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Dance Recital 101


Dance recital season is a big time of year for dancers young and old. It is a time to shine and entertain. It is a time to gain confidence and receive appreciation. It is time for smiles and fun. It is a time for butterflies and excitement. One thing we want to do is help you be free of stress and worry, as either a parent or student.

Dance recitals are a time of traditions and expectations that have gone on for ages. The experience is one that keeps going from one generation to the next. For those who never danced, and now their child is ready to take the stage, they may not know what to expect and may have questions. We want every dancer to feel accomplished and proud of their hard work and dedication. Let us help you with a worry-free recital.

  1. Paperwork - No matter which studio you are with, you can expect to receive information and paperwork in the weeks to months before the recital. Be sure to read everything over and mark your calendars. Each studio has similarities while carrying on their own traditions.

2. Ticket Sales - Most studios will sell tickets for their shows. The money from ticket

sales goes to pay the venue and other recital expenses. The experience of a quality

show comes at a cost and this cost is not built into your tuition. Some shows can

sell-out of tickets, therefore you often want to purchase tickets early. Your dancer

likely wants to show off their talent to their family and friends.

3. Special Gifts - It is tradition, that a special gift is purchased for the dancer. This can

be flowers, a teddy bear, balloons or another trinket of appreciation for a job well-

done. Your studio may even sell these items and have them ready for you at the

show, for an easy stress-free experience.

4. Costumes - Once you receive your costume, keep it in a safe place. Do not use an iron

on the costume, as the sensitive fabrics do not always hold up to the heat of an iron.

Instead use as steamer or hang it up in the bathroom during a hot shower. Your

costume may need minor alterations, so be sure to check out your costume early. The

cuteness of costumes sometimes comes at a cost - the cost of comfort. The

glitz and glam can be itchy or simply uncomfortable. For this reason, you may want

nude undergarments. They sell leotards or briefs/bra tops for under costumes. They

should be nude and your local dance store will provide options for this. Never wear

normal undies under costumes because they show through. Wearing undergarments

also provides for coverage when changing costumes quickly backstage in the dressing

rooms. Hang your costumes up and we suggest a garment bag for

safe-keeping. You can put your accessories in a small bag (ziplock or mesh work

great). You will need to remember your shoes & tights, too. It is not a bad idea to

make a little note for each dance that lists the shoes, tights, accessories and hairstyle

on it and keep it with the costume.

5. Hair and Make-up - It is a good idea, no matter how old the dancer, to wear stage

make-up. Hair will often need to be worn in an up-do. Look for information

from your studio on any details.

6. Video Memories - You should expect that you WILL NOT be able to take videos or

flash-photography during a performance. This is common practice. The enjoyment of

those seated around you in the auditorium is important. This can also be blinding

and dangerous to performers on stage. Getting up between routines or standing

in front of people in the audience is distracting. You may run into copyright

infringments as well. Next, in today's society, there is another safety

issue that studios need to consider. It is sad we have to say this, but unfortunately it

can happen. Recitals are open to the public and studios do not want a

stranger taking photos or videos of your child, later to find them out on the internet

without your permission. You never know who is taking that video. It is sad we have

to say this, but unfortunately it is something we have to take precautions against

in today's world of technology. Also, sometimes a

parent does not give the studio permission for their dancer to be photographed or

videotaped, which is a legal issue. The opportunity

to order a professional video of the show or for parents to attend a rehearsal, may be

offered for video opportunities, in a safer format.

7. Show Expectations - Most dance shows last between 1 1/2 to 3 hours. Our shows at

our studio usually run between 2 to 2 1/2 hours. You should plan to stay for EVERY

NUMBER, and cheer loudly for dances. Dancers love applause. You may not be

allowed backstage, once the show has started. This is often done for the dancer's

protection. Again, shows are open to the public and dancers are changing costumes

backstage. Also, the volunteers do not know each parent or family member. It is a

priority to keep your dancers safe and the last thing young performers need is a

stranger backstage, while they are changing, with kids present. From personal

experience, I was involved in a show where the police arrived and escorted a man out

because he was court ordered not to be near a school. Your studio WILL LIKELY take

many precautions to keep the kids and you safe, even if it seems inconvenient at first,

I assure you, it is for safety reasons. Lastly, out of courtesy, it is expected that you

only exit the auditorium between dances.

8. Dancers Backstage - Most studios will look for backstage parent volunteers to help

with classes, changing costumes and organization. At our studio, parents come

backstage with their child's class to watch the performance; however this varies from

studio to studio. We suggest dancers bring a non-messy snack (like crackers or fruit

snacks). We further suggest kids bring a non-messy toy (without a lot of pieces) for

backstage. Some suggestions include a game, a stuffed animal or a coloring book.

We also suggest a cover-up like a zip sweatshirts or bathrobe.


9. Rehearsals - Often rehearsals are closed and parents are not allowed in the

auditorium. You may be asked to wait in a lobby. Sometimes, you are allowed in for

your child's dance to take pictures or video, but this may be for a short time only.

Your studio will send out information on their rehearsals and look to read it over.

10. After the Show - Be sure to pick up any awards and double check that you have all

your child's belongings. Take pictures with friends and family. These are fun and

important memories for you dancer. Most importantly,

praise and applaud your child for their performance and hard-work all season.

You may also want to check to see about summer or fall classes before the recital

comes to an end. Classes can fill quickly and with the hustle and bustle of summer,

you do not want to forget and miss out on your preferred classes for the next


Here is a checklist of suggested supplies for dancers. Many dancers keep a little kit with them at all performances that includes the kind of dancer essentials listed below.

Cover-up (clothing) (a studio jacket works nicely)

Nude Undergarments

Bobby pins

Safety pins


Clear nail polish for holes in tights

Costumes, Shoes and Accessories

Curling Iron - depending on hair style

Hair Ties (the same color as your hair)


Feminine Hygiene items

Band Aids - First Aid Kit

Small Sewing Kit & scissors

Hair Spray and/or Hair Gel

Ibuprofen or tylonol



Eyelashes (if on a competition team)

Lotion & chapstick

Make-up remover


Nail clippers

Nail Polish remover



Body Glue/tape (if your teacher requested it)

Earrings (if your teacher has approved them)

Phone charger or power strip, as needed by student



Kim Mader, Footworks Dance Company Director

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