How to Prepare for a Child's Dance Recital
Preparing your child for this important endeavor involves plenty of preparation for a smooth and successful event. The key is knowing what materials you will need as well as having them organized so you are able to help your daughter and family enjoy the big day.
Things You'll Need:
- Dance costumes in a plastic garment bag
- Dance shoes
- Costume accessories (hair pieces, ribbons, flowers, props, etc.)
- Change of clothes
- Change of shoes
- Hair brush
- Bobby pins
- Safety pins
- Baby wipes
- Stain removing pen
- Needle and thread (for costume rips)
- Healthy snacks (full of protein for energy)
- Band aids (especially for Pointe dancers)
Step 1 Mark your calendar in advance. As soon as your child's dance teacher gives you the recital information, write it down in your appointment book and calendar. Also, create a reminder in your computer set a few days ahead so the date does not creep up on you.
Step 2 Pick up your child's costumes as soon as they come in. Try them on her or him and arrange for any necessary alterations. If an outfit comes with a hair piece such as a feature, be sure to find out from the teacher how it should be worn. Store the costumes in garment bags and do not allow your child to play with them.
Preparations The Week of the Recital
Step 3 Prepare a suitcase with recital essentials. These include makeup, costume accessories, all dance shoes, any props, a cover-up, comfortable clothes and shoes to change into, hair brush, bobby pins, safety pins, baby wipes and a stain removing pen (one safe for colored items). Arrange them neatly and accessibly as you will likely be going into the case multiple times.
Step 4 Plan your route to the venue if it is different from your child's regular venue. Look up the driving directions online and print them out. Make a trial run to ensure you can find it and to view the parking lot layout.
Step 5 Have your child to practice her routines in her costumes a day or so before the recital so she will be used to moving in it. Make any last minute adjustments as needed. (Most dance studios have a dress rehearsal to practice in your costumes and do not allow the dancers to wear the costumes at home. Check with your dance studio first before doing this. If the costume gets ripped or stained, the studio is not responsible and cannot fix or replace the costume, so take VERY good care of it!)
Step 6 Learn the order of the dances your child will perform. With this knowledge you will be able to have the costumes and dance shoes organized. For example, the first dance might require a tutu and ballet slippers while the next may call for a top hat and tails and tap shoes.
Step 7 Arrange for someone to take care of your other children if they are too young--toddler or infant--to enjoy the show. Dance recitals often run long and are a lousy environment for wee ones. You'll be happier and so will they if they can stay home with sitter.
Step 8 Elicit help from family members attending the recital. There is so much going before and during the recital that you are likely to feel overwhelmed if you do not have assistance. Take something off your plate, like asking someone else to be in charge of taking pictures and videotaping. (Videotaping and flash photography are strictly prohibited at most recitals.)
Step 9 Stay relaxed and calm and have a helpful attitude. The atmosphere backstage can be very hectic, but staying calm will help your child stay relaxed and ease stage fright. Leave the stress to those in charge, but help out whenever needed, if you are able to. It may seem like chaos and that the show won't happen, but it always comes together in the end. Remember to have fun and enjoy it!
Step 10 Get to the venue early for the best seats. Latecomers will find themselves regulated to the nosebleed sections and make have to stretch to see other the heads of taller audience members in front of them.
Step 11 Take your child backstage when you arrive at the auditorium and leave her there as soon as she is settled. Make sure you attend to any restroom needs before departing but do not "hang around" unless she is upset and needs you. Most likely, there will be assigned volunteers as well as dance teachers to help with costume changes. Find out beforehand if you will need to return backstage between dances.
Step 12 Cheer for your child and all the dancers. Hearty applause is appreciated by performers. If your child cries on stage or forgets parts of her routines, it is not a disaster. Many children experience stage fright, especially during their first recital. Reassure her that you are still proud of her and encourage her to keep dancing. Remember that this is not a competition and is just a chance for your child to showcase their new skills. The more encouragement the child has, the better!