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6 Dance Recital Tips for Planning a Great Show

Dance Recital Tips: 6 Ideas for Planning a Great Show

It may be January, but May is on my mind. For those of us living in “dance-land,” New Year’s means more than resolutions—it means recital is coming faster than we think! Costumes have been ordered, dates have been set and themes have been announced.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The real recital planning is about to begin and January is the best time to do it.

So come on! Let’s get ahead of the game and plan our best recital yet! There’s no time like the present.

Here are 6 Dance Recital Tips to help you plan a great show.

  1. Make it a date. When I am coaching dance studio owners, I am known for the following phrase, “Plan the work and then work the plan.” The job of putting together a recital may involve hundreds of decisions, but if you sequence the decisions, it will be a lot easier to stay on top of the work. Put deadlines on Google Calendar to hold yourself and your team accountable. For example, at our studio, recital music is due January 1. Parents have until February 1 to submit special requests for recital (school conflicts, etc.). On March 1, rehearsal information and show orders are released. Teachers know that choreography must be complete by April 1 and so on. The beauty of making a calendar is that you can roll most of it over from year to year as well as train your clients to be aware of predictable dates and deadlines.
  2. Practice doesn’t make perfect. Remember the old saying, “Practice makes perfect?” Well, I don’t agree. Practice makes habits (which can be good or bad). Perfect practice makes perfect. If you want to make sure your dancers are actually practicing the right steps, start early by providing access to practice music, notes and/or private YouTube videos. Not every dancer will take advantage of it, but every dancer that does helps makes for a better performance in the end.
  3. Music matters. Spend the time and money necessary to get quality edits of your recital music. If you don’t have the tech skills or software, it’s worth paying to have your music professionally edited and balanced. Even the most well-rehearsed dances will look off to the audience if the music is cut poorly or if the songs are not balanced for highs and lows. Give your students an advantage by cutting your music now so they can practice to the actual cuts of the music from day one.
  4. Service what you sell. Wow your parents by hosting a Costume Construction Day where you make alterations available for no cost to parents. Jazz up the event by inviting your senior dancers to hold a hair and makeup clinic for little ones while they wait for their costumes to be serviced. We have been doing this for over ten years now and it has become one of the most appreciated events of the year for our families.
  5. Step up your production value. Now is the time to identify one specific way you can step up the quality of your production over last year’s show.  Maybe you want to run a smoother rehearsal or feature a new check in/check out system for backstage. Or perhaps you’ve always wanted to do a printed recital program or include business ads in the program book.  Whatever it is, every new recital is a chance to sharpen your production skills. Pick one aspect of your show and make a memorable improvement.
  6. In the spirit of over-communication….say it again. I didn’t fully realize how important it was to remind parents about important dates and events until I became a parent myself. I used to really wonder how some parents could miss obvious dates like recital ticket sales and picture day. But now that I have five kids between the ages of 5-13, I understand that keeping up with notices from school and events is a part-time job. Use all means possible including an e-newsletter, printed handbooks and social media reminders to keep parents abreast of important dates and information. Informed parents are happy parents. ☺

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