Stage Anatomy

Apron – The area of the stage that extends past the proscenium

Auditorium – The area in a theater where the audience gathers

Border – The curtain that masks lighting equipment and the upper part of the stage

Center Stage Also know as center – center, the middle of the stage

Legs – Sections of curtains the mask lighting equipment and the backstage area from the audience

Proscenium – The area that frames and separates the audience from the stage

Scrim – The thin light weight material, often white, that hides the back of the theater and is used in stage lighting to create mood

Wings – The area between the legs where performers enter and exit the stage

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!

 

 

How To Prepare Your Child For Their First Performance – Part 1

 

Springtime marks the end of the year for many studios, and to celebrate it’s common to showcase what the students have learned in a performance. To a beginner student, preparing for a first show is a mix of emotions. They are excited to get a costume, be on stage, and dance for all their friends and family. On the other hand, many begin to feel overwhelmed trying to remember the dance, be in the right spot, and smile at the same time. So, how can you help your child from feeling the pressures of their first show? Here’s a list I’ve put together for parents.
1. Get a copy of the music – As soon as your child starts learning the dance get a copy of the music to allow them to start picking up cues and understand the rhythm.
2. Videotape the dance – With many beginners only attending once a week, it can be difficult to remember the choreography. Ask the teacher if you can videotape the dance at the end of class to help them remember what they learned.
3. Don’t let them miss any classes – Missing students make rehearsals hard for everyone, especially the other students. Choreography for group classes tend to rely on the spacing and shapes of the group as a whole. A missing link can cause mass confusion.

4. Arrange a play date with other classmates – Getting the dancers together will inevitably lead to a dance party, which eventually prompts a dance rehearsal. Plus, it’s a fun way to keep everyone motivated.

5. Stay positive – Let your child know you’re excited to see them perform and encourage them through the process. As my mom always said to me, “Go do your best and have fun!”

Me taking class around age 9.