Whether you’re a teacher, dancer, or parent, recital season is crazy busy! Not only is the studio busy, but recital typically coincides with the end of the school year and thus, CRAZY TOWN TIME. In an effort to stay present, I’m compiling a list of helpful tips to not only get through the season, but to enjoy it!
- Remember every dancer is at a different phase in their “career.” For some, it may be their very first recital, for others, they may be dancing in what feels like a hundred pieces. For some, it is their senior recital and it’s an emotional closing of a chapter. Some may be conquering nerves because it’s their first time dancing on stage in pointe shoes or for some the first time having to manage multiple costume changes. Some may have never been onstage before at all! It is important to remember that with these incredible accomplishments and events, lots of emotions can be swirling around–nerves, anxiety, adrenaline, excitement, doubt, pride. It is important to be aware that everyone around you, including parents (first time having to do a kids’ performance bun, or sit through hours of dances, OR OMG MAKEUP!), are on a journey of their own. Be kind, be aware, be supportive, be empathetic, and encourage yourself and others to be the best version of yourselves (even in the chaos!) you all can be!
- Be prepared. Whether it’s an in-studio run of the show, or after each class three weeks before the show, make a list, of each piece, with what you need. Shoes, hair changes, hairpieces, what kind of tights, costume, skirt, liners, hair pins…. write it ALL down! Leave nothing you think you may need off the list! Then physically check everything! Teachers AND parents don’t love being told the day before that you don’t have something. After all, it is a team effort and parents/grandparents/friends are just as involved in helping you get to the stage! If you need new tights without holes, speak up beforehand! Plus it causes you added stress when you don’t have something and it’s more important that you be in a head space that’s ready to enjoy the process!
- READ EVERYTHING. Often times, studio directors and owners are giving out A LOT of information around recital time to help make sure everyone is prepared and organized and show up everywhere at the right time. Check lobby bulletin boards, social media pages, emails, ANY form of communication as there are a lot of people involved in these productions and we hate it when people feel out of the loop!
- Be nice to your teachers and studio directors! I realize that it’s easy for a dance teacher/director herself to be typing this, but, I see how hard my momirector (that’s mom and director combined) and fellow instructors work, and most people don’t realize or see the hours we put in outside of the studio. At this point in the year especially, our jobs are, but not limited to small business owner, lighting director, sound producer, music editor, marketing director, costumer, choreographer, website developer, social media guru, ticketing specialist, psychologist, instructor, event planner, producer, set designer, lesson planner, volunteer coordinator, and liason for both technical and artistic staffs. Know that even though they are probably running around looking Black Friday shopper crazy, they love you, are excited for you, and can’t wait to see you shine onstage. And parents, they can’t wait for you to see your child step onstage and dance their hearts out! It’s SO special after knowing how much they’ve worked to see them step out and take the stage!
- Treat every rehearsal and performance like it’s your first and your last. This art form is a gift. To move your body and share time both in the studio and onstage with yourself and with a community that loves and supports you is a very special thing. Every time you do a piece, even if it’s the sixth time after your teacher said “this is the last time,” remember, you get to move your body. You get to learn how it works. How it responds and grows from your daily hard work and how it responds to music. How you as a class learned together and have seen each other progress. How as dancers you celebrate each others’ strengths AND weaknesses, because working through your weaknesses is what shows true strength and it’s what makes us better. May you remember where you started each year from and take stock of where you end at, and may you continue to see and believe and know that every year you will only continue to be a better version of yourself. And as a teacher, I speak for myself in saying, thank you for letting us be a part of that, because that that is what humbles us every day.
….So whaddya say? Recital season? You ready for us?!