May 13, 2015

the best survival guide to a teacher's first dance recital

I'd like to share a post I contributed to Dakiki.com, the up and coming leading website for dance competition and dance studio logs and is a place to connect professional dance profiles for judges, directors, teachers, and choreographers to other dancers to find work etc... I'm very excited to be part of this budding business.
With recital season well underway, I think this is an important survival guide to have. These are all tips I learned from my own first recital as a teacher rather than student. I have applied and plan to apply these tips in all of my recitals to come. Let's take a deep breath and try to keep our heads screwed on straight! View the full article here.
So … You’re about to take part in a recital? Congratulations! You’ve made it through a likely long (and at times frustrating) but rewarding year and all of it has finally come down to this. Your students know their choreography, costumes have been distributed and it’s time to begin the grand process that is a dance recital.
I recently had this same experience and it was truly a blast. I dove in head first with my first year with a grand total of six classes all of various ages and ability levels. Some were large, some were small and every class taught me something new about working at a recital. However, there are certainly some things that I wish people had forewarned me about prior to the first show. Here are ten things to know about being a teacher at a dance recital before walking into that theater.
1. Some students will likely not be on time. I’m telling you, expect some late entries. I was astounded that some parents and students arrived either at show time or just a couple of minutes before curtain call (people, there were a dozen emails stressing that you arrive an hour early! Sheesh!).

2. Have your roster with you at all times. It will likely be your job to do a headcount and line your students up. When you have multiple classes like I did or a particularly large class, it’s really easy for names and numbers to get jumbled in you head. It definitely helps to have your roster handy.
3. Bring extra supplies. This may even be the most important lesson. You WILL at some point need most if not all of the following: bobby pins, safety pins, hairspray, elastics, blush/lipstick/eye-shadow, extra tights, and glue (for costume malfunctions). I would recommend putting it all into a “recital emergency kit.” I will definitely be doing this next time around.
4. Make sure everyone is in the correct dressing room and stays in that area. The last thing you need is to be running around to gather all of your students together before they go on stage. Keeping a calm, well-organized system is the key to recital success.
5. Talk to your students before they go on stage. Sure, you’ve probably performed in dozens of recitals throughout the years, but this is still new to the young ones and it’s important to remember how nerve racking it was our first few times. Tell them how fun it will be, say good luck, and remain calm. Even simply talking will help them relax and will help you avoid the “in the wings and about to go on stage meltdown.”



6. Particularly for your young classes, it helps to have a written lineup of who enters from either side of the stage. Sometimes it takes a moment to remember which side everyone was on in the studio and then reverse it to figure out which side of the stage that is. Personally, I found that it was nice to eliminate the possible confusion and have the lineup with me.
7. When they’re on stage, smile at them from the wings. This one is also somewhat for younger students. I found that if they looked into the wings and saw me smiling, they would too, even if it wasn’t my class.


8. Be patient with parents. They’re stressed out too, especially if it’s their first time. Be available and offer help whenever needed.
9. You can never remind your students enough times to not talk in the wings! I didn’t have too much trouble keeping my students quiet. It’s a grand experience and I hate to shush their little squeals of excitement, but keeping the noise to a minimum is extremely important.
10. Have fun and be proud of yourself. There’s something so rewarding about seeing your students out there demonstrating all you’ve taught them and seeing them have fun doing it. Take a moment to enjoy your job and realize that all your hard work through the fall and winter seasons has paid off.
Follow these rules and you’re sure to leave recital feeling relieved and excited for next year. Break a leg!
Thank you for reading! For questions/comments you can contact me and don't forget to 'like' A Dancer's Days on Facebook and follow the Pinterest Board!

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