Dance Recital — How to Survive

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.  Friedrich Nietzsche


Fabulous dance recital video — not my daughter’s school but I appreciate the beauty of the dance.

Dance recital is upon us and I am neck-deep in blue eye shadow, red lipstick, and hair spray.  Send help if you don’t hear from me in a few weeks.  Not really but I believe a short vacation will be in order after next week.


Green Dancer circa 1880 Edgar Degas

Green Dancer circa 1880
Edgar Degas

We are just finishing up a week of recital photos and finalizing the details for recital Monday and Tuesday. Photo week is always fun for the dancers and parents.  The dancers wear their full costume and makeup.  After looking at the costume in the closet for months, the dancers are excited to finally wear it and practice their dances.

In the spirit of recital week here are some tips for surviving recital.

Kristine Freed Photography

Kristine Freed Photography

Dance Recital Survival Tips — Backstage Volunteers

If you are a backstage volunteer like me, you are doing double duty — supporting your dancer and the entire group for a successful recital

Tip #5:  Hydrate.  Period.

Take a tidy snack too.  Protein bar, granola bar, or nuts are great to tide yourself over.

Tip #4:  Get organized and plan ahead.

A dancer will always arrive for recital without enough bobby pins (or any at all), costume labeled, or untagged accessories.  I plan to take a marker, index cards, clips, extra bobby pins, and large zip top bags.  This year the index cards, clips, and bags will help keep dancer costumes / accessories organized by dancer and dance within the recital.  I am planning to make a schedule for myself too.  This will help with the quick changes.

Tip #3:  Wear comfortable shoes and clothing.

If going on stage (on the stage wings) wear black.  White is not a good idea.

Tip #2:  Bring an activity.

Down time between dances or you are supervising young dancers means you have time on your hands.  Be prepared and bring a quiet activity — books, knitting, suduko, whatever you like to do for long periods of time.

Tip #5:  Have fun!

I love working backstage and my daughter is excited to share her dance experience with me.  It is a lot of work but incredibly satisfying and something I truly look forward to each year.


Keep Calm and Dance

Keep Calm and Dance

Dance Recital Survival Tips — Parents

Tip #5:  Label everything.

Your dancer’s name should be written on tights, accessories, costumes, shoes — everything.  Place all accessories and supplies in a clear bag marked with the dancer’s name.

Tip #4:  Punctuality.

Drop your dancer at the assigned location on time.  This is simple step will help relieve any stress or anxiety the dancer (or yourself) may have.

Tip #3:  Plan Ahead.

Gather everything needed for recital the night before.  Here is a quick list of items to pack:

  • Extra tights
  • Bobby pins and hair pins
  • Hair ties (dancer’s hair color)
  • Dance shoes (tap, ballet, jazz, etc.)
  • Hairspray, comb, brush, makeup, hair nets, etc.
  • Mini first aid kit (especially flesh-colored band-aids)
  • Mini sewing kit with safety pins

Tip #2:  Take photos before recital not during.

Most performances do not allow video or photography.  Take photos before or after but not during the performance.

Tip #1:  timed to be done before leaving for recital.

Most likely your dancer needs to be at the performance center in full costume and makeup.  This means no stopping for dinner on the way.  Most recitals will end late at night so dinner with a tired dancer is not the best plan.  Put dinner in the crock pot and feed everyone before getting ready for recital.  A dancer with a full stomach is a happy dancer.  A happy dancer is a happy parent.

Dance Mom

Dance Mom

Bonus Tip!  Pick up a bouquet of flowers for your dancer.

Traditionally a dancer receives a beautiful bouquet of flowers at the end of the performance.  Your dancer will be thrilled with the gift and reward for his or her hard work.


Dance recitals are tremendous work but fun!  It is a pleasure to watch children from 5 years to adult perform on stage for hundreds of spectators.  For me, it is a privilege to assist the performers and support their hard work.

Now, plan your crock pot dinner, pack the dancer’s survival kit, and buy flowers.  Enjoy your recital!