Preparing For Your Child’s First Dance Performance


You may have noticed signs going up in your studio, your child singing the same song over and over again, and the countless papers of information stacking up on your desk. Yes, it’s performance time! Now, not only are you responsible for paying tuition, but also for costumes, pictures, videos, and makeup fees to add to the dent in your wallet. Since I’ve always been the dancer or the dance teacher, I decided to ask my mom what advice she had for first time recital parents. Here’s what she had to say:

1. Always ask questions  

A lot of times when your signing up for classes at the beginning of the school year, the receptionists are busy focusing on the start of the new year, so sometimes the recital information is overlooked at this stage. If recital information has not been discussed, ask. Some questions parents should ask are: 

  • When are the performances and stage rehearsals? 
  • Are there any performance fees? 
  • Will I have to purchase a costume or are costumes provided? 
  • Is there a ticket fee, and will I be responsible for buying a certain number of tickets? 
  • Is there limited seating? 
  • Are there any other hidden costs I should know about? 
  • How many performances are there? Are there both winter and spring performances? 
  • Will the parents be expected to help make costumes or props? 
  • Since recitals entail additional costs, can I split up payments throughout the year? 

2. Make room in your schedule 

There are always extra rehearsals before a performance. It’s important to find out when they are in case your child’s absence could affect them being in the piece. I remember one studio where a child wasn’t allowed to take part in the performance because they missed some extra rehearsals.  

3. Check the costume measurements 

Parents must realize that costume measurements must be taken early to allow time for them to be made. Therefore, if your child is going through a growth spurt, you might want to mention it to the teacher so you get a costume that won’t be too small. 

4. Find out about accessories  

Now is a good time to ask about specific tights color, if shoes need to be spray painted, and hairstyle expectations. This way you can find the best price for tights, coordinate shoe dying, and cancel that summer hair appointment until after the recital.

5. Learn about stage makeup policies

Having one person with bright blue eyeshadow might look strange if everyone else is wearing brown. Find out if there is a uniform makeup policy, and if so, get some details about the look. You might ask:

  • Will someone assist with makeup backstage?
  • Is there going to be a class on how to put it one correctly?
  • Will an information sheet be handed out with specific information about makeup?

All and all, I learned from my mom that the more you know, the less stressed you will be. As a teacher, I want my students and parents to understand what’s happening, and I’m sure your child’s dance teachers feel the same way. Please always ask questions; chances are they are more important than you might think.

My first year of ballet

Special thanks to my mom, Pat, for giving great advice!