’ve whittled down your choices to a handful of appropriate, under-utilized options, you can rule songs out by looking for certain must-have characteristics. Your song should be easy to cut down to the right length, and it also needs to have a strong beat and proper tempo.

You’ll also want to consider how the music fits into the genre your kids are performing in. When you take these aspects into account, you’ll be able to pick the perfect song!

 

Need some help finding those perfect songs? SO many studio owners and teachers recommend song mixes by Squirrel Trench Audio. Check out their recommendations and see what works for your dancers!

READ MORE +

Dance Studio Teacher Staff Meetings That ROCK

Dance Studio Teacher Staff Meetings that ROCK

The school supply lists are posted at Target, the mailbox is filling up with registration paperwork for my children’s schools and Facebook is blowing up with pictures of kids in backpacks. It’s officially time for back-to-school and that means it’s time to get serious about back-to-dance!

As a studio owner, I’m a big fan of observing what the local schools do and taking my cues from their systems. For example, we do our registration for summer classes when the local school opens theirs. We offer parent teacher conferences just like the schools do and we follow their model for teacher training as well.

Most studio owners consider themselves to be in the business of training students, but the strongest studios I know understand that they are in the business of training teachers as well.

Here are 5 tips to step up your teacher training this year with Dance Studio Teacher Staff Meetings that ROCK:

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

More Than Just Great Dancing

READ MORE +

First Impressions Still Matter

First Impressions Still Matter

In business we call it “first impressions.” Psychologists call it “thin slicing.” Regardless of what you call it, career experts say it takes just three seconds for someone to determine whether they like you and want to do business with you.

According to BusinessInsider.com (2015), you have even less time to make a good first impression. Research from Princeton, Loyola Marymount University and the University of Liverpool demonstrates that judgments people make regarding your trustworthiness, intelligence and competence as a business leader are based on first impressions—sometimes in as little as one-tenth of a second.

One-tenth of a second?

If you don’t think this is true, just measure your own reactions next time you walk into someone else’s business for the first time. If a friend recommends a new restaurant but it has a funny smell when I walk in the door, I immediately begin to question my decision to eat there. Once, when I was driving on vacation I stopped to check availability at a hotel, but walked out before I could get the answer—based on my first impression.

The situation doesn’t have to be extreme to leave a bad impression. Have you ever taken your children to another activity outside of dance and found yourself fighting the urge to jump in and help the coach manage the children? Or have you ever wanted to straighten up someone else’s lobby? That’s why the saying, “First impressions make lasting impressions” is true.

Keep reading to learn what first impressions you may be giving your dance families without even realizing it.


One Small Yes

Check out Misty’s new book, One Small Yes, available on AmazonThis book is a must read for studio owners that are looking for ways to balance the dance of work and life.

“Amazing! One Small Yes is such a great book on finding your calling in life and how to navigate and work through living out the calling. Must have for all entrepreneurs!!” – Kristen, Absolute Dance

“Loved One Small Yes by Misty Lown. Outstanding book for anyone, especially the small business owner or entrepreneur. An inspirational book which helps the reader face challenges and give them the courage to continue to move forward and face what lies ahead. Loved it!” – Melanie, Tonawanda Dance Arts

“Reading Misty’s book was like opening my inbox and finding a personal email written just for me. She took my thoughts and feelings about being a small business owner, put them down on paper, and then step by step carefully explained what was holding me back from achieving more in life. Now I have no excuses to moving closer to my Yes.” – Nancy, Studio B Dance


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

More Than Just Great Dancing

READ MORE +

Summer Dance Camps and More: Filling Hours at Your Studio

Summer Dance Camps and More: Filling Hours at Your Studio

To borrow a made up word by one of my favorite bloggers, Glennon Doyle Melton, Summer is a BRUTIFUL season at the dance studio.

BRUTIFUL? Yes. Beautiful + brutal = brutiful.

Summer at the dance studio is BEAUTIFUL for several reasons:

  1. It’s a break from the marathon of weekly classes.
  2. There is a more relaxed schedule with schools no longer in session.
  3. It’s warm and sunny in Wisconsin for a couple of days; I mean months.

But, summer at the dance studio is BRUTAL for other reasons:

  1. A break from classes means far less income to cover fixed expenses.
  2. It can be hard to balance studio and home now that school’s out.
  3. With only a few days of true summer to enjoy in Wisconsin, the last place I want to be is in the office.

If this sounds familiar to you, keep reading for 4 easy ways to fill your studio with summer dance camps and more and still carve out time for family.

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

Check out more articles on summer dance camps and other summer programming here.

More Than Just Great Dancing

READ MORE +

Dance Teacher Education: Strengthen Your Own Identity as a Dancer

dance teacher education

Teaching dance is a fulfilling career that allows you to share your passion with others. A dance teacher education can be a combination of performance, formal training, and other experiences with dance. After dancing their entire lives, some dancers decide to devote their time to teaching. However, dance teachers lead busy, hectic lives ruled by demanding schedules, and that means that it can be difficult to continue fitting in personal dance practice or finding the time to stay in shape as a dancer.

For some teachers, especially younger ones, this can be a cause of distress. When your life was previously defined by dance – and your identity defined as a dancer – what happens when you no longer have the time to commit to your own dance practice? Or when you realize that your flexibility is not as impressive as it use to be, or that you can’t turn quite as many pirouettes as you could before you started teaching? This change is even more noticeable in the summer months, when teachers typically have more downtime.

This is a natural shift that comes with the territory, but don’t let it get you down. There are still so many ways you can continue being a dancer while you’re also a dance teacher.

Scheduling ‘Self-Classes’

The best teachers are the ones who continue learning and growing through their own dance practice. But this is easier said than done. For example, the last thing you may want to do after a long and grueling class with distracted kids is lace up your shoes and hit the barre. However, taking the time to fit dancing into your life is key to strengthening your identity as a dancer, and not just a teacher.

Block out an hour of time before or after your class to devote to your own practice. You could also schedule time to practice in the studio on days you don’t teach or on the weekend. If you freelance as a dance teacher, ask the studio owner if they would mind if you used a classroom on your own time – most will be fine with this.

Treat this solo time as if it was an actual class you registered for. Stick to the same time each week, and pencil in your personal practice days on your calendar.

Great Teachers Keep Learning

You’ll find that making a conscious effort to continue developing as a dancer also makes you a better teacher – and a more attractive instructor to prospective students and their parents. In an article on The Dancing Grapevine, continual learning and development is one of the top qualities that dancers and parents look for when selecting a new teacher. The article described “green lights” for teachers as including if they “innovate or take on new dance challenges,” cross-train in other dance styles and train with other teachers often.

A large part of being an effective teacher is empathy – and by being a “student” of your own dance practice, you can relate better to your students.

Summer Study

If you find yourself lamenting lost skills during the slower summer months, don’t despair. In addition to scheduling your own practice time at the studio, there are many other ways you can stay in shape as a teacher.

Dance Information recommended taking time to regularly stretch at home, joining open classes in other dance styles or signing up for a summer intensive. Seek out workshops, seminars and conferences on dance in cities near you. You can also volunteer and perform with a local dance studio or company. Another option is cross-training – check out our article here.

READ MORE +

Dance Choreography Ideas: Choreography with a Strong Story

dance choreography ideas

Maybe you need to come up with dance choreography ideas that showcase your students’ newly learned skills, or are a dancer yourself struggling to put together a new composition. You might have the perfect music picked out and have filled the choreography with impressive technical skills, however you just feel that the whole piece needs just a little something more. What you’re probably lacking is a story, emotional and narrative threads weaved throughout the choreography that make the performance complete and connect the audience to the dance.

If you’ve typically been of the camp that puts innovative movement and technical skill ahead of storytelling in ballet choreography, now is the perfect time to flex those narrative muscles. Story ballets have been making a comeback, according to Pointe magazine. Abstract performances that focus solely on movement are making space on the stage for ballets that tell a rich story through dance.

Sometimes, creative inspiration quickly strikes and you know exactly what story you’ll be telling through your choreography. Other times, it’s a little more difficult, and you might feel that that inspiration tap has gone and dried up. However, there are some tips that will help you tell a stronger story in your choreography.

Absorb the Atmosphere

Once you have a piece of music selected for the dance, sit listening to the music in uninterrupted peace – a creative brainstorming session. As you listen to the music, don’t just think about the skills and movements that would perfect fit the highs and lows of the piece, but also think about what kind of atmosphere or ambiance the work creates. What emotions does the music conjure? What kind of environment does the piece transport you to?

Identifying atmosphere is a major part of choreographer Miro Magloire’s process, according to his interview with Backstage. Magloire is the artistic director and founder of New Chamber Ballet in New York, and told the source that his past experiences as a composer caused him to create his choreography primarily from the technical structure of the music.

“But over time I grew more interested in trying to respond to the atmosphere or spirit of the music, the emotion maybe,” he told Backstage. “I’ve seen dances that had no apparent structural relation to the music and yet I felt they completely ‘matched’ the music – and vice versa.”

Shift your focus from the technical elements of the musical piece and instead try to identify its emotional and transformative aspects to create a starting point from which to develop the story of the dance.

Look In Creative Places for Inspiration

Truly great artists – choreographers and otherwise – create great works because they are always open to inspiration, anywhere and anytime. This may be because for works of art that have emotional relevance, that have to be based in true human experiences, and the only way to learn about these experiences is by going out into the world. Watching ballet performances online can help give you ideas, but for fresh inspiration that can help you create dynamic, story-based choreography, it’s helpful to get out there and soak up some inspiration from non-ballet sources.

Choreographer Chloé Arnold of the Syncopated Ladies dance company told Dance magazine that when she feels choreographer’s block, she seeks out experiences where she can see someone else being creative, or can watch someone that inspires her. She said she when to a Beyonce concert and felt creatively rejuvenated, and stayed up all night choreographing.

And if inspiration does strike outside the studio, don’t be afraid to embrace it. Arnold told the magazine of one experience she had while she was stuck working on a performance.

“Inspiration came to me on the plane. I went to the bathroom area and made the movement right there. People thought I was crazy. But it became Syncopated Ladies’ staple dance when we were on “So You Think You Can Dance.”

So, if you’re stuck on story and need some fresh dance choreography ideas, seek out new experiences and don’t be afraid to let the music move you. New perspectives can help jumpstart your creativity so you can put together fresh, dynamic choreography that truly connects with the audience.

READ MORE +

Dance Career Beginnings: The First Steps

dance career

Maybe you’ve just started dance classes or have danced for years and are thinking about your future – whatever the case, you’ve fallen in love with ballet and know there’s no way you’ll spend your life doing anything but dance. While this passion is essential to success, you’ll also need a practical mindset when it comes to crafting a dance career for yourself.

Having a career in dance is something that many people dream about, though it’s entirely possible with hard work, perseverance and some strategic planning. You’ll have to be resourceful, leave your comfort zone and really put yourself out there. But if you can do all that – and more – then you can have a rewarding career doing what you love and sharing it with others.

Read on to learn how you can start a dance career.

Dance Career: Finding Where You Fit

While the first dance career that most people probably think of is that of a professional dancer for a company, there are many different types of dance careers. Whatever your skill level or interests, there’s a profession that can suit you. The variety of careers includes dance teachers, choreographers, studio owners and college- and graduate-level professors of dance courses. The New York Film Academy also adds to this list dance medicine specialists, costume designers, dance photographers and arts administrators for dance companies.

If your heart is set on performing as a professional dancer, then you should consider the different ways that dance can fit into your life. Of course, there are opportunities to dance full-time, whether for a company, theater or opera show or other performing arts group. However, if you’re already set in one career path, you can incorporate dance into your life as a side job and work part-time teaching or performing. Teaching positions aren’t limited to just dance studios, either – you can find opportunities at public and private schools, universities, gyms and community centers.

The lesson to learn from this is that no matter your abilities, desires or schedule, you can find a dance career that works for you. The key to identifying a good match is being realistic about your strengths and skills – dance-related and otherwise – and thinking about how they can best be put to use so that you can thrive personally and professionally. Narrowing down which type of career you’d like to have will guide your journey and keep you on track.

Learn All You Can

To achieve the dance career of your dreams, you’ll need to be proactive. Don’t become complacent in your current classes or job – always be thinking about how you can learn more and make new connections.

Dance Informa magazine advised those aspiring toward a dance career to take initiative and be a leader. Other people are not responsible to getting you where you want to be – only you are! Whether you’re in school, on a summer break or handling a 9-5 job in another field, make sure you keep your skills sharp by enrolling in dance classes and taking fitness classes to stay in shape. Look for workshops and courses in areas and styles that you’re not familiar with to grow your skillset. If you’re interested in teaching as a career, ask around at local studios if they need assistant teachers or interns to help out. Seek out conventions, certification courses and other programs that will give you additional skills, knowledge and teaching or performance experience.

Landing a Contract

If a contract with a dance troupe or company is what you’re after, networking is key. Scouts and agents will frequently attend competitions, conventions and other events looking for new talent, so make sure you give every performance your all.

“I’ll keep my eye on dancers until they graduate high school if I’ve judged them in a competition,” said Steve Chetelat of talent agency Bloc in an interview with Dance Spirit Magazine.

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and reach out to dance professionals, either. Terry Lindholm, co-owner of Go 2 Talent Agency, told the magazine that he recommends dancers thank the choreographer after convention classes and introduce themselves to assistants. Ask them about what they think is the most promising city for dancers to have a career performing or if they have recommendations for any fantastic agencies or programs you should connect with.

Dance programs at colleges and universities also provide valuable experience and connections, so if this is a course you’re considering, spend time researching which program is right for you. Once you’ve selected it, learn how to perfect your college dance audition.

Be Realistic

While a dance career can be a reality, not just a dream, it’s important to have realistic expectations of the demands of this challenging profession. The Portland Ballet’s list of “15 Truths About Being a Professional Dancer” explains the sometimes harsh realities of a life devoted to dance. Remember that there’s always more to learn and that if you want to be successful, you need to prove that you are valuable by showing up early, working hard and knowing your routines inside and out. Don’t be afraid of working for free if you can gain valuable experience and connections. Know that you will make mistakes and fail sometimes, but be strong and pick yourself back up.

And above all, keep that passion for dance close to your heart – this is the one constant in the pursuit of a dance career. This love for dance will pick you up when you’re feeling down and help you bounce back after hard times. With a combination of practical preparation, strategy and passion, you can start a dance career.

READ MORE +

Foot Stretches for Dancers 101

foot stretches for dancers

A dancer relies on her feet, and it takes care and practice through foot stretches for dancers to make sure your feet are at the top of their game. Strong, flexible feet provide the foundation upon which other moves are done – weak feet, and you’re going to have a hard time dancing confidently and fluidly.

Whether you think you have flat feet or arches that need a little more oomph, there are lots of stretches you can do to strengthen your feet and make them more flexible. However, it’s important to be familiar with safe stretching practices and the movements that you should avoid. Stretching too much – or the wrong way – can backfire on you and cause serious damage.

Read on to learn more about stretching your feet.

Popular Foot Stretches for Dancers

There are several different ways that the feet can be stretched. One way is manually – the dancer herself uses her hands to bend her toes and arches to extend their stretch. Resistance bands, such as the Theraband, are also popular. Another way is to have your friend stretch your feet or – as you have probably heard before – to stretch your feet under a piano, door or couch. These last two methods – having a friend stretch you and using an object to stretch – are not recommended, as they can pose serious damage to your feet.

BalletHub explained that these two types of stretches put additional stress on the body. By putting your feet underneath a heavy object, you put extreme pressure on your knee, heel and leg muscles, making more prone to injury. For similar reasons, having a friend stretch out your foot is not recommended, either. Your friend isn’t you, so they don’t know how much pressure is too much – and if they do stretch your foot too far, by the time you notice the damage may already be done.

Stretching your feet yourself, without the use of heavy objects for leverage, and using a band are safer ways of stretching your feet. However, you should still take caution and gently stretch the feet, since it’s very easy to overwork them.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Stretching your feet once or twice a week is not going to get you anywhere. The key to effective foot stretching is consistency and a healthy dose of discipline. The author of the blog Ballet Heart described how she saw great improvement from stretching her feet three times a day, every day for four years. She writes that she can’t imagine how many hours have been spent stretching her feet, and that “It probably adds up to at least a week straight.”

Consistent stretching multiple times a day will garner the most results. Just be sure to gradually increase the intensity of your stretch, avoid stretching until it hurts and be careful not to overwork yourself.

Simple Foot Stretches for Dancers

There are plenty of simple stretches you can do to work your feet. The blog Live On Pointe recommended pointing and flexing your feet using a Theraband for resistance, along with doing relevés on each leg.

BalletHub advised doing the “Wrap n’ Push” to improve the feet. You sit on the floor, bend one leg over the other and stretch your feet through several movements using your hands. See their step-by-step guide to the stretch here.

READ MORE +

Dance Competition Makeup: A Checklist

Competition Makeup

The dressing room before a dance competition is a crazy scene – you and your fellow dancers are abuzz with excitement and your nerves are running high. There’s so much to think about – will you wow the judges and hit every measure of your choreography? With all this excitement going on, the last thing you want is to look in your makeup bag and discover that you left your most important competition makeup at home.

A confident dance performance begins with a confident face, and that starts with the right look. Dance makeup helps the judges and audience tune into the emotional aspects of your performance, whether they’re sitting in the front row or at the back of the theater – and a panicked look because you’re the only one that forgot their lipstick is not the emotion you’re trying to convey.

Instead, prevent cosmetic catastrophes and makeup meltdowns with this handy checklist. The night before your competition, pack all these items in your bag so they’re ready to go the next morning. It doesn’t hurt to run through the competition makeup checklist one last time before running out the door, either.

Dance Competition Makeup Checklist

1. Moisturizer

A smooth, bright complexion starts with hydrated skin, so tote along a hydrating face lotion. Opt for a formula that’s non-greasy and fast-drying, since this means it’ll absorb quickly so you can get onto the next step in your makeup routine.

2. Face Primer

Moisturizer hydrates your face, but primer preps it for foundation, helping your makeup to last through multiple routines and a whole lot of sweat. If you don’t want to feel like your makeup is slowly sliding down your face as you dance, then you definitely need a primer.

3. Eye Primer

You don’t only need primer to help your foundation stay on – it also works wonders on your eyelids to help shadows and liners stay put. Choose a formula specially made for eyes, since the area is extra sensitive.

3. Foundation

Foundation smooths any blemishes, dark marks or shadows on your skin and brightens your complexion so you can put your best face forward. As the Energetiks Blog noted, foundation creates an even and clear base under harsh stage lights. When packing foundation in your bag, double-check the bottle to make sure you have enough left for your competition – bring extra if you think you’ll run out!

4. Concealer

Foundation creates a great base, but concealer is necessary to cover up any particularly pushy blemishes and dark circles under eyes. If you have red spots, you can use a green-colored concealer to counteract them.

5. Foam or Sponge Makeup Blenders

You can have the perfect foundation, but you need a way to apply it. The debate is out about whether it’s better to apply foundation with a brush, sponges or foam blenders – according to Daily Makeover, it’s a matter of personal preference and there are pros to each method. So experiment with what works for you! Just make sure you bring enough blenders along.

6. Contouring product

A powder or cream in a shade slightly darker than your skin color can help define your cheekbones, neck and shoulders and add extra dimension to your face. According to Energetiks, contouring is vital because it prevents your face from looking flat under the lights.

7. Blush

After defining your face with contouring powder or cream, you need to top it all off with blush. Choose a pink shade slightly brighter than what you would normally rock in your day to day life. Cream or powder blushes are both good picks.

8. Eyeshadows

To define your eyes, you’ll need several eyeshadows in a variety of shades. Rhiannon at A Dancer’s Days applies white eyeshadow to her lids first, since this makes the eye stand out. Then, you can top the white with darker browns, grays or purples in the creases and sweep it out toward the brow bone for definition. Since doing your eye makeup involves multiple shades of shadow, it’s worth it to invest in a large shadow palette.

9. Liquid or Gel Eyeliner in Black and White

Liquid or gel eyeliners last longer than their pencil counterparts. White eyeliner can be applied to the waterline to make eyes look bigger, will black eyeliner pressed into the upper and lower lashlines make your eyes and lashes stand out even more and set off your shadow.

10. False Eyelashes

False eyelashes are a must-have for the stage, making your peepers pop. Buy a pack containing extra lashes so you’re covered.

11. Mascara

If you’re wearing fake lashes, you don’t really need mascara, but it can be useful to pack a tube just in case your fake lashes decide to be fussy and won’t stick.

12. Brow powder/pencil

Strong brows are an essential part of your stage look, since they set off the rest of your makeup and define your expressions to the audience. A powder or pencil product will help you fill in any sparseness in your natural brows.

13. Lipstick

Pack a long-wear lipstick product that will last throughout your competition without drying out your lips.

14. Lip Liner

Lipstick isn’t enough – a lip line in a matching shade will define your lips and act as a barrier that will prevent the lipstick from migrating from your lips – and showing up on your teeth when you smile for after-competition photos!

15. Finishing powder or setting spray

A finishing powder or setting spray is the cherry on top of your look that will help your makeup stay put, no matter how much you break a sweat.

16. Handy Extras

It’s smart to pack some useful extras in your makeup bag, too. Bring Q-tips, makeup remover, cotton pads and extra makeup brushes, so you’re prepared for anything.

READ MORE +

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.

READ MORE +