9 Tips for a Successful Dance Recital

Dance recitals are hectic. The whole enterprise is the classic swan act — all graceful glissés on stage, while everyone is dashing to get ready backstage. There are countless moving parts to preparing for a dance recital (wrangling your dancers and their parents to name just one). To help you out, here are our tips on a successful dance recital:

  1. Start by building your project plan. You’ll be able to use this high-level project plan for all your recitals. Make sure you include every aspect that goes into planning a recital, from the logistics to the program to promotions. To give you an idea of the things that can often get overlooked without a formal plan, check out 6 Questions that Will Help You Make Your Recital Amazing.
  2. Help the parents to help you. Make your parents’ recital information packet a useful tool, not just another long document they have to read. Break information up into checklists and include a master calendar with deadline dates highlighted. Make concise “do and don’t” lists, such as how they should care for the costumes. Set out parental responsibilities and what you expect from them. Share information on how they can help their kids stay focused and work through any dance recital jitters.
  3. Do the same for your volunteers. Volunteers should have specific tasks and responsibilities, so nothing falls through the cracks. Have regular check-ins with the volunteer team to get updates and make sure everything is on track. Don’t forget to task at least one volunteer with camera duty at the recital – someone who also understands sound (if doing video), good lighting, and frame composition.
  4. Take advantage of the digital age. Push out recital-related announcements and reminders through your parents’ portal or mobile app. Use a tool such as TutuTix to manage ticketing. Have an online hub for recital information for parents and volunteers that includes a calendar and discussion forum. You could use a private Facebook page set up just for recital management or another family/event project management tool. Make your parent and volunteer information packets available online so people can download a second copy if needed.
  5. Have extras. You can’t have spare, complete costums laying around. That’s not realistic. Yet you can have extra hair and costume accessories — especially those little pieces that tend to go missing at the worst times. If any routines have props, have a few extras of those as well. If you have a repeat offender, you can think about asking the parents to buy extra accessories themselves.
  6. Make sure you have the right kind of snacks backstage that will keep the dancers energized. You don’t want to see anyone fading away. Make sure there’s enough for the hardworking parents and volunteers too.
  7. Plan some stress relief events for everyone in the lead-up to the recital. Bring everyone together for dance recital hairstyle party. Volunteers, parents, and dancers can all practice getting their hairstyles and transitions right. This way, you’re ticking off an essential pre-recital task while having fun. Plan a “thank-you” event just for the volunteers. It may seem odd to take them out before the recital, but it will help keep them excited and motivated. Last, don’t forget to plan your own quiet day, or kick-boxing day – whatever you need to let off some steam before the big push.
  8. Don’t wing your opening and closing speeches. Your students don’t wing their dances. You choreograph it out, and they rehearse. Do the same with your speeches. Write them down. Practice them, so you know exactly how long they are really are. Practice them in front of some trusted people and get their feedback. Don’t stress about them, just treat them as you would a dance you’d perform.
  9. Track all your expenses. It’s not glamorous, true. However, how successful can any dance recital be if you’ve gone way over budget? Not very successful. Stay on top of what you spend.

Planning and preparing for a dance recital is a big undertaking. There will be frustrations along the way. Minimize those frustrations so the ones you do have are forgotten in the aftermath of a fabulous dance recital that everyone brags about to anyone who’ll listen.

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